If you don’t have any formal sales training, you will discover very quickly that there are some people that are easy to sell to, and others that are just downright hard. The reason is not that you have a terrible product or that the other person is stupid and can’t see the value in it. The reason is that you have one personality, and they have something totally different. By picking up on certain clues, you can quickly learn how to sell to that person’s personality, and close more of your sales.
Knowing the Personalities
Your first step to learning to sell to different people’s personalities is to figure out your own personality. If you take the time to research this you will find all sorts of tests you can do online to narrow it down. But I think that most of us know who we are without needing a test to tell us who we are. The four personalities (or temperaments) are:
Sanguine: Sanguine people are lively. They love to be around others, they always seem to be happy. It is all about the relationships they build. They are talkative, love to travel, make new friends easily. When you talk to someone that is sanguine, be prepared to talk about everything but what you are selling.
Choleric: Take a sanguine person, and remove the bubbly feature. Choleric people tend to be just as extroverted, but in a stronger fashion. They often come across as aggressive and almost angry. Really they are opinionated. They are task oriented and are natural leaders. Planners by nature they know what needs to be done and they get it done. Be firm and to the point with these people.
Melancholic: These are the types that often get labeled as shy or socially awkward. They are thinkers by nature, but they connect with emotions. You may find them hard to engage with at first because they don’t like to talk a lot, but if you can find that topic they are passionate about (often something that has to do with sympathy) you will be in with them. Don’t try to hard sell, they will take it as aggression and back away.
Phlegmatic: Phlegmatic people are similar to melancholic, but without the social awkwardness. They are introspective and thinkers, but they can engage when needed. They have a wealth of knowledge that they can share, but they don’t offer that information (you will need to ask). When selling they want the details, and they want the facts. Emotions are not important; it’s all about what is the bottom line.
Selling to their Personality
As you read through the different personality types, there was likely one that clicked with you. You knew it when you read it, even if it is not exactly who you would want to be. Now keep in mind that these are not cut and dry, there can be phlegmatic sanguinity, or a mixture of any of the two. But there is almost always one trait that stands out above the rest. When you are trying to sell to someone, it doesn’t matter what you are selling, you have to pick up on their signals in order to know what personality type they are.
If you know these people, or if you can get in front of them in a setting where you are not trying to sell to them, 90% of the work is done. Most people will exhibit these traits right off the bat, and once you recognize what type of person they are, then you can adapt your sales pitch to suit them.
Suppose you are trying to sell to the sanguine personality. It doesn’t matter what your personality is, you have to adapt to theirs. By being excited, and talking about things that they love, you can forge that bond. They need to trust you before they will buy what you’re selling. Become a sanguine to sell to a sanguine.
If you are trying to sell to the choleric type, you need to pander to their ego. They want to be the star of the show, and they want to know that they are making the decision. You’re not selling them, they’re buying from you. Your job is to show them the facts, and play up how good it will make them look. Become a choleric to sell to a choleric.
Selling to a melancholic is not as difficult as it may seem. Although they appear shy, it is because they don’t take interest in seeking out others. If you seek them out, you can win points with them instantly. Figure out what they love, and touch on their sympathetic side. Showcase how what you are selling is going to make the world a better place. Become a melancholic to sell to a melancholic.
Phlegmatic people tend to be the hardest sales. It is not because they are skeptical or doubtful, but rather they like to do their own research. Show them the facts, explain how everything works, and then give them time to think about it. Likely if what you are selling will benefit them, then they will make their decision and stick with it. You don’t have to worry about buyer’s remorse with these ones. Become a phlegmatic to sell to a phlegmatic.
Making That Hard Sale
When I was working as a financial advisor, I had no clue how to sell. I still don’t like it, but as I learn more about personalities, sales, and how business works, I am getting better at it. The hardest part is still that initial approach, but if you take a few minutes to pick up on clues, then you can adapt your sales pitch on the spot to sell directly to anyone.
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