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Understanding People’s ‘Styles’
Style Terminology l Social or behavioral style = how an individual prefers to interact with or behave around other people l Communication style = how an individual prefers to communicate with others
‘Human’ Fundamentals of Selling l l l l No professional career likely involves more human interaction than selling. Successful salespeople are often outstanding psychologists first. A person’s style is often useful in determining that person’s predisposition. No two people are alike, yet there a finite number of style differences. An individual’s style tends to be stable and reveal tendencies. Most productive human relationships involve people whose styles are in ‘sync’. How salespeople communicate is just as important as what they communicate. People buy from people they like. People tend to like people who are like them.
Customer Classifications l l l Social style Size (business volume) Stage in buying process Needs benefits sought Level of influence on others Type of new product adopter
Dimensions of Social Style l Assertiveness (dominance) = degree to which a person: l l Makes their opinions known Tries to control/influence others Speaks out/makes statements Responsiveness (sociability) = degree to which a person: l l Expresses their emotions Enjoys interacting with others
Social Style Types* Responsiveness Hi Amiable Expressive Low Analytical Hi Driver Low Assertiveness
Other Social Style Terms l l Amiable Relater 1 Supportive 2, 3 Analytical Thinker 1 Conscientious 2 Reflective 3 1 People Smarts 2 Disc Profile 3 Manning/Reece l l Expressive Socializer 1 Influencing 2 Emotive 3 Driver Director 1, 3 Dominance 2
Indicators of Assertiveness l Less Assertive ‘Ask’ oriented Go-along attitude Cooperative Supportive Risk avoider Makes decisions slowly Lets others take initiative Leans backward Indirect eye contact Speaks slowly, softly Moves deliberately Makes few statements Expresses moderate opinions Few gestures Weak handshake l More Assertive ‘Tell’ oriented Take-charge attitude Competitive Directive Risk taker Makes decisions quickly Takes initiative Leans forward Direct eye contact Speaks quickly, intensely Moves rapidly Makes many statements Expresses strong opinions Lots of gestures Firm handshake
Indicators of Responsiveness l Less Responsive Controls emotions Cool, aloof Task oriented Uses facts Serious Impersonal, businesslike Moves stiffly Seldom gestures Formal dress Disciplined about time Controlled facial expressions Monotone voice Not very talkative Little eye contact l More Responsive Shows emotions Warm, approachable People oriented Uses opinions Playful Personable, friendly Moves freely Gestures frequently Informal dress Undisciplined about time Animated facial expressions Many vocal inflections Talkative Lots of eye contact
Drivers (Hi A, Lo R) l Characteristics, adjectives: Decisive Serious Opinionated Demanding Loud Assertive Swift Controlling Present focus l Examples: No posters/slogans Competitive Political Do it my way Bold Pushy Determined Task oriented Frank Teddy Roosevelt Lucy (Peanuts) Barbara Walters Dan Rather Intense Seek power Bottom line oriented Make own decisions Technical background Conservative dress Achievement awards Want options/probabilities Jessie Ventura Richard Nixon JR (Dallas) Offensive football players
Expressives (Hi A, Hi R) l Characteristics, adjectives: Talker Outgoing Jokes/humor Energetic Impulsive Restless Informal Posters/slogans l Personal mementos Clutter Casual dress People oriented Story teller Fun loving Extravert Enthusiastic Future oriented Act quickly Big picture focus Cartoons Liberal/social background Open door Group activities Like testimonials Examples: Jesse Jackson Steve Martin Oprah Winfrey David Letterman Madonna Jim Carey Bill Clinton Jay Leno Defensive football players
Amiables (Lo A, Hi R) l Characteristics, adjectives: Easy going Warm Agreeable No big ego Light hearted Risk avoider Quiet Cooperative l Examples: Solitary activities Family person Open door Casual dress Relaxed Friendly Not critical Team player Ronald Reagan Gerald Ford Princess Di Sensitive to others ‘feelings’ Guarantee seeker Soft spoken People oriented Not competitive Family pictures Liberal/social background Dwight Eisenhower Mary Tyler Moore Kevin Costner
Analyticals (Lo A, Lo R) l Characteristics, adjectives: Facts Thinker Orderly Cautious Deliberate Indecisive Slow Disciplined Questioning l Examples: Conservative dress Neat Solitary activities Closed door Want evidence/service Details Perfectionist Neat Better safe than sorry Slow Unemotional Rational/logical Scientific Serious Technical background Closed door Number oriented Monotonic Jimmy Carter LBJ Mr. Spock Albert Einstein Ted Koppel George Bush Sr. Alan Greenspan
Salesperson/Customer Style Observations l l l Self analysis of style important, yet analysis of style by others apt to be more accurate. 16 different possible salesperson-customer social style combinations; only 4 where styles match Styles are different, not better or worse; each style has strengths and weaknesses Successful salespeople are of all types While opposites’ may attract, similar styles are more conducive to lasting relationships.
Style Strengths/Weaknesses Style Expressive Strengths Fun loving Fast paced Visionary Articulate Weaknesses Distracting Impatient, lose temper Impractical Poor listener Driver Independent Results oriented Candid Pragmatic Poor collaborator, controlling Impersonal, impatient Abrasive, autocratic, blunt Short-sighted Amiable Agreeable People oriented Sensitive Analytical Prudent Cautious Disciplined Conflict avoider, not candid Inattentive to details Dependent on approval/ slow to forgive Indecisive Nitpicky Too questioning Withdrawal
Adaptive Selling (Style Flex) l l l Adjusting or modifying your style to match that of another Mirror mood of customer Speak their language “When people of two styles don’t get along, the problem isn’t incompatibility, it’s usually inflexibility. ” (Bolton & Bolton, People Styles at Work) “Opposite” styles require most adapting
Adjusting Social Styles Adjustment Dimension Reduce Increase Assertiveness Ask for customer’s opinion Acknowledge merits of customer’s viewpoint Listen without interruption Be more deliberate; don’t rush Let customer direct flow of conversation Get to the point Don’t be vague or ambiguous Volunteer information Be willing to disagree Take a stand Initiate conversation Responsiveness Become businesslike Talk less Restrain enthusiasm Make decision based on facts Stop and think Verbalize feelings Express enthusiasm Pay personal compliments Spend time on relationships rather than business Socialize; engage in small talk Use nonverbal communication
Analytical buyers expect salespeople to: l l l Adopt a format, task-oriented approach to the sales process. They are comfortable when they can operate with a high degree of objectivity. Be well prepared with a carefully organized presentation pertinent to the task. They like to see the process move along at a deliberate pace with enough time for thoughtful consideration of the key points. Offer quick confirmation of sales expertise. Submit factual, well-documented, detailed information. Usually, this is the only kind of ‘interpersonal’ reassurance they require. “Respect” is their measure of personal value – respect for authentic data as well as self-respect. Support their principles and reasoning. Your presentation should be consistent with how they view the problem. Furnish solid evidence to help them make up their minds. They want you to provide enough relevant, accurate data that they can feel they’re making a completely informed decision. Assurance of follow-up service (preferably in writing) is also important to Analytical buyers.
Driving buyers expect salespeople to: l l l Be task-oriented from the very start. With this style, business comes before relationships. Make the most efficient use of their time. They tend to be busy people with tight agendas. They want the job to be done quickly and done well. Provide them with insightful information early in the processfactual, documented reasons for problems your product or service can solve. They favor a rational over an emotional approach and are mainly interested in benefits. Drivers expect that the information we provide will be germane and accurate. Submit proposals that fit their problems. They have a strong grasp of their needs and expect that your ideas will support their agenda. If your plan differs from what they have in mind, they will consider it if you show it will move them ahead. Offer options in a way that allows them to feel they are making the ultimate decision. When you ask them to take risks, provide them with the odds for success.
Amiable buyers expect salespeople to: l l l Have an open and honest approach to the sales process. They function well in an environment free from hidden agendas, but feel discomfort in the face of a cold, lets-get-down-to-business approach. Spend time to develop a relationship. They perform best when all relationship tension is reduced to a minimum before tackling the task. Like all buyers, they expect good progress but prefer it to happen surely and deliberately. Provide assurance of being congenial and trustworthy. Reputation is important to them. They shy away from being rushed or highpressured. Furnish reassurance. They hope that you will share their interests and problems. Give them personal support in terms of feelings and situation. They look for signs of willingness to build a personal as well as a business relationship. And they want to get the attention they feel they deserve. Provide them with guarantees and assurances during the sales process. They are not assertive risk-takers. They are much more deliberate, and they worry about the correctness of the decisions they make.
Expressive buyers expect salespeople to: l l l Develop the sales relationship in an open, friendly atmosphere. Be tolerant of their casual use of time, except when they are driving toward the goal. Expressives operate on ‘goal time’ rather than clock time. They sometimes seem to deliberately cultivate a casual, laid-back approach without regard to time. However, once they make a decision, they like to see rapid progress and tangible results. Help them know who they’re doing business with. They appreciate dealing with someone of competence and self-confidence and are impressed if you have the expertise to solve their problems. If they sense this is lacking, they begin to feel that their time is being wasted. Be open about sharing sincere thoughts and feelings. They see the salesperson both as the representative of a company integral to reaching their goals and as an individual. Provide them with recognition of (even applause for) their visions and actions. They look to you for this support. As long as you provide it, you are a valued person. They want to like you and are pleased when you show a sincere interest in building a personal relationship. Assure them that they can be confident in the quality of the product or services being rendered.
Concluding ‘Style’ Comments l l l Need to accept others as they are; variety is the spice of life. Avoid assuming all customers of a given style are alike (e. g. like leaves, snowflakes, golf clubs). All customers, regardless of style, want salespeople to treat them with respect l l Fairly Honestly Ethically All customers want a salespeople they can trust.
Trustworthy Salespeople AVOID: l l l l Talking too much, too fast Overuse of prospect’s name Acting too friendly too soon Overuse of agreement questions Asking obvious rhetorical questions Being presumptuous about prospect’s time Sounding memorized Not listening Poor eye contact (too little, too much) Putting down competition Dressing inappropriately Making yourself at home without permission Not being truthful
Social Style Quotes l l l When dealing with people, there are no certainties, only probabilities. (Bolton & Bolton, People Styles at Work) Different strokes for different folks. When people of two styles don’t get along, the problem isn’t incompatibility, it’s usually inflexibility. (Bolton & Bolton, People Styles at Work)
Social Style Quotes l Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits. (Mark Twain) l Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Platinum Rule: Do unto others as they would like to be done unto. (Jim Cathcart, Relationship Selling)
Social Style Quotes l l Anything that sells a customer on you as an individual will eventually sell your products or services, and keep selling them. By making your customer’s problems your problems, you become more than a sales representative. You become a friend. (Sales Upbeat, March 30, 1995) I used to think those personality types you studied in school were ‘goofy’. But now, I see the wisdom in it. In selling you need to know what makes people tick. (Jim Magnuson, Sully Co-op Mgr, 2000)
Social Style Quotes l Do I want to be ‘right’, or do I want to be ‘happy’? l Successful salespeople are psychologists first, salespeople second. They are students of people. . . Alert listeners. . . sensitive to feelings and emotions. . . not at all anxious to rush into their presentation until they find out exactly what kind of people they are dealing with. (Sales Upbeat, December 7, 1995) l People have one thing in common; they’re all different.
Social Style Quotes l l l The first step in selling is to identify the kind of person you’re trying to sell. The approach that appeals to one kind of person won’t necessarily work for another. (Sales Upbeat, May 23, 1996) No sales is ever made without human interaction. Behind every sale is a person. (The One Minute Sales Person)
Social Style Quotes l People buy from people they like. l When a relationship is right, details are negotiable; When tension is high, details become obstacles. l Prospects must buy you before they will buy your product.
Social Style Quotes l All other things NOT being equal, people will STILL do business with people they like (Lee Iacocca, former Chrysler CEO) l When 2 people meet, there are really 6 people present: l l l Each person as seen by themselves Each person as seen by the other Each person in reality. (William James)