I’ve been in sales for more than two decades now and have seen many things change in the world of print management services. However, even though copiers and printers continue to evolve, the personalities of the people who buy them have stayed the same.
If you’re looking for that “can’t-miss” tool to improve sales of whatever product or service you sell, then I recommend mastering the skill of identifying customer personality types and styles. I’ve invited our sales manager, Chip Reihl, who’s been in sales since 1992, to share what’s he’s learned about customer-focused selling:
Much has been written about customer personalities and personality types in general. Based on my experience, I believe most buyers can be boiled down to these four categories:
- Competent/intellectual, which describes slow-reacting, risk-avoiding customers who focus on details and tasks.
- Dominant/driver, which refers to impatient, action-oriented customers who are interested in quick results and tend to control conversations, resist supervision and question authority.
- Steady/amiable, which covers the loyal, patient and relationship-oriented customers who listen well and reject conflict.
- Influencer/expressive, which encompasses the impressive, articulate and people-oriented customers who like to be entertaining and tend to be impulsive.
What’s interesting about these four customer personality types is that people are usually a combination of two or more. But, under pressure, they will naturally gravitate to their prevailing trait.
Once you’ve identified the customer personality, here are some tips on effective selling that matches a customer’s personality:
- For a competent, streamline information, provide answers and make recommendations. Competents must believe they are making the best choice. Keep in mind that it often takes them a long time to make a decision, especially if they are concerned about missing the newest thing just around the corner.
- For a dominant, you should provide options, so they can pick the one they want. Dominants don’t want to be controlled; they want to make the decision.
- For a steady, provide assurance. People with this personality type don’t like change and need to feel safe with whatever product or service they pick.
- For an influencer, clarify the options and share testimonies about who else is using the product. Influencers often speak of grand plans but have a tough time getting down to details. Plus, they want feel accepted and look for accolades and rewards.
As I’m sure many other top salespeople will agree, understanding and responding appropriately to your customer’s personality may be the difference between closing a sale and losing one. I wish you success with your next sales call.