This Month’s Selling Principle:
Adjusting to the Four Types of Customer Temperaments
Last month we discussed the basic selling skills of pacing and leading. Something else that we can pace is the four types of customer temperaments or behavioral styles. Because we are all creatures of habit, we all tend to do the same things over and over and so do our customers. By first identifying our customer’s temperament/behavioral style, and then by tweaking the transaction to match that behavioral style, we can make the selling process easier to bear and buying decision much easier for our customer to make.
We can identify our customer’s temperament by first identifying their pace and then their priority. Pace is simple; it is either fast or slow. We can notice the pace in which our customers walk, talk, and process information. Priorities are either feelings/relationships/people oriented or things/results/task oriented. We can identify our customer’s priorities by the types of questions they ask us or by what they indicate is most important to them. Once we identify our customer’s pace and then their priority, we can tailor the transaction to match their temperament or behavioral style. Let’s go through the four quadrants and identify the four types of customer temperaments.
The person who is fast paced and task oriented, I call the Demander Commander. They are also referred to by other trainers or authors as Drivers or Controllers and they comprise about 18% of the general population. These folks only want to see results. They want to see us take action, move quickly, and give them the bottom line. They are the ones who act impatient and always seem to have another appointment to get to or very little time. It is important that we talk in the form of headlines with this type of customer. We need to get to the point and avoid giving long drawn-out responses. Also, they like to be in control, so it is a good idea to give them a little. But we can’t just be passive the entire time either. A good strategy is to give them the control they desire at first and, once we’ve established rapport, start to claim some of that control back.
The other side of the quadrant, fast paced, people oriented, I call Impressive Expressives. They are also referred to as Audibles or simply Expressives and they comprise about 28% of the general population. They tend to use lots of body language and they talk, talk, talk, talk. They like to be center stage and generally enjoy being noticed. They may try to impress us with who they know. So, it may also a good idea for us to drop the name of someone influential or famous that we’ve served in the past. They tend to be very animated and enthusiastic, and we need to be the same with them. Also, we have got to present results in the form of benefits to them. We need to use a lot of head nods and lots of verbal attends because, as I’ve mentioned before, they love to talk.
The next quadrant is the slow paced, task oriented person. I call them the Precise Analytical Person. Other trainers or authors will also call them Analytics or Systematics and they comprise about 14% of the general population. I have often heard car people refer to them as tire kickers, slide rulers, propeller-heads, or pipe smokers. I think that might be a little more derogatory than I would choose to use. I call them Precise Analytical People. They love details and facts. We have to be accurate with them, and we need to always be in a serious, business-like mode. Chances are they are going to know more about our product or our service than we do. They have done a lot of research, tons of research. They often will ask us questions they already know the answer to. They do this to test our competency, our integrity, or to simply show off how much they know. They usually talk a little slower, and they take a little longer to get to the point. They absolutely love long drawn-out answers.
The last quadrant, the people who are slow paced and people oriented, I like to call the No Problem Friendly Person. We’ll also hear them referred to as Amiables or Relators and they comprised about 40% of the general population. Fortunately, this is the largest group of our customers. This person needs a lot of our most valuable resource, our time. They often like to chit chat. They rarely complain, and when they do so, they do so almost apologetically. We need to let them know that we appreciate them, and we need to build relationships with these people. The skills of Active Listening, Defining Terms, and Socratic Selling will go along way with helping this behavioral style feel valued and understood.
Okay, let me bring these four temperaments home because basically what I am asking us to do is to be flexible. I am not asking us to be two-faced. I am not suggesting that we change who we are or what our intent is, or who we are as human beings. What I am asking us to do is to clothe ourselves in the temperament that is most comfortable to our customer. I am asking us to be a chameleon. I am asking us to go the extra mile to help our customer feel comfortable about doing business with us rather than the guy down the street.
Let me demonstrate how this can work. Let us use the example of a cashier. Our cashier is in her booth, and she has two customers in front of her. The person directly in front of her is the No Problem Friendly Person, and the person behind them is the Demander Commander. The no problem friendly person is taking their time and telling our cashier about her grandkids, about her last vacation, the weather, and what have you. While behind them, the demander commander is tapping his toe, looking at his watch, shifting his weight from side to side.
Here is one way the cashier can go. She could just say, “Oh, you know, I would really like to talk to you, ma’am, but there are other people in line. You know how that is. Thanks again.” What will happen with this No Problem Friendly Person is that they will leave feeling unappreciated and disappointed. They’ll be left thinking, “What was that?!”
Another way that the cashier could handle this is by smiling warmly and saying, “You know, I really love talking to you. We have other people in line, and I know you know how that is. Would you do me a favor. Would you please wait for me while I help the man behind you? I really would love to discuss this more with you. By the way, my name is Shelly.” As that customer steps aside, the Demander Commander comes up and she needs to change modes. She needs to say, “Thank you for your patience, How may I help you?” A little aside here. It is much better to thank them for being patient than to say, “Sorry for the delay” or to do something apologetically. This way THEY are in control rather than US making them wait. Basically, she wants to change modes. She’d want to put on the face of the demander commander (be a chameleon), immediately stand a little more erect and say, “Thanks for being patient. Now, how may I help you?”
That’s it basically and this should be plenty for us to work on this month. Selling to customer temperaments or behavioral styles won’t double or triple our income but it will allow us to build better rapport with our customers. It will allow us to help our customer feel more comfortable and help the buying decision become much easier for them to make.
So, until next time, be well, and do good work!
Michael D. Hargrove
Follow on Twitter @MDHargrove
“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
Dr. Stephen Covey
Objection of the Month:“I don’t have a lot of time.”
These are just a few of the most common strategies shared at the workshops we’ve conducted all across North America and attended by thousands of the top sales people in our field. Please keep in mind that nothing works all the time, and no one thing will work for everybody. Each of these strategies, of course, need to be tailored to the individual user, to the specific customer, and the particular situation. Also, this is by no means the definitive work on overcoming this particular objection and it’s not intended to be.
a. “Fine, then to make the best use of your time, do you mind if I ask you a few questions?” (Then we go ahead and ask our needs determination questions.)
b. “Okay then, what were you hoping to accomplish today?”
c. “How much time do we have?” (then reply,) “Oh that’s plenty of time to get you all the info you’ll need to make an intelligent decision. Did you want a coupe or sedan?”
d. “Wow, only twenty minutes? That’s not a lot of time. Let me give you as much information as I can, as quickly as I can. How will you be using your new car?…” (Then we just go into our needs determination process. After about twenty minutes goes by, we look at our watch and say,) “Well, looks like it’s gonna take a little more time but you said you were in a hurry. Are we okay or do you have anyone you need to call to be a few minutes late?”
e. “I think you’ll be impressed with how efficient I am with your time.”
f. “You say you only have ten minutes? Then what makes this so critical? (Our customer may not understand the question and we may need to clarify by asking further,) “You have to be somewhere in ten minutes but you stopped here first. So, what’s going on? Did your car break down, or are you at the end of your lease, or did you just get car jacked?! What’s up?”
g. “How much time do we have?” (then reply,) “I’ll tell you what, you tell me when our time is up, fair enough? And to make the best use of your time, let me ask you a few quick questions.” (Then we just go ahead and ask our needs determination questions.)
h. “Two minutes? May I have just two minutes more of your time?” (This will almost always get us five to ten minutes more.)
i.(This one is for situations where our customer tells us they need to get back to work.) “If you don’t mind me asking, how much do you make an hour?” (Wait for their response, then ask,) “What if I could do this, what if I could get my manager to pay you ten times your hourly wage to simply call in and get us an extra hour to put this shopping chore behind you?” (Then all we have to do is show a discount of ten times whatever they told us their hourly wage was.)
Next month’s objection will be: “The price or payment is too high” We need YOUR input! Please forward your ideas on this one, or your suggestions on which objection to cover next, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“People of mediocre ability sometimes achieve outstanding success because they don’t know when to quit. Most men succeed because they are determined to.”
Go for It!
Andi Puntoriero, Source Unknown
While watching the Olympics the other night, I came across an incredible sight. It was not a gold medal, or a world record broken, but a show of sheer determination and guts.
The event was swimming and started with only three men on the blocks. For one reason or another, two of them false started, so they were disqualified. That left only one to compete. That would have been difficult enough, not having anyone to race against, even though the time on the clock is what’s important.
I watched the man dive off the blocks and knew right away that something was wrong. Now I’m not an expert swimmer but I do know a good dive from a poor one, and this was not exactly medal quality. When he resurfaced, it was evident that the man was not out for gold — his arms were flailing in an attempt at freestyle. The crowd started to titter. Clearly this man was not a medal contender.
I listened to the crowd begin to laugh at this poor man that was clearly having a hard time. Finally he made his turn to start back. It was pitiful. He made a few desperate strokes and you could tell he was exhausted.
But in those few awkward strokes, the crowd had changed.
No longer were they laughing, but beginning to cheer. Some even began to stand and yell things like, “Come on, you can do it!” and, “Go for it!” He did.
A clear minute past the average swimmer, this young man finally finished his race. The crowd went wild. You would have thought that he had won the gold, and he should have. Even though he recorded one of the slowest times in Olympic history, this man gave more heart than any of the other competitors.
Just a short year ago, he had never even swam, let alone raced. His country had been asked to Sydney as a courtesy.
In a competition where athletes remove their silver medals feeling they have somehow been cheated out of gold, or when they act so arrogantly in front of their rivals, it is nice to watch an underdog.
A man that gave his all — knowing that he had no chance, but competed because of the spirit of the games.
Life is Like a Cafeteria
by: Brian Cavanaugh, More Sower’s Seeds
A friend’s grandfather came to America from Eastern Europe. After being processed at Ellis Island, he went into a cafeteria in lower Manhattan to get something to eat. He sat down at an empty table and waited for someone to take his order. Of course nobody did. Finally, a woman with a tray full of food sat down opposite him and informed him how a cafeteria worked.
“Start out at that end,” she said. “Just go along the line and pick out what you want. At the other end they’ll tell you how much you have to pay.”
“I soon learned that’s how everything works in America,” the grandfather told a friend. “Life’s a cafeteria here. You can get anything you want as long as you are willing to pay the price. You can even get success, but you’ll never get it if you wait for someone to bring it to you. You have to get up and get it yourself.”
“Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.”
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