What’s their decision making style

by | Jun 26, 2009 | Relationship Selling

We know as fiscal years come to a close that its crunch time for closing sales deals. Typically, several are already in the pipeline but have been slipping the past few months as busy buyers delay decisions. Every good sales manager asks the question, “What can the company do to help close the deal by year end?”

First and foremost we must build a relationship with our customer. This last year we’ve explored many ways to increase our effectiveness once we know our customer’s personality style. So how does all this lead to greasing the wheels toward that end-of-year buying decision?

Knowing the decision making style of your customer significantly improves your ability to accurately predict when a customer should complete their decision process. It will also help you set the proper closing strategy, including what incentives or actions on your part might motivate them to buy. Understanding their personality style will provide us guidelines on how they judge incentives and make decisions.

First determine if your customer’s primary personality style is “left brain” or “right brain”. Right brains and left brains approach the closing decision differently. Left brains are more objective and look for the tangible benefits in your products and services. They are likely focused on the task and look for business benefits over personal benefits. Left brain’s personality styles are either Green or Gold. Right brains are more subjective about their decisions and look for intangibles and personal interests. They will be concerned with how people will regard the decision they make. Yet they are also concerned with how this decision will affect others in their organization. Rights brains are either Orange or Blue personality styles.

Next we need to consider how much “urgency” is attached to their decisions. Myers-Briggs classifies both the Blue and Green styles as “Intuitive”. Their decisions rely less on what their five senses experience. There is less of a sense of urgency from intuitive clients about making final buying decisions. Left alone they are less likely to make a buying decision before the end of the year. With a Blue you must find someone on their team who will suffer if the decision is delayed. With a Green you must show an improvement that cannot wait to be implemented. Intuitive personalities do not like to be pushed to a decision; however, you can remind them of the next logical step in the sales evaluation.

Orange and Gold personalities are classified as “Sensory” in the Myers-Briggs model. They are concrete thinkers generally using their five senses to make a decision. Concrete thinkers are more bottom line driven. When an Orange sees an immediate benefit they act. When a Gold sees strong financial justification they act. And when either style reaches a decision, they will stick with it. If you read their expectations correctly, and position the product or service so they understand that it meets these expectations, the Orange or Gold personality will proactively move the sale forward.

The good news here is that 84% of the population is either Orange or Gold and only 16% is Blue or Green. The odds are in your favor that the CFO or CEO is either Orange or Gold. Communicating a clear immediate benefit or a strong risk arising from delays should influence them to decide before year’s end. Unfortunately, if you are in the world of technology sales, most CIO’s and CTO’s are Green. This helps explain the long sales cycles in Technology. Speed their decisions by appeals targeting their secondary color which might be Orange or Gold. The rarest of personality combination is the Green/Blue mix. They will look at every possible angle when evaluating a solution. Speed up their decisions by showing that a consensus of others in their team favors the product or service.

It’s our job in sales to recognize the characteristics of our customers and relate to them from “their perspective” not ours. Develop your strategy for bringing the sale to closure by emphasizing the business or personal side based on their personality. Then consider if they are intuitive or concrete in their thought process. Adjust your sales approach to fit the speed of their comfort in making decisions quickly (concrete) or less urgently (intuitive). Focus on the needs of their personality style and your forecasting accuracy will improve as well as your win rate for closing business!