It’s my first sales call with a new prospect who I’ve been trying to meet with for over a year. It feels great to finally get the meeting. I do my homework and look at his LinkedIn profile. I visit the company’s website to find some critical information that will help get the discussion moving in the right direction.
I’m all set.
But what is the customer like? I’ve never met him before.
I enter his office all excited about the opportunity and he shakes my hand and politely asks me to have a seat. Since it was a Monday, I ask him about his weekend. He ignores my question and immediately asks me for the agenda for our meeting.
What about your weekend? Unfortunately, he didn’t want to go there. What went wrong?
I think we’ve all been in appointments where the customer does not have the same view of the conversation that we do.
In the latest edition of my book, Four People You Should Know,
I address the importance of knowing the personality style of the customer. In reality, we all have our own unique perception as to how we expect others to behave, and it’s based on our view of life. When the expected doesn’t happen, we get derailed.
When we meet someone for the first time we make an instant assessment of them. Do I feel comfortable with them? Are they friendly or from my perception not so friendly?
The story we tell ourselves impacts our emotions. Our emotions then impact our behavior. Finally, our behavior impacts our attitude towards the customer and most likely the attitude we have towards them will be the same that they have toward us. And all of this is based on that first minute of interaction.
But here’s the problem.
What if the story I tell myself is wrong?
It’s going to happen more than you’d like because there are four distinct personality styles, and you may not guess it right. The customer I met with had a Gold personality.
To them, small talk is not important. They care about why we’re meeting. Why should I spend my valuable time with you and where is the agenda?
How long will the meeting last?
Those with a Gold personality live by their schedule and need a reason to meet and an agenda for every meeting.
The problem is that I have an Orange personality and I don’t care about agendas. I just go with the flow and work to get to know the customer personally. That’s why I start with small talk.
To connect with a customer or prospect, we need to consider their personality style. It’s not what’s important to me but what’s important from their perspective. If they want an agenda and a purpose for the meeting, that’s what I need to prepare.
Each of the four personality styles has different values and needs. The Blue personality focuses on people and relationships, so small talk is important to build trust. Greens are analytical and the most inquisitive and sometimes, they can come across as skeptical. Oranges are the most energetic and outgoing and they prefer to be the center of attention and do the most talking. They want the conversation to keep moving with stories and analogies.
When you consider the personality style of the other people in your life – prospect, customer, boss/colleague/employees – it will take the focus off of you and your viewpoint and you will start to see what’s most important from their point of view. As you are more attentive to what they are saying and how they are saying it, you’ll make a much stronger connection.
Have a Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!