by Buzz Bainbridge
Most sales professionals prefer selling to customers with one particular SOCIAL STYLE.
Years ago I taught a selling course built around SOCIAL STYLE. But before introducing the Model, we showed the class four short video clips with four different people speaking about how they make buying decisions.
After hearing the Amiable Style person, some sales people in the class would say that they love selling to this Style because they can “steam-roll” them and easily persuade them. Others would say they would make them their friend and then sell to them. Others would say they don’t like selling to this Style because he/she can never take a risk, are slow in making decisions, and need lots of internal support before they commit.
There were different reactions to the Driving Style. Some of the class would say that this person is too tough and would put you through the “meat grinder” to earn the right to get the business. Some felt he/she would be extremely demanding once you got the business. Many sales pros liked selling to this Style, citing the person’s willingness to make quick decisions based on facts and that you always know where you stand.
The Expressive Style video elicited a whole range of responses. You would get stories about how this person takes you on “wild goose chases” and then ends up going with someone else. Others said that they pick your brain for your best ideas, and then do it in-house. The ones that liked this Style said that he/she is lots of fun to sell to, that you can build a fast relationship with them, and they make quick decisions.
When the Analytical Style came on the video, you would immediately get responses from the most assertive in the class saying that these “engineers” will never make a decision no matter how many facts you present. Those that like this Style of buyer would say that this person just needs an organized presentation of the facts and will make an objective decision.
This exercise told us more about the Styles of the people in the classroom than it did about who they liked as prospects and clients. It seems that until we learn about SOCIAL STYLE, we prefer to sell to people who are like us; and we tend to try to avoid prospects that are very different from us.
I have been a successful sales person for over 30 years selling from my own Amiable Style. You might think that I prefer to sell to other Amiables. That would have been the case 30 years ago, but now I would take a Driving Style any day. Why? They will tell you what they want and need, what they are willing to pay, how soon they want to make a decision; and quickly let you know if you have a solution that will work for them or not. I am not saying it is easy; but it can be productive and you will not waste your selling time on someone who is never going to buy from you.
I find it the most challenging to sell to Expressive Style people. Even though I find it easy to relate to them, they are fun to be with, and they seem like they would make quick decisions; I find them to be tough to sell. They may overstate their ability to make the purchase, they don’t want to tell you “no” because they like you, or they buy from the last person who becomes their “buddy”.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have very good clients and friends who are in each of the four quadrants, and that’s what makes selling so challenging and fun. Once I learned about SOCIAL STYLE, I found that I was so much more confident going into each new sales call.