You know how your mom told you, when you were a kid, that you’re special and just like a snowflake: unique and beautiful? Well, everyone is like a snowflake in that no two people are alike, which can naturally make it difficult to figure out how to get someone to buy a product/service that you’re selling.
Tons of research has been done into people’s personalities, with all sorts of classifications to make it even more exciting. For instance, the Meyer-Briggs Type Indicator ® claims that there are 16 personality types. So, it seems that even though we’re all snowflakes in some way, we still have some common traits, which you’ve probably realized if you’ve worked with people for a decent amount of time.
If you’re new to the sales game, or simply haven’t taken the time to think about it, here are the 13 common customer personality types. As a pure bonus, we tell you how to deal with them!
1. The Negotiator
The negotiator is always on the look-out for a bargain. So, even when they find a really good price, they’ll still try to get an even better deal. Negotiators will haggle based on principle alone – the principle of not paying list price for anything. Ever!
The thing is that they’re often hard to identify because they can seem quiet and unassuming at first, or can be brash and loud. They have no common traits to give them away before they open their mouth and tell you that your price is too high.
Dealing with a negotiator means playing the game smartly. If you have room to haggle, go ahead and do so. Whatever you do, though, don’t get irritated because a negotiator will often push boundaries to try to get as low a price as possible. Stay calm and professional, constantly reminding the purchaser of the benefits and the value of the product/service they’ll be purchasing. And don’t be afraid to refuse while negotiating. In the long run, you might be better off without a client who’ll haggle for every cent. Because hey, if they really want to conduct business with you, they will cave eventually.
2. The Scrooges
Scrooges always want a deal – an excellent deal. They might sound like negotiators, but they aren’t necessarily the same as many won’t bother to negotiate. They’ll just buy from the cheapest source, without bothering to haggle.
The problem is that if you try to sell to them on the idea that you’re the cheapest around, you’ll be building the wrong image.
The key to dealing with scrooges is to point out how much more expensive the competition is when it comes to value for money. Scrooges want to be confident they’re getting the cheapest option, but you can convince them that yours is cheaper simply by pointing out how much more you offer than the competition.
3. The Quality Nut
Quality nuts aren’t interested in price. They’re willing to pay more to get the best possible quality product or service. You’d think that would make them easy to sell too, but the problem is that you have to provide irrefutable proof that your product is the best in the market.
To sell to quality nuts, your primary focus has to be one thing and one thing only: VALUE. They might be less price sensitive, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to get good value for their money. Show them the benefits of your product and how it provides more value than the competition. And also don’t forget to show them the impact on ROI.
4. The Flaunter
Flaunters are those customers who will always buy the most expensive product. If two stores offer the same, identical pair of shoes, for example, but one pair is more expensive than the other, they’ll buy the more expensive pair. They’ll never be caught dead buying anything on sale, nor will they ever set foot in a store that isn’t a well-known luxury brand because they refuse to mix with the rest of us plebs. And they’re not always wealthy. Some just want to portray themselves as wealthy in the public eye, but will live on dried bread for a few months just to buy a $700 pair of Louboutins.
Dealing with flaunters can be difficult because you first have to establish what side they hail from. Are they crazy wealthy and buy expensive stuff because they can or are they just putting on a front?
You’ll find that the truly rich are usually more level-headed and are interested in getting value for money, though they still do like to flaunt their wealth to a certain degree. To them, you will have to prove that your product offers value and will precisely solve their problems, regardless of the price.
Dealing with faux flaunters is a little more difficult. These people want everyone to think they are wealthy when they aren’t. So, you have to convince them that their friends will ooh and aah over your product and that it will set them apart. You’ll have to project an angle that doesn’t necessarily involve the price but still talks about enhancing their public image through your product.
5. The Walking Encyclopedia
Walking encyclopedias tend to be confident, which will be clear from their demeanor. They’ll walk straight with their shoulders back, shake your hand firmly and then proceed to wow you with their knowledge. However, they’re still expecting you to step up to the plate and provide them with relevant and professional advice.
Dealing with a walking encyclopedia isn’t as difficult as some might think. These are people who will research anything and everything before making a decision, which means they’re open to even more information. So, provide them with all the relevant information you can, and maybe you have a deal!
The problem is that they also tend to form an opinion quickly, which could be hard to change. So, no matter what you do, don’t get combative. Instead of lecturing or telling them how wrong they are, show them diplomatically, with logical and evidence-based arguments, as to why they need to pick your brand over other competitors.
6. The Black Cloud
Black clouds go around being annoyed with everything and everyone. They’ll find something wrong with everything, whether it’s the fact that the price is too high, the product doesn’t have the perfect mix of features, or that the salesperson is seemingly unfriendly. They take all these nuances personally, and blow it out of proportions.
Dealing with a black cloud can be difficult because it requires you to reign in your temper – big time. The black cloud has a knack for getting under sales people’s skin and annoying the ever-living daylights out of them, so you have to endure this.
Black clouds tend to respond well when they are treated with respect and extreme courtesy. They’ll also be impressed if you showcase your expertise. Also, you’ve got a good chance of closing the sale if you prove you are listening to their concerns.
7. The Conspiracy Theorist
Conspiracy theorists are suspicious of everything, and will never believe an ad or your marketing hype about how amazing your product is. They’re convinced you’re out to get their money and will have strong opinions.
With a conspiracy theorist, you need to listen to their concerns and take them seriously, or you’ve lost them. The good thing is that they will listen to you, but if you want to make any headway, you need to back up all your statements with proof. Also, spend time with them and figure out what their primary objection is to the product – what’s the thing that is causing all this mistrust – and then refute it with evidence.
8. The Toddler
Toddlers will ask a thousand questions and, after you’ve answered them, will ask a thousand more. They can be pushy and won’t stop until they feel they’ve gotten all the information they need, which can be more than what you expect.
The key with toddlers is to be patient. You’ll have to allocate time to answer their questions, and avoid seeming as if you are annoyed. They won’t always buy right away, but your patience will be appreciated and remembered, resulting in a more long-term arrangement.
9. The Yes-Customer
Yes-customers will agree with anything and everything. They are often shy and will seem uncomfortable and even anxious. For a less than scrupulous salesperson, they’re the perfect mark because they can be browbeaten into buying anything. However, if you take this route, expect never to see them again, which is not good practice for a sustainable business model.
Dealing with yes-customers requires sensitivity. It’s quite easy to alienate them by making them feel as if they’re being sold too and, pretty much, pushed into buying. You have to take the time to understand their needs and desires, which means you’ll be doing a lot of listening.
Also, give them space and time to decide for themselves without forcing the issue. If you’re considerate of their anxiety and take your time to help them without being pushy, you’ll win a loyal customer for life!
10. The Um-Customer
Um-customers don’t know what they want. Their answers will be along the lines of “Um, maybe…” or “Um, I don’t know” or “Um, I’m not sure”. Their minds tend to be all over the place and they’re often not even sure whether they want to buy or not.
Dealing with um-customers requires patience. A lot of it. You have to take them by the hand and be their guide. Listen to them and ask the right questions to help both of you figure out how this sale would benefit both parties. The more pertinent questions you ask, the more information you’ll get to lead them down the right path. Whatever you do, don’t lead them down the road you want, ignoring their answers or skewing them to your favor. If you do so, you’ll lose them. They might buy the first time, but you won’t be seeing them a second time.
However, if you’re patient with them and help them figure what they actually want, you’ll earn their lifelong loyalty.
11. The Buddy
Buddies are those customers who like building relationships. They tend to be friendly and likable, but they often display more traditional attitudes and shy away from taking risks. They need the support of other people before making a decision, which is why they tend to be quite cautious. For this reason, they might sometimes be a little indecisive too.
The first thing you need to do when dealing with buddies is to be open and friendly, just like they are. You’ll also need a little patience as they can go off on a tangent. If you, however, take the time to establish a relationship with them, you’ll find that they can be great loyal customers. Just remember that, with buddies, it’s all about the connection. Many are willing to pay more for the same product if they feel the relationship is genuine.
12. The Bulldozer
Bulldozers are those customers who never have time, are always busy, prefer to get right to the point and want to see results this very moment. They’re more likely to take risks and tend to like having a broad range of choices and rarely ask for other people’s help. They can either seem larger than life or can be beyond irritating.
The key to dealing with bulldozers is to hand over the power and allow them to be in control. You can still guide them, but be delicate about it. Also, make sure to get right to the point and avoid wasting time. Show them they will get the results they’re looking for quickly.
You might notice that a bulldozer’s attention will waiver, which is why you will have to vary the inflection of your voice accordingly and ask questions to engage them. Also, provide them with a few options within your offerings, which will not only satisfy their varied needs but will further strengthen the idea that they are in control.
13. The Cyborg
Cyborgs are analytical. They love facts, details, and numbers. They get excited over spreadsheets and always want to know the bottom line and how it will benefit them. They tend to be very organized and neat, but aren’t all that fond of taking risks.
The first thing you need to do with a cyborg is to ensure that you are always on time. Punctuality is critical to them, and they perceive it as a mark of respect. If you’re late, you better have a brilliant reason – like your car got annihilated in an alien invasion that’s about to wipe out humanity and you had to flee on your feet across the city.
Next is to present facts. If you try to open with anything other than facts, you’ve lost them. With cyborgs, logic tends to work best, but they also like being complimented. Whatever you do, never make them feel as if they’re wrong or they made a mistake.
While this list might come across as quite heavy to digest, it is important to know the different customer personality types if you are a sales person or in any other customer-facing role. The nature of your job will be such that you don’t sell to, interact or engage with only one type of prospects/customers. Also keep in mind that most people will often display one major personality type with elements from the others, which is why you’ll have to adopt a mix of approaches while dealing with them.
Is there any other dominant personality trait that we’ve missed? Please do let us know in the comments below!