Do You Understand Your Prospect’s Buyer Personality?

This week I sat through the most boring sales presentation known to man.  I told the salesperson prior to the demo that I had a background on the topic, and I showed up for a demo of the product. However, the salesperson resolutely stuck to their PowerPoint, refusing to deviate even one iota. It resulted in a magnificent waste of time for both of us.

Now if you’re familiar with DISC personality profiling, I rank almost equally on D and I.  I am a dominant influencer.  That means I want you to get to the point quickly, and be social and friendly while you do it.  The salesperson was clearly an S or a C.  Someone who is Steady and/or Conscienscious (LOTS of C was certainly in there.)  This personality likes to do things in a certain order, and make sure every detail is covered.  We see the world in very different ways.  Which is fine unless you’re a salesperson.  You need to develop the ability to present information in the way a customer wants it.  That’s what will help you make the sale.

And that got me to thinking about the way we present to our customers that we connect with through social media.  Social networking gives us a tremendous opportunity to find out a great deal about our customers and prospects.  We can observe the way they communicate, see what’s important to them, and get a good idea of what they need.  This enables us to customize our presentation when it comes time to talk about what we have to offer, whether it’s the products or the opportunity.  Are you watching for the signs?

Here are some things to look for as you interact with others online:

  • Are their status updates typically short, or do they contain many details? (D if they get to the point, C if they contain many details)
  • When you converse, does the person spend a lot of time on small talk before getting to the point, and join a lot of online groups? (I)
  • Does the person complain through status updates about people he/she has met who are inattentive to details? (C)
  • Is the person incredibly friendly online, with lots and lots of connections? (I)
  • Does the person engage in a lot of online games? (Possibly an I)
  • Does the person seem very predictable, and does not engage in much drama online? (S)

Once you understand the personality tendencies of an individual, you can better craft your sales messages in a meaningful way. For example, if you’ve determined that someone is a C, be sure to provide all the details of your product/opportunity, and how it works.  If the person seems to be a D (and believe me, we’re easy to spot.  We usually encourage you to get to the point quickly.), focus quickly on the way your product or opportunity meets my stated needs.  Particularly if you are using some sort of media to make your presentation, you may not have the advantage of body language to tell you how your message is being received.  So do your homework!  It could make a lot of difference in your results.

Now I am far from an expert on personality profiling.  And if you’re interested in learning more, there are many folks who specialize in this.  I just find it an interesting thing to consider, based on how much we can learn about people online these days, and the dynamics involved in online communication.

What do you think?  Take a minute a comment…would love to hear your thoughts! 🙂

12 Responses to Do You Understand Your Prospect’s Buyer Personality?
  1. Neil Phillips
    May 8, 2010 | 8:26 pm

    Thanks for the post. I’m one of those poeple who is well versed on DiSC, and I teach it’s application dozens of time every year for coaching encounters, sales conversations/presentaitons, and leadership development. Your post got me to thinking about DiSC as a tool to apply to bloggers and others who are active in socail media. Can we give some guesses about how a D writes? An i? You have opened up some great possibilities that will help decide who I want to read more and who less.

  2. elaine bird
    April 17, 2010 | 10:07 pm

    Love your information. I would like more info. on DISC I have heard about other personality typing. I find it difficult with a group to meet everyone’s personality needs Any good ideas?

  3. Cheryl
    April 16, 2010 | 11:12 am

    This is so true and something we as direct sellers need to learn more about. It is sometimes hard to put into practice due to our own personalities. If we are one who likes details it is sometimes hard to get right to the point with someone or vice versa. But we do need to listen to and learn from the cues our prospects are sending us and adapt to meet their neeeds.

  4. Kim
    April 15, 2010 | 11:43 am

    I wonder how the DISC people advise on group presentations. There would definitely be a mixture of folks in the crowd. My guess is to lead with something direct for the D’s, play a game for the I’s be chatty for the S’s and methodical for the C’s. This type of presentation I would like to SEE! I need to research this theory!

    • Kim
      April 15, 2010 | 11:51 am

      After reading the link to DISC I found the discussions related to this theory are somewhat skeptical. Definitely more research is needed according to these discussions.

      • Jennifer Fong
        April 15, 2010 | 12:00 pm

        All I know Kim is that the salesperson I spoke with would have done very well to have an understanding of this. He would have made a much better presentation if he’d understood my personality type. Obviously nothing is set in stone, and people may have several characteristics of each. However this knowledge can only help you give people the information that they need, in the way that they want it!

    • Jennifer Fong
      April 15, 2010 | 11:59 am

      You know the DSWA had a piece on this during their pre-conference leadership training at their annual celebration a few years ago…maybe 2007? I’ve done some digging but can’t find the name of the person who did the training. Maybe one of our readers plugged into the DSWA will remember?

  5. Robin
    April 15, 2010 | 11:39 am

    Great post. I wish you would have gone into detail a lot more about the different types and how to reach each. Maybe posts for another day????

    • Jennifer Fong
      April 15, 2010 | 11:44 am

      As I said, I’m not the expert on working with personality types, although I’ve heard several good presentations from those who are. Here’s a slideshare demo that doesn’t work off of the DISC profiles, but shares some good ideas: You may also want to do a Google search on “Selling to different personality types.” You’ll find lots of great info!

      Here’s to your great success!

  6. AudraSue Muller
    April 15, 2010 | 11:27 am

    Wow! This was a great read Jennifer! I love how you can make us really think about topics that are so different and outside of our premade boxes! I immediately thought of someone that fit all of those types! LOL!

  7. Linda Stacy
    April 15, 2010 | 10:24 am

    Being able to “read” your audience is so important! I think we sometimes get so immersed in making a “perfect presentation” that we forget to really look at the audience to see how they’re responding. It’s difficult to do, but sometimes it’s necessary to adjust midstream.

    The last direct sales home party I went to, the presenter completely ignored all the cues that the guests weren’t happy. The hostess was embarrassed, the consultant couldn’t take control (her sponsor was demonstrating how to run a sales party), and sales were definitely lost. Some people had to leave early and couldn’t shop because the presentation wasn’t complete. And at one point the presenter even admonished the group for not paying attention to her. All in all it was not an example of understanding the buyers’ personalities and needs!

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