Have you ever had someone try to sell you something and you were left feeling completely annoyed and frustrated? Chances are your “buying style” did not match their “selling style”. It is important for salespeople to understand their own personalities as well as their client’s, so they can adapt to the behavior that their customer is most comfortable dealing with. I’m not saying to change who you are, but rather, how you behave. Even if you are not in sales, selling is something we do each and every day like trying to convince someone else to do what you want to on the weekend. By understanding the type of personalities you encounter, using True Colours as a metaphor for the four different types, namely, orange, green, blue and gold, you can understand what the differences are in how they make decisions.
An Orange friend I know recently went shopping for a computer and the salesperson was a very high Green. The questions were endless as to what she needed and wanted and with every question my orange friend was getting more frustrated and impatient. She repeatedly stressed that what she was looking for in a computer was simple. It had to be a laptop, it had to be fast, with enough memory, good battery power and have a web camera. She trusted the expertise of the salesperson to recommend the right one to suit her needs and have it be a done deal. Instead, the very Green salesperson delivered a complete risk assessment and at least ten more minutes went by explaining various features, advantages, drawbacks and so forth. Her head was ready to explode and she couldn’t get to the door fast enough. Greens are very gifted at obtaining technical information and making an informed analysis of situations. They figure that since they take a lot of time to analyze purchases in order to make the right decisions, everyone else is just like them and would like all the information so as not to make a wrong decision. It is fine to teach others, but that only applies if others want to learn. In this case, my friend had no interest in the inner workings of the computer. She knew what she wanted and just wanted to get it done! Communicating, like selling, is not about you. It is about the person you are dealing with.
When a technical Green tries to sell to a non-technical decision maker, problems quickly arise as the two people will end up speaking different languages! In this case, had the salesperson listened to my orange friend’s needs, recommended a particular computer, noticed the credit card in her hand and stopped talking, he would have had the sale and it would have been a win/win for both of them. Knowing about the four basic personalities, including the clues about what to look for, will help you understand how to connect with others. Just as important as knowing your stuff when it comes to selling, you must know who you are selling to, including what they want from you and what they avoid.
Karen Knorr is a certified teacher/tutor and facilitator who resides in Errington with her husband and two boys.