Bringing a Little Personality to Sales
Selling based on your buyer's personality can help increase your sales volume and improve your velocity.
- By Ken Thoreson
- December 01, 2009
The concept of selling based on your buyer's personality style has been around for a while, but I'm often surprised at how many sales professionals aren't familiar with it. Knowing the four basic personality styles in the model can help you communicate and build a relationship with your prospects, increase your sales volume and improve your velocity.
1. The Director is to the point, and focused on the job. Relationships are not important. When dealing with a director, emphasize short-term benefits and appeal to a need to gain advantage. Briefly cover main benefits and isolate dollar-related topics or verifiable benefits. Recognizing signs of impatience will help. In presentations use brief, bottom-line visuals, ask open-ended questions designed to make the prospect talk and allow the director to lead. To speed up closing, provide alternatives, handle objections by taking issue with the facts and not the person, motivate a director to close by using objectives, results and a sense of urgency. Ask for the order -- be dramatic and brief, then be quiet.
2. A Persuader is outgoing, expressive and wants to be the center of attention. Approach a persuader informally -- go with a first name, listen for personal information and use it as you work to develop a relationship. Avoid formal visuals and PowerPoint -- use handouts with testimonial information that is woven into an unstructured and interesting discussion. Show personal respect by being open and honest, even about weaknesses of your solution. In closing, provide examples of solutions accepted by others the persuader respects. Offer incentives for a willingness to take a risk, avoid too many details, speak to the persuader's dreams and make the person a hero. Create a sense of urgency and help the persuader to buy, but don't make the close too obvious. Focus on next steps and use an assumptive close by providing ideas for implementing action.
3. Analytical personality types are the record keepers, but don't get them confused with only being the CFO or controller. Many executives can be analytical. During your sales process you will need to emphasize research. Know the client's situation thoroughly, state facts and prepare alternative choices. Your discussion must be detailed, logical and low key. Emphasize the tested, proven and well-documented aspects of your implementation process and probe for issues that might be barriers. With this group, your presentations should use visuals, charts and statistics that can be left behind for review. These individuals will be skeptical and especially wary of exaggerated claims. During your closing it's important that you be thorough. If you can't get a commitment, ask for specific next steps. Restate your summary and those newly provided next steps as a trial close before ending a meeting.
4. In working with Supporters it's important that you realize your role in their decision process. As a professional you will need to research a client's growth plans and show how your solution will benefit the client company. During your sales call, ask open-ended questions that reveal future and current plans, then relate how your solution benefits those plans. In conversation, allow some latitude to give the client opportunities to open up. During your presentation, think laterally and invite a supporter's comments on plans and wishes; use the supporter as a sounding board. Be careful not to push or crowd, you must build trust and convey respect by recognizing their achievement and intelligence. These people prefer cooperation and stability, not confrontation. During your closing, provide examples of others that have accepted the solution, use a low-key, assumptive close to assist them with their goals; avoid hard, "ask for order" selling and help them to make a positive decision. Selling trust and confidence is critical.
People are complicated. Everyone has a portion of each of the four personality structures, but people often have a dominant style and a secondary style. The more you know about them and the more you know about how to professionally work with your prospects, the more money you will make.
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About the Author
Ken Thoreson is managing director of the Acumen Management Group Ltd., a North American consulting organization focused on improving sales management functions within growing and transitional organizations. You can reach him at [email protected].