A popular movie was released in 2005 called The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, which told the magical tale of a pair of jeans that fit everyone in a group of four friends, all with different body types. Although this $40 million-grossing movie was massively popular, the idea of “one size fits all” is not always realistic.
The world of sales is not like a pair of magical jeans. Each pitch must be tailored to fit the prospect’s personality. Success in sales depends largely on the salesperson’s ability to adapt his or her skills and pitch when selling to different personality types.
Here’s a deeper dive into the four major personality types you may encounter during your sales career, as well as advice on how to handle each.
Analytic types care deeply about data, facts, and figures. They’ll probably ask detailed questions, but don’t be surprised if they already know the answers. They will have definitely done their research beforehand. This personality type is looking for straight facts, not a fancy pitch.
Although they stick to deadlines, analytical types usually have a longer buying process. This is to ensure they have fully vetted and understood all their options and are 99.9% sure of their decision.
Sales Tips for Analytical Personalities:
- Avoid making high-level claims. Lay out key benefits in a factual manner including statistics, survey results, and percentages. They want all the details.
- Don’t push them towards a deadline that you have in your head. There’s no shortcut in the sales process when dealing with analytical types. Your patience and follow-up will be appreciated.
- Include reliable data and don’t make claims they can disprove, or you’ll lose them faster than you found them. Using too much flowery language can cause them to feel you are being overly flattering and they will lose confidence in your knowledge.
People who lean towards the amiable personality type value personal relationships, trust, and empathy in the sales process. They don’t make decisions quickly. They want to first develop a relationship with the seller, then seek out help and approval from several members of their organization. Expect a great listener that will ask personal questions to try and get to know you, making the sales process more laid-back and informal.
Amiables enjoy the excitement of new ventures. They are happy to look for creative solutions to problems but they probably will not conduct much research before your call. Because of this, you must be sure to walk them through the process step-by-step.
Sales Tips for Amiable Personalities:
- Take time to build rapport. Amiables value relationships over everything and will not buy from someone they don’t feel connected to or trust. Give them personal guarantees to calm their risk-averse fueled anxieties.
- Take the lead as the expert, because you are! Information overload will not be productive in this situation. Walk them through the decision-making process acting as a consultant or advisor instead of a seller.
- Pitch a believable vision that they can see working for their organization. This allows them to visualize your product helping to achieve organizational goals. Additionally, it also helps to bring up similar examples from your other clients to help them feel more comfortable.
Assertive personality types are not afraid to tell you exactly what they are thinking and feeling at any given moment without apology. They will also take the time to listen to the other side. They come to you knowing exactly what they are seeking. They are quite conscious of milestones and deadlines, and most often have quicker sales cycles. The bottom line is most important to them. They are goal-oriented, competitive, and decisive.
Sales Tips for Assertive Personalities:
- Professionalism must be taken to a new extreme with assertive personalities. Be prepared for the meeting and any questions they might ask. If you don’t know an answer, honestly communicate that, and ensure them that you’ll follow up (and make sure to do so!).
- Don’t spend too much time on the introduction or simple facts, get to the heart of your pitch right away. Assertives value efficiency and don’t want their time wasted with repetitive facts.
- Use their highly competitive nature to your advantage by showing them the ways your product could help them win an edge over their competitors.
Expressives, like amiables, value personal relationships. Respect and loyalty mean a lot to them. They care deeply about others. Therefore, they will want to know how their decisions will affect their organization as a whole. Although they often tend to be people pleasers, they have strong personalities and rely on their intuition. They are highly confident and able to move on to the next idea or point very quickly.
Sales Tips for Expressive Personalities:
- Ensure them that the sales cycle will include an ongoing relationship. Give a shout out to your customer service team and explain how you will work to support them after the initial sale. This can also be done by showing case studies that exemplify how your business made an impact on other organizations.
- Don’t spend too much time on facts and figures. Expressives are more interested in how their buying decisions will affect their business on a human level.
- Ensure that you are on the same page as you by summarizing throughout the process. Do this by saying “So, we agree that you can use scorecard to help reps track their progress?”.
It’s important to remember that most people will be a mix of these personality types and not fit into a single category. Making yourself familiar with the core personality categories will help tailor your pitch to whatever mix of personality types you come across. This will help you make better use of your time and develop lasting relationships with your prospects.
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