Customer Experience News & Trends

How to sell prospects the way they want to be sold

“Dealing with people is probably the biggest problem you face, especially if you are in business. Yes, and that is also true if you are a housewife, architect or engineer.” Those words are just as relevant for salespeople today as they were when Dale Carnegie wrote them more than 75 years ago.

Prospects are complex. What works well for one may fail with another. Some prospects need to know every option and piece of information, and will describe needs in great detail. Others are only interested in what your product or service will do for them.

It can be frustrating figuring out how to deal with the unique behaviors or personalities you encounter every day. While prospects may be too complex to be pigeon-holed, most of them will fall into one of the following four categories:

1. Achievers

These prospects are high energy, quick, impulsive and always on the move. They can be abrupt, confident, independent, impatient, and are often fast talkers. They can seem dominating in their objective to get things done.

Working style

Achievers may give tight deadlines and short timelines for getting things done. A change in plans isn’t usually too bothersome for Achievers, as they change their priorities often. They are generally open to other ideas, but it may take a while to understand the benefit in doing something a different way. They may talk about results, achievements, getting an answer and asking for the bottom line. They do not prefer to work with details and have been known to skip steps to reach an end result more quickly.

What Achievers want

Achievers find value in salespeople who can help them get things done quickly, preserve their time, produce results and give them the opportunity to be the first to try something new. Though often they tell you what they want from you, they appreciate someone who is strong enough to clarify options or push back to make something even better.

2. Commanders

These prospects are reserved and controlled in their speech and body language. They may be precise, orderly, serious and methodical. They are practical, diligent, persistent, and like to solve problems.

Working style

Commanders are analytical, logical and systematic and their decisions may be data-driven. They are very prompt and become irritated when others are not. Commanders usually don’t appreciate a lot of small talk at meetings, are competitive and like to win with their ideas and actions.

What Commanders want

Commanders look for a salesperson who are accurate and can help them be right. They want substance and an organized approach to the sale, relationship and solution. They want to be involved in all decisions related to the sale, and their ideas and opinions need to be acknowledged. They like options with detailed pros and cons presented to them for analysis.

3. Reflectors

These folks are cooperative, friendly, patient, agreeable, good listeners and people-focused. They may stand on the fringe in group situations to observe the dynamics, situation and people before contributing. When you ask Reflectors questions, they may think the answer through before stating it out loud.

Working style

Reflectors are careful in their approach to their work. They may ask a lot of questions before agreeing to or beginning new activities. They are process-focused, and don’t like any steps to be missed or skipped.

What Reflectors want

Reflectors value a logical and consistent approach to situations. They ask for information in advance and want to know all the steps involved. They like salespeople who listen to them, because they are good listeners. They appreciate salespeople who help them through the decision-making process by providing all the information they need, without pressing them.

4. Expressers

These prospects are energetic, social and talkative. They seem to know everyone, and networking is important to them. Their emotions are very visible, and they talk a lot about personal things.

Working style

Expressers are people-focused and prefer a consensus for decisions and work flow. Their decisions may be swayed heavily by the impact the outcome will have on others. They may work outside the established systems or processes to get things done. They appreciate recognition for who they are and their contributions.

What Expressers want

Expressers want to like their seller. They find value in sellers they can connect with and who can help them navigate the decision-making process. They appreciate the opportunity to be first or be able to introduce something new. They are often first adopters of an idea if they like the salespeople involved. They want loyalty and need to know that they are cared for as a person, not just as a customer.

Adapted from: “Conversations That Sell,” by Nancy Bleeke, president of Sales Pro Insider, a training and consulting firm.

Subscribe Today

Get the latest customer experience news and insights delivered to your inbox.