It’s often said that consumers are emotional, and plenty of literature exists in the B2C world about the importance of appealing to buyer emotions. However, B2B buyers are typically left out of the conversation.
The thing is, B2B buyers are just as emotion-oriented as consumers. In fact, B2B purchase decisions are more emotional because careers are on the line.
It’s important to understand the buyer’s emotional motivators in order to establish trust in your relationship. One way to achieve this is to take a look at your buyer’s personality, and personalize your approach based on what is likely to resonate with them.
After all, success in sales depends largely on the salesperson’s ability to adapt his or her skills and pitch when selling to different personality types. Each pitch must be tailored to fit the prospect’s personality – but what are those personality types?
We put together a list of the four major personality types of B2B buyers, analyzed each and included some advice on how to sell to them. Here’s our guide to selling to different personality types.
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. The more data you can show them, the more you can build trust with them.
Although they stick to deadlines, analytical types usually have a longer buying process. This is to ensure they have fully vetted and understand all their options and are 99.9% sure of their decision.
How to sell to analytical personalities:
Include plenty of reliable data and don’t make claims they can disprove, or you’ll lose them faster than you found them. Lay out key benefits in a factual manner including statistics, survey results, and percentages.
They want all the details.
Another important thing to remember is not to push them towards a deadline that you have in your head. There is no shortcut in the sales process when dealing with analytical types. Your patience and follow-up will be appreciated.
Finally, avoid making high-level claims. 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 collaborative personality type value personal relationships, trust, and empathy in the sales process. It matters more to them who they are buying from than just what they are buying.
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.
However, they don’t make decisions quickly. Their collaborative nature means they’ll want to involve the group in any decisions.
Collaborative types typically 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.
How to sell to collaborative personalities:
Take time to build rapport. Collaborative personalities value relationships over everything and will not buy from someone they don’t feel connected to or trust. Walk them through the decision-making process acting as a consultant or advisor instead of a salesperson.
Although they’ll be pleasant to work with, you will need to be patient because of the added time getting the group to reach a consensus. To counteract this, try facilitating any group discussions and bringing everyone to the table early on so all questions can be answered.
Pitch a believable vision that they can see working for their organization. This allows them to visualize your product helping to achieve organizational goals. Information overload will not be productive in this situation.
Additionally, it 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.
Assertive buyer types 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.
How to sell to 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 assure 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.
Expressive types, like collaboratives, value personal relationships. Respect and loyalty mean a lot to them, and they thrive on social interaction and engagement.
They care deeply about others. Therefore, expressive personality types 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 also highly confident and able to move on to the next idea or point very quickly.
How to sell to expressive personalities:
Assure 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.
Also, encourage their natural enthusiasm with your own. If you are enthusiastic about what you’re selling, they’ll feed off this and respond in kind.
B2B buyer personalities may vary
It’s important to remember that this is not an exhaustive list of the personality types you’ll encounter throughout your sales career. Depending on your industry, the product or service you’re selling, and plenty of other factors, the personalities may differ.
Much like the various personality tests available, you’ll find differing opinions on what the different buyer personalities look like. Further, most people will be a mix of these personality types and not fit into a single category.
However, you know best who your prospects and customers are and what resonates with them. Making yourself familiar with these core personality types just helps you tailor your pitch to whatever mix of personalities you come across.
This will help you make better use of your time and develop lasting relationships with your prospects.