Try These Tactics: How To Sell To Different Personality Types

Business.com / Sales / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Success in sales depends on a salesperson’s ability to adapt his or her skills when selling to different types of people.

Wouldn’t it be great if one sales pitch worked for all your prospects every time?

Sadly, human beings (who make up the vast majority of prospects) just aren’t wired that way.

They come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, and respond differently even to the most polished and experienced salesperson.

Success in sales depends on a salesperson’s ability to adapt his or her skills when selling to different types of people.

Here’s a look at the four major personality types you’ll likely encounter, along with advice on refining your tactics with each type.

Related Article: Born to Sell: What Makes A Successful Sales Personality?

1. Assertives

Assertive personalities crave information, relevant information, and they want it presented concisely.

Generally speaking, they operate best on their own and remain keenly focused on achieving project milestones and deadlines.

Assertive men and women will sometimes come across as aggressive and unfriendly, even when they don’t mean to be, and they can’t stand to have their time wasted.

Selling to Assertive Types:

Be prepared for your meeting with an assertive personality. If he or she gets the impression you’re just winging it, the appointment’s over.

Assertive types get the gist of your pitch right away so abstain from repeating yourself or pacing your sales pitch to reach a “climactic moment.” That’s not what they’re looking for.

Assertive types are, not surprisingly, highly competitive. If you demonstrate how your product gives them an edge on their competitors, you’re well on your way to a successful sale.

Words they like to hear:

  • best
  • one of a kind
  • fast
  • powerful
  • competitive advantage

2. Amiables

Amiable types value honesty and trust. They seek and invest in personal relationships.

Their approach to problem-solving is “touchy-feely,” and they’ll take more time than other personality types researching solutions and arriving at a decision.

They don’t thrive on conflict, preferring instead to forget consensus and take everyone’s interests into consideration.

Selling to Amiable Types:

Your foremost goal is establishing rapport with amiable types and positioning yourself as an expert with a powerful vision of how your product or service will benefit their company.

They prefer a step-by-step approach to absorbing information as opposed to an all-encompassing “data dump.”

The same principle applies to choices. Offer too many and they’ll take ages to reach a decision.

Amiable types are influenced by customer testimonials, most notably those reflecting a high degree of happiness and personal satisfaction with your product.

Words they like to hear:

  • popular
  • reliable
  • guaranteed
  • proven
  • safety
  • security

Related Article: The 5 Types of Sales Beasts & How to Spot Them in the Wild

3. Expressives

Like amiables, expressive types care about the people around them. They’re also spontaneous, creative, impulsive and proud of their intuitive capabilities.

They place great stock in positive interactions, so don’t get caught up in playing mind games with these individuals. By nature, these men and women are highly confident, often flamboyant and ready at the blink of an eye to move to the next thing.

Selling to Expressive Types:

Along with their impulsive natures comes a low threshold for boredom. Avoid detailed or data-driven proposals.

Instead, present case studies that demonstrate a track record of success for your product. Expressive types relate to others like them and value the opinions of those they hold in high esteem.

They’re also receptive to the idea of a long-term relationship with you and your company.

Words they like to hear:

  • convenient
  • fun
  • inexpensive
  • problem-free

4. Analytics

Analytics are number crunchers and problem-solvers. Most likely, they’ll know all about your company before you walk in the door, so be ready to answer a flurry of detailed questions.

Analytics live and die by the idea of “due diligence.” Their decision-making process rests heavily on research, vetting and designating options.

Decisions are made based on cold, hard facts and figures. Emotion simply doesn’t enter into the equation. 

Selling to Analytic Types:

Since analytic types do their own research, it’s unnecessary to waste time describing product fundamentals.

Lay out the key benefits in a factual presentation, with lots of statistics, survey results, percentages of growth, etc.

Don’t make claims they can disprove, or you’ll never hear from them again.

With analytic types, there’s no shortcut in the sales process. They’ll reach their purchasing decision when all the pertinent data has been reviewed and digested.

Your patience (as well as your willingness to provide additional information on request) will be greatly appreciated.

Words they like to hear:

  • data
  • percentage
  • research
  • proof
  • results

Related Article: Myers-Briggs & Office Design: How to Satisfy The Needs of Different Personalities

As part of your sales strategy, leverage your knowledge of each type of prospect and customize your sales proposals accordingly.

You’ll spend your time more efficiently and your focused efforts will likely generate a far greater return on investment.

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