The Art of Business: Use Personality to Close that Deal

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Hang out with sales people for any length of time and soon the conversation will turn to selling techniques and that exhilarating moment when the client finally makes a decision to go with your company and signs on the dotted line. Tens of millions of dollars are spent every year on seminars and techniques to improve sales, and top sales people will swear they can work a deal through sheer willpower (see David Mamet’s spellbinding “Glengarry Glenn Ross“). While this may be true, there are more bankable elements, four to be exact, that creative professionals can utilize to improve their chances of closing a deal.

But first, a short word on the subject of human personality.

Mr. or Ms. Personality
Behavioral researchers have gone to great lengths to identify people by their personality types (you may have heard of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or the Keirsey Temperament Sorter II). Personality typing is a great way to better understand people and communicate more effectively, but these systems can be complicated (Myers-Briggs has 16 personality types) and it’s often difficult to “read” people correctly, let alone figure out how to craft a proper sales presentation based on someone’s personality type.

There is a simpler way to understand personality; it’s a behavioral model that goes by the name of Social Styles, among others. Essentially the model says there are four types of people: analytics, expressives, amiables, and drivers. Each type of person communicates with others differently, and most importantly, each uses different criteria to make a decision.

In terms of selling and closing a deal, if you’re familiar with the four types of people and their decision-making styles, you can make sure that your sales presentations include elements designed to persuade each type. It’s actually easier than it sounds, and the technique can be used in all your communications, not just sales.

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Four Types of People
Here’s a run down of the four behavioral types:

  • Analytics are thought-oriented. They are logical people who enjoy problem solving. They focus on accurate details and are more concerned with content than style. Analytics enjoy perfecting processes and working toward tangible results. They live life with consistency according to facts, principles, and logic. Analytics believe it is important to do things right. They control their emotions and tend to be reserved in demeanor. They act methodically and use time in a deliberate and disciplined manner. They focus on the past to give them direction for the future and prefer to work on a predictable schedule.
  • Drivers are action-oriented. They are decisive, pragmatic, and efficient. They know what they want, where they are going, and how to get results. They are competitive individuals, motivated by a desire to control and achieve. They want to accomplish things efficiently, so they focus on practical approaches to bottom-line results. They are fast-paced, task-oriented, and work quickly. In demeanor they are forceful, decisive, and strong; they tend to have direct eye contact. They often speak rapidly. They prefer brief reading material, working alone, or directing others.
  • Expressives are socially-oriented. They are playful, fun-loving, and spontaneous. They are energetic, enthusiastic people who enjoy being the center of attention. They are charming, persuasive, and animated. They make decisions quickly, express opinions strongly, and dislike routine. Expressives are innovators who generate creative ideas and excel at getting others excited about their vision. In demeanor Expressives have large gestures; they speak quickly, frequently, and dynamically.
  • Amiables are relationship-oriented. They are warm, nurturing individuals who place priority on friendships, cooperative behavior, and being accepted by others. They like to achieve objectives with people, using understanding, and mutual respect. They are empathic and open to seeing things from the other person’s point of view. They are inclusive and ask for others’ ideas. Their demeanor is warm and friendly.The Four Elements
    Now the trick is to use this behavioral information to create presentations that leave no objection unanswered and no worry unmitigated, regardless of who is sitting across the table from you.

    Here are four elements designed to address the decision-making styles of each of the four behavioral types. Chances are you’re probably using most of these already.

    Data. Analytics use data, systematic approaches, and reflection to arrive at decisions. In your presentations, therefore, be sure to provide quantifiable evidence. “We can save you 14 percent by…” or “We can complete the job in six weeks, and here’s our time line to do so.” Analytics also reflect on the future, so include quantifiable information about the service you will provide once the deal is signed.

    Options. Drivers base their decisions on facts but they are risk takers by nature. They are looking for options laid out for them so they can make the final decision and lead the project. “We can go three routes, and here are the pros and cons of each” or “Let’s say we go with Option A…”

    Testimonials. Expressives rely on the opinions of others whom they consider important or successful for decision making. Therefore provide testimonials from previous clients and other experts or analysts in the client’s industry. “Joe at Company X said sales jumped 22 percent thanks to the direct mail campaign we created” or “I was speaking with your colleague Lenore who told me that…”

    Guarantees. Amiables tend to use personal opinions in arriving at decisions and want guarantees of minimal risk, especially in personal relationships. “Here’s my cell phone number, if you encounter any problems, you can call me directly and I’ll handle it.”

    Data, options, testimonials, guarantees: These are the four cornerstones of all successful sales presentations. If it sounds obvious, it is, but it’s amazing how many professionals leave one ore more of these elements out when making a presentation.

    True to Type
    If you know a client well enough and can nail his or her behavioral type, you can skew your presentations with the appropriate communication method. And if you must close a deal with a committee, hit upon all four elements and you’ll be relating to everyone at the table. Not a bad thing considering that a single objection from a single person can kill your deal.

    Data, options, testimonials, guarantees — the mantra of selling. Get into the habit of crafting all your presentations and closings with these four in mind. And when you get that job and start working with your new clients, refer to these four elements again and again to improve your communication skills with everyone you encounter.


  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks a lot for sharing, I’m a liitle beginner that aims a big deal. I found that this is a practical thought for me.

    [email protected]

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks a bunch for putting this information out.

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