One of the biggest mistakes I made in my sales career was assuming that what was important to me was equally important to my customer.
I met a prospect in Birmingham, Alabama that wanted a presentation on why our computers were superior to our competitors. I decided to focus on what I considered our unique differentiator – our technology.Even though I’m a relationship person I answered with the facts as I thought that was what he wanted. He asked me why he should do business with us.
My answer? “Our products can move from a PC to a mainframe and never change operating systems saving you hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
But, I misread the situation.
That’s not what he wanted. Instead he wanted to know me and to build trust. He wanted to know I was there for him whenever he needed information, advice or just someone who would go to bat for him.
Unfortunately we don’t get a second chance at a first impression, so I never established this relationship and he sailed into the sunset never to be seen again.
What should I have done? What does it take to establish a relationship with others? I believe there are three components we need to consider related to their personality style. They are values, communication and how they make decisions. Let’s address these.
Most personality models have four styles. The model I’ve developed names these styles for colors: Blue (the people person), Gold (the planning person), Green (the perfection person) and Orange (the performance person). You can learn more about the characteristics of each in my book Four People You Should Know.
One of the differentiators between the four personality styles is in what they value. You must adjust how you present the value of your offering based on which personality style you believe they have.
- Blues value trusting relationships
- Golds value commitment and follow through
- Greens value details and facts
- Oranges value winning and performing
Remember the key is to connect with their style, not yours.
Communication is the next key to connecting with prospects and customers. And, as you can guess by now, each style has a different preference.
- Blues ask questions about you so they can build trust. Small talk is important.
- Golds want to know about your company and its success.
- Greens ask questions on the details of your products and service
- Oranges want the big picture and like to be the center of attention.
Communication is about balancing the conversation. Blues and Greens tend to ask questions while Golds and Oranges tend to tell or prefer to lead the conversation. Also, Greens and Blues tend to be indirect on the communication and Oranges and Golds direct or to the point. So as we converse with different styles we need to be aware of what they prefer so we can adapt to their style.
Every sale requires a decision, so understanding when to ask for commitment is crucial and must consider the style of the prospect.
- Blues and Greens tend to be slower in finalizing their decision,
- Golds and Oranges are more decisive.
Therefore, you never want to hurry the decision for the Blue and Green personality. Being too aggressive can lose the sale.
When meeting someone for the first time, stop and ask yourself, “Who am I with?” Pay attention to their words and actions; keeping the focus on them will help you understand the approach you should take. Using their style will build trust and hopefully move you closer to a sale.