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Never Lose a Sale Again — What You Must Know!

September 14, 2011

I started my career selling airtime at a television station in Seattle. I learned a lot about sales in this commission only job. Hands-down the very best training I received was learning how to sell to 4 different personality types. In terms of selling and closing a deal, if you’re familiar with the four types of people and their decision-making styles, you can make sure that your sales presentations include elements designed to persuade each type. It’s actually easier than it sounds, and the technique can be used in all your communications, not just sales.

Four Types of People:

A rundown of the 4 behavior types:

1. Analytics are thought-oriented. They are logical people who enjoy problem solving. They focus on accurate details and are more concerned with content than style. Analytics enjoy perfecting processes and working toward tangible results. They live life with consistency according to facts, principles, and logic. Analytics believe it is important to do things right. They control their emotions and tend to be reserved in demeanor. They act methodically and use time in a deliberate and disciplined manner. They focus on the past to give them direction for the future and prefer to work on a predictable schedule.

2. Drivers  are action-oriented. They are decisive, pragmatic and efficient. They know what they want, where they are going and how to get results. They are competitive individuals, motivated by a desire to control and achieve. They want to accomplish things efficiently, so they focus on practical approaches to bottom-line results. They are fast-paced, task-oriented and work quickly. In demeanor they are forceful, decisive and strong; they tend to have direct eye contact. They often speak rapidly. They prefer brief reading material, working alone or directing others.

3. Expressives are socially oriented. They are playful, fun-loving and spontaneous. They are energetic, enthusiastic people who enjoy being the center of attention. They are charming, persuasive and animated. They make decisions quickly, express opinions strongly and dislike routine. Expressives are innovators who generate creative ideas and excel at getting others excited about their vision. In demeanor Expressives have large gestures; they speak quickly, frequently and dynamically.

4. Amiables are relationship-oriented. They are warm, nurturing individuals who place priority on friendships, cooperative behavior and being accepted by others. They like to achieve objectives with people, using understanding and mutual respect. They are empathic and open to seeing things from the other person’s point of view. They are inclusive and ask for others’ ideas. Their demeanor is warm and friendly.

What personality type are you? I’m an Expressive with a hint of Driver in me. It helps to know which personality type you are so that you are aware of how you interact with other types. I have an easier time relating to Expressives, Drivers and Amiables than I do Analytics.

The Four Elements:

Now the trick is to use this  behavioral information to create presentations that leave no objection unanswered and no worry unmitigated, regardless of who is sitting across the table from you.

Here are the four elements designed to address the decision-making styles of each of the four behavioral types. Chances are you’re probably using most of these already.

1. Data. Analytics use data, systematic approaches and reflection to arrive at decisions. In your presentations; therefore, be sure to provide quantifiable evidence. “We can save you 14 percent by…” or “We can complete the job in six weeks, and here’s our time line to do so…” Analytics also reflect on the future, so include quantifiable information about the service you will provide once the deal is signed.

2. Options. Drivers base their decisions on faces but they are risk takers by nature. They are looking for options laid out for them so they can make the final decision and lead the project. “We can go three routes, and here are the pros and cons of each…’ or “Let’s say we go with Option A…”

3. Testimonials. Expressives rely on opinions of others whom they consider important or successful for decision-making. Therefore provide testimonials from previous clients and other experts or analysts in the client’s industry. “Joe at Company X said sales jumped 22 percent thanks to the television ad campaign we created” or “I was speaking with your colleague Stacy who told me that…”.

4. Guarantees. Amiables tend to use personal opinions in arriving at decisions and want guarantees of minimal risk, especially in persona relationships. “Here’s my cell phone number, if you encounter any problems, you can call me directly and I’ll handle it.”

Data, options, testimonials, guarantees: These are the four cornerstones of all succesful sales presentations. If it sounds obvious, it is, but it’s amazing how many professionals leave one or more of these elements out when making a presentation.

True to Type:

If you know a client well enough and can nail his or her behavioral type, you can skew your presentations with the appropriate communication method. And if you must close a deal with a committee, hit upon all four elements and you’ll be relating to everyone at the table. Not a bad thing considering that a single objection from a single person can kill your deal.

Data, options, testimonials, guarantees–the mantra of selling. Get into the habit of crafting all your presentation sand closings with these four in mind. And when you get that job and start working with your new clients, refer to these four elements again and again to improve your communication skills with everyone you encounter.

A few more tips for each personality type:

Influencing the Driver: Present your ideas in ways that boost the persona’s prestige. Genuine praise can work wonders. Use power words such as: best, biggest, unique, powerful, fast, money, first. Go for a decision, quickly and often.

Influencing the Analytical: Like the Drive,r this personality is strongly independent. Don’t rush things–plan to give the person plenty of breathing space and thinking time. If your suggestions stack up, the person will come round to your way of thinking. Putting everything in writing (along with lots of juicy statistics) can be a good idea. Above all, don’t even think about misleading this type of person–it will be spotted instantly!

Power words: proof, evidence, facts and figures, research, logic, tried and tested, safe, reason.

Influencing the Amiable: Amiables often have a long record of poor decisions. They can be suspicious and slow to accept new ideas. Take your time; nurture the relationship and work hard to gain their trust. Be prepared to provide ample proof and guarantees that your ideas will pay off.

Power words: security, safety, guaranteed, reliable, popular, tried and tested, fail-safe, proven.

Influencing the Expressive: Expressive like to be liked and appreciated. They need people around them and are anxious to develop and maintain relationships. Be prepared to steer and control the conversation.

Power words: fun, appreciate, enjoy, convenient, trouble-free and inexpensive.

Summary:

First of all it is important to recognize that, there is no best style. Merrill and Reid found that around 25% of the adult population belong to each Social Style. They also found people from each Social Style at all levels within organizations.

The second dimension and key to using Social Styles is versatility. Statistically around a quarter of the population has a similar Social Style to yours and so you will find that you are naturally comfortable with them. Some people are naturally very versatile and are able to adapt easily to the needs of other people; others are less so. By developing your versatility skills, you will be able to relate effectively with a greater number of people.

-Robin

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