• Kevin Snow

How to Sell To Everyone. Adapting Your Sales Strategy to Your Prospect's Personality Type


Every prospect your sales team comes in contact with has a distinct personality which drives how they make decisions. How your sales team delivers information and what information they deliver has a huge impact on the end result of your sales process. Do your sales people know how to adjust their process to accommodate these differences?

Your sales team, the collateral they use, sales presentations and proposals must speak to each personality type individually to be the most effective. Should you be results oriented and emphasize your prospects return on investment and what your their life will be like after using your product? Or should you try the new and exciting angle instead? The approach you take depends on the personality of your customer. Basically, your selling personality needs to be aligned with your prospect if you want to convince them to buy.

These personalities can be grouped in to four major types and go by a multitude of names:

  • Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholic, Phlegmatic

  • Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, Conscientiousness (D.I.S.C.)

  • Assertive, Amiable, Expressive, Analytical

  • Competitive, Spontaneous, Humanistic, Methodical

  • Red, Yellow, Green and Blue

Today I am going to use Red, Yellow, Green and Blue. You may not be familiar with the colors. The colors were developed by a company called Influencers. Their assessment focuses solely on how people make decisions and how businesses can help them make a decision. And to be honest, I have a bit of an infatuation with Influencers right now as their content is directly applicable to sales and marketing.

The Red Buyer

Reds are very goal oriented and competitive. They are direct in their communication, independent and decisive. When it comes to the buying process results are more important to them than personal relationships. They are not the customer that will send you a annual Christmas card, but if you and your product perform as promised you will maintain a positive business relationship.

How to sell to them:

1. Reds don't care about the features unless it helps them get ahead. Focus on how your product helps them save time or money. Or how it helps them increase their bottom line.

2. Don't waste their time. Show up to your meetings prepared and ready to do business. But don't go overboard. Reds don't like being told that they have to do something. Long drawn out stories will quickly lose their interest. Get to the point and don't repeat points or statistics.

3. Bullet points are key in printed material or in written correspondence. When I email a Red, I start my emails with bullet points of what the email includes and hyperlink to that content. Takes a bit longer to write the email but it allows them to read what is most important to them at that moment without having to search for it.

The Yellow Buyer

Yellows are goal and results oriented but they also value their relationships. They relish being surround by a great team and being able to collaborate. They are concerned with how decisions they make will affect their team. They are very social and love interacting with other people and they love to be the center of attention in public. Yellows are creative and are very enthusiastic. Change does not faze them as they tend to be early adopters and love new experiences. Yellows love the excitement they feel when they do something new. To a yellow the world is full of ideas and possibilities, and the possibility to come up with an idea that changes the world is their holy grail.

How to sell to them:

1. Get excited! You need to be immediately compelling or exciting. Is your product new or cutting edge? Do you consistently release upgrade that give them new, useful features? Ideate with them. Don't tell them how to use your product, collaborate and generate great ideas on how they can apply your product.

2. Don’t overwhelm Yellows with facts and figures. Data is important, but a Yellow will ultimately want to know how your product or service will affect their team and clients. Show them how your product helps them interact with their team or clients or how it will help them gain more public recognition.

3. Yellows are less structured than the other personality types and dislike formality, so don't try and make them conform to a structured process. Be flexible. Be prepared to rabbit hole during your meetings. This is how they process info so what you want to talk about may not be what is on the top of their mind at that moment.

The Green Buyer

Greens care deeply about the people around them and continually put their needs ahead of their own. They focus much more on the feelings of others than any of the other colors. Greens are great listeners and tend to as more personal questions in an attempt to get to know you outside of the professional setting. Long term relationships are key to their success and having a new account manager or sales rep does not build trust with a Green.

How to sell to them:

1. Take time to establish a rapport. Greens will need to feel safe in their relationship with you and your company before they’ll be comfortable making a purchasing decision. Roll out your best testimonials, especially those from other Greens.

2. Don't attempt the hard close. Greens don't like feeling rushed or forced to make a decision. The key to closing a Green is helping them visualize the outcomes of them working with you and your company.

3. Because relationships are important to Greens, they value input and will often involve others in the decision making process. Be prepared to transition from one on one selling to now having multiple influencers and decision makers involved, and they won't all be other Greens. You will need to be able to adjust your messaging when interacting with the team.

The Blue Buyer

This is my personality type. We crave data. We don’t feel comfortable making a decision until all the facts are available, laid out, and analyzed (and analyzed again). We like structure and processes and deadlines; and we stick to our deadlines. Blues are less expressive when communicating and because we are more concerned with facts rather than feelings we don't spend as much time getting to know you on a personal level. In meetings we are much more serious, direct and formal. Many times this is misconstrued as being aloof or unfriendly when really we are just very focused.

How to sell to them:

1. Assume Blues are well prepared to meet with you. Be prepared to answer a lot of detailed questions about your product and your company. We will have spent time reading EVERYTHING on your website and looking at your business and personal social media feeds. But be careful, just because we have researched you, doesn't mean you can just skip over all the introductory information, just expect to spend time talking about basic features and more time discussing custom, personalized solutions.

2. Avoid making broad generalizations without providing data to back the claim up. Flowery language is a red flag to Blues. Instead of saying "Our product has helped the leaders of your industry increase sales and shorten production cycles", say "Our product has helped 10 other plumbing companies grow their sales by 22% year after year." Don't be afraid of giving us more detail than you think we need. We will absorb all that you can give us and enjoy it.

3. Don't rush a Blue. We are by far the slowest of all the personality types to make a decision. We want to make sure we have been able to review all the relevant information so we can make a good decision. End of the month specials usually won't make us decide any faster. We will take the risk on price before we risk making a bad decision.

Selling to one of these personality types is relatively straight forward. Everyone does have aspects of the other types in their personality but there is normally one type that is dominate. Pay attention to how they interact with you and the questions they ask and you will be able to adapt your strategy to the prospect your are working with.

Are you interested in finding out more about Influencers? Click the link below to connect with Tara Schmakel at Influencers US and Stop Selling and Start Influencing!

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