Selling to the Four Temperament
By John Boe
Have you ever wondered why you seem to
hit it off right away with some customers, while with others it's
more like oil and water? That's because we respond intuitively to
the natural chemistry, or lack there of, between temperament styles.
Our temperament style not only determines our behavioral traits,
body language patterns and buying style, but it also influences our
compatibility with other people.
Today we have access to innovative tools
such as the Internet, cell phones, faxes and voice mail all designed
to enhance our communications and support us in selling more
effectively. Nevertheless, even with all of these technological
tools at our disposal, the alarming number of failed relationships,
dissatisfied employees and lost sales all reflect the fact that none
of us are as effective at understanding others as we would like to
believe. For example, what about that sale you thought you had made,
but for some unknown reason your prospect changed their mind and
didn't buy... or at least they didn't buy from you. Chances are you
lost that sale because of your inability to recognize and adjust to
your prospect's preferred buying style. This temperament mismatch is
often referred to as a "personality conflict."
Research in the field of psychology
tells us that we are born into one of four primary temperament
styles (Aggressive, Expressive, Passive or Analytical). A person's
temperament style is determined genetically and has nothing to do
with his or her astrology sign, birth order or childhood
experiences. Our temperament style is also unrelated to race or
gender. Each of these four primary behavioral styles requires a
different approach and selling strategy. Ancient Wisdom Hippocrates,
the father of medicine, is credited with originating the basic
theory of the four temperament styles twenty-four hundred years ago.
Since the days of ancient Greece there have been many temperament
theories and a wide variety of evaluation instruments, but
essentially they utilize the four temperament styles that
Hippocrates identified. Hippocrates observed that these four styles
have a direct influence on our physiology, character traits and
outlook on life.
The Aggressive or Worker style
Their major weakness is "anger
management". Under pressure the Worker will work harder and may
become ill-natured or explosive.
The impatient and goal-oriented Worker
prefers a quick, bottom line presentation style. They expect you to
be on time and well prepared. They like it when you avoid small talk
and get right down to business.
Workers are generally quick to make a
decision. They are focused on results and ask "what" questions.
Keywords to use when presenting to a Worker are results, speed and
control. Give them options so you don't threaten their need for
The Expressive or Talker style
Their major weakness is "emotional
management". Under pressure the Talker will talk more, shop or eat,
and may display an emotional outburst.
The playful and friendly Talker prefers
a fast paced and enthusiastic presentation style. Use a short warm
up and allow extra time in your presentation for them to talk.
Talkers can be impulsive shoppers and are generally quick to make a
decision. The key to making a sale to a Talker is to keep them
focused on the presentation and allow time for them to express their
Talkers seek social acceptance and are
concerned about what other people think of them. They ask "who"
questions. Keywords to use when presenting to a Talker are exciting,
fun and enthusiastic. Keep your presentation big picture and avoid
giving them too much detail. Consider using colorful pictures, pie
charts or graphs when presenting to this style.
The Passive or Watcher style is:
Their major weakness is "self-esteem
management." Under pressure the Watcher will avoid conflict by
sleeping in longer.
The peaceful and stoic Watcher prefers a
slow, deliberate presentation style. Watchers, unlike the impatient
Worker, require extra time to warm up before you begin talking about
business. Watchers are very sensitive to conflict or "sales
pressure." They have a need to accommodate others and tend to ask
"how" questions. Keywords to use when presenting to this style are
family, service and harmony. Help the Watcher make a decision by
giving them assurance. They dislike having to make decisions and are
natural born procrastinators who love the status quo.
The Analytical or Thinker style
Their major weakness is "stress
management." Under pressure the Thinker becomes withdrawn, depressed
and worries more (panic attacks). They "stress out" and seek
The cautious Thinker prefers a slow,
detailed presentation style and warms up slowly. They are skeptical
and typically research before they purchase. Thinkers want detailed
information and they tend to ask "why" questions. Keywords to use
are logical, safety and quality. Because they are concerned about
making a wrong decision and appearing incompetent, you can expect
the Thinker to want to take their time. Their frugal nature will
cause them to "shop your numbers" to make certain they are not
paying too much. Because of their desire for research and their need
to avoid making a mistake, Thinkers often get bogged down in
details. They get what is called "paralyzes from analysis." Close
the sale with the Thinker by reducing their fear of making a
mistake. Give them evidence, facts, testimonials and guarantees.
While there are certainly many factors
that influence the selling process, by far the most important factor
is to identify your prospect's preferred buying style. Once you
learn how to quickly and accurately determine your prospect's
temperament style using body language, you will be able to close
more sales in less time!
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