Columnists, Operations, Sales & Marketing, V8I4

Four Types of Buyers

(Photo courtesy of Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels)

As a salesperson, you are on the front lines taking care of clients every day—answering the phone, responding to chat messages, replying to emails, and talking to prospects who show up at the store. 

Every single person is unique in personality and his or her particular needs, dreams, and budget. You have your own personality and perspective that you bring to each conversation—and, let’s be honest, you also bring the mindset of the moment. (…Mindset? That’s a topic for a later conversation!)

While initially there seems to be an infinite number of different kinds of buyers, they can be categorized into four particular groups or some blend of the four. Here is a quick overview.

The easiest buyer to identify is Decisive Dave, a task-oriented person who values efficiency and clear, concise communication. 

Very likely he is likely making declarative statements as soon as you meet rather than asking detailed analytical questions, and he will frequently lean forward and gesture while speaking.  He appears animated and confident. 

To win Dave, you will need to move this conversation along with clarity, confidence, and competence. Show him how your solution to his problem helps him succeed personally and catapults him to the head of the “neighborhood,” and closing the deal will happen while you are still catching your breath from your last sentence.

Friendly Finley values relationships and building rapport. She will bring social energy to the room; and while initially her approach may appear chaotic, she is attuned to the people in the process. 

She wants to feel connected to you and will also be keenly aware of how everyone else in her life will be impacted by the purchase she is considering. She wants everyone to be happy and is willing to take time—lots of it, if necessary—to be sure everyone has had his input. 

Be sure to listen extremely closely to what she says, how she says it, and who she indicates are the critical players in the buying decision. Help her to win their approval. Becoming her trusted advisor makes it more likely that she will bring any of her people’s objections directly to you.  

Working together, you and Finley can formulate a good response. Friendly Finley, if served well, will become an enthusiastic advocate for you and your products.

One of the most delightful buyers you will encounter is Demonstrative Daisy. She is creative and spontaneous; she lights up a room when she walks in (unless she is extremely unhappy, then she lights it up with “FIRE!”). 

She wants mutual respect and expects loyalty. Try to be “all in” with her. Don’t get sidetracked and give her half an ear. While you may not be interested in a personal relationship, she will feel a personal bond with you if you disclose some details of your life to her. 

As you work on designing a product for her, tell stories of other people you’ve served and how their lives were improved by getting this done well—of course, your expertise is what helped to create the great fit between dreams and reality. Give her case studies that make that point. 

It will be extremely important that you are prompt to your meetings, keep your promises, and don’t make off-handed comments about things on which you fail to follow through. Engage her in a partnership to create a truly mutually designed solution.

Analytical Albert is likely an engineer of some sort. Of all the possible buyers, he is most likely to be better educated on various aspects of your product than you are. Data, spreadsheets, and detailed questions help you identify this fellow. 

He will know your company because he has already read not only your website but also several news articles. 

He will approach this purchase logically, but also very cautiously and analytically. Be sure that you ask him lots of questions, very detailed questions, in order to understand from him in great detail exactly what he hopes to accomplish. You don’t want to miss anything. 

The worst crime you can commit with Albert is to force some sort of rapport when quite honestly there is no natural chemistry between you. Work with his timeline, in his carefully choreographed process; get all the details down, and Analytical Albert will be a happy client. Rush him or ignore the details, and he’s gone forever.

Obviously, no one fits perfectly into any of these categories. However, we all have a preferred buying method. One of these types tends to be our default, with one or two other traits playing a secondary or lesser role. 

Identifying the prospective client’s traits early in your relationship will help you to serve him or her in the way that feels right to them, resulting in a sales process that is satisfactory to both buyer and seller.

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