Understanding personality types and how to do business with them

People are complex. We all have different personalities and not all of us take to being sold to in the same ways. Some people like to be buttered up while others prefer to cut to the chase. Read someone’s personality style incorrectly and you risk alienating them.

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Understanding a person’s personality style is an important step towards improving your communication with them, your relationship with them, and ultimately your ability to successfully sell to them and make them an engaged customer.

Watch and learn

You can tell a lot about a person from the way that they behave. By watching a person’s behaviour, you rely less on what they disclose to you. William Moulton Marston had a theory that people’s personalities could be categorised into four different styles.

His DISC theory describes four main personality types, namely Dominance (D), Influence (I), Steadiness (S), and Conscientiousness (C).

  •  D types are active, assertive, determined, goal orientated, competitive, logical and decisive.
  •  I types are expressive, enthusiastic, animated, disorganized, outgoing and enjoy the limelight.
  •  C types are analytical, creative, perfectionist, meticulous, loyal, sensitive and reserved.
  • S types are passive, compassionate, conservative, resistant to change and prefer to follow not lead.

Certainly, there can be some overlap of personality traits and not everyone will fit neatly into one of the four categories. However, if you can make yourself familiar with these personality types and tailor your approach to speak to their core, you can keep them engaged.

Selling to personalities

D types

Assertive D types want results and information fast so that they can make a decision. They typically speak a little more loudly than others and have confident body language. They are not going to get too bogged down with getting to know you. They are quite direct when asking for what they want.

Tips for selling to them:

  •  Be prepared and professional.
  •  Cut to the chase and don’t waste their time repeating facts.
  • If you don’t have an answer to a question, tell them you will follow up and revert. Don’t fumble or offer them a half answer.
  •  Appeal to their need to get their business problems solved and tell them how your product or service could achieve that.
  •  Keep it short, concise and to the point. They aren’t great listeners.
  •  Don’t belabor them with testimonials and opinions. Give them the facts.
  •  They are competitive so show them how your product or service could help them “beat” their competition.

I types

I types are expressive and enthusiastic, and personal relationships are important to them. They can have quite strong convictions about things even though they tend to be people pleasers. They want friendship, mutual respect, loyalty, and to feel connected. The well-being of others is important to them.

Tips for selling to them:

  •  Reassure them that you have their best interests at heart.
  •  Show them how your products or services have impacted other peoples’ lives.
  •  They want long term relationships. Make sure they know that you want that too and tell them about your other long term clients and partners.
  •  Show them case studies.
  •  Give them the facts and figures but don’t harp on them too much. They ultimately want to know how your product or service will impact them and their business on a human level.
  •  Don’t pressure them.
  •  Allow for plenty of time for conversation.
  •  Ask questions to keep them engaged.

S types

S types are amiable, good listeners who prioritise personal relationships. They tend to follow rather than lead so you will have to guide them through the purchasing and decision making process. They are conservative and don’t make decisions very quickly. They prefer to build a rapport with the people they do business with rather than just dive in.

Tips for selling to them:

  •  Take the time to build a rapport with them.
  •  Describe examples of similar clients who have successfully used your product.
  •  Guide them through the decision making process by acting as an advisor.
  •  Take a step by step approach rather than giving them everything upfront.
  •  As they are not risk takers, you can reassure them with guarantees that they will be refunded – or the contract will be cancelled – should they not be satisfied.
  •  Always be honest and never beat around the bush.
  • They will not do much research on your business so give it to them!

C types

Your C type analytical personalities are information gatherers. Although they will want facts and figures from you, they will also do their own research. They make decisions on facts so provide the information, answer their questions directly and be prepared to back up all of your claims.

Tips for selling to them:

  • Don’t make high level claims that you cannot back up.
  • Make sure you have all the facts and figures at hand.
  • Do your research on their business.
  • Avoid flowery language but provide detailed information.
  • Analytics are direct and formal. Have the same approach.
  • Don’t play on their emotions because they won’t appreciate it.
  • Be prepared for a long selling process and do not rush them.
  • Let them feel they are right
  • Offer rational, logical reasons doing business with you.

Adapt your style

Your success in sales and in building relationships with your customers will depend on your ability to adapt to their different personality types. Take the time to recognise and understand the personality types of your customers and prospective customers and strive to work with them on their level.

If you do this, you will be better placed to appeal to their core, meet their needs and address their challenges. This will make them more likely to do business with you – and continue to do so!

How we can help

In case you are interested in learning further about achieving success in sales, you can get in touch with us to schedule a complimentary strategy session. At ActionCOACH, we can provide you with information on business coaching and help you enhance the progress of your business.

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Written by ActionCOACH April 17, 2024
ActionCOACH is recognised as the creator and most successful practitioner of business and executive coaching methodology that offers owners and managers a new perspective on their businesses and companies.