Using Type in Selling© Copyright 2006 Pamela Hollister
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With the competitive nature of business today, an understanding and use of type theory can be beneficial in the selling process. By just listening for the communication and behavior clues of each of the four dimensions of personality type theory - Energy, Information, Decision, Action, - you can adapt your behavior to the "comfort zone" of your customer. All of us like to purchase from a sales person that we feel comfortable with and understands us. Listen and watch for cues in your customer's behavior.
All that you have to remember is four dimensions - Energy, Information, Decision and Action, and two preferences within each dimension. You can pick up someone's preference for each of the four dimensions while listening to them on the telephone. And, it's easier in person because you have the benefit of watching body language. A study of Side 1 of The PEOPLE Process Wheel - the four dimensions of type theory and the two preferences within each dimension and Side 2 - how to treat each preference within their "zone of comfort" will enable you to easily remember the type preferences.
Does this customer generally prefer to Talk it Out (Extraversion) or Think It Through (Introversion)?
Does this customer generally prefer to give information and respond to Specifics (Sensing) or the Big Picture (Intuition)?
Does this customer generally base his or her decisions on Logical Implications (Thinking) or the Impact on People (Feeling)?
Does this customer generally have a Joy of Closure (Judging) or a Joy of Processing (Perceiving)?
(Adapted from the Four Part Framework, by Susan A. Brock.)
|E||Talk It Out||Think It Through||I|
|S||Specifics||The Big Picture||N|
|T||Logical Implications||Impact On People||F|
|J||Joy Of Closure||Joy Of Processing||P|
A survey of 200 people, who had previously verified their type preference, was conducted asking them "How do you prefer to be sold to?" Upon examination of the responses, the individuals described common themes when grouped by the functional (middle two letters) of their four letter type - ST, SF, NF, and NT.
A common theme for STs is to "focus on the facts." During a sales interaction, an ST wants specifics, logically presented, with a focus on meeting practical needs.
NFs, on the other hand, want to know how the product, service, or concept "makes a difference" or supports their vision of what could be, especially as it relates to people. NFs prefer to hear and use a relational train of thought, where one thing reminds them of another.
SFs want personal and individualized service. They form a bond of loyalty to the person or product that gives them "personalized service."
NTs show a theme of wanting "logical options" with which to fulfill "unique" needs. They stress that the salesperson must demonstrate competence and should expect to be tested on this competence during the sales interaction.
Four Basic Sales Approaches
(Adapted from FLEX Selling by Susan Brock, 1993.)
|Functional Pair||Customer Prefers|
The four functional pairs of types use different ways of expressing themselves when they are communicating that reflect their type preference. An ST speaks in brief, logical statements, while an SF shares personal stories. NFs speak of possibilities emphasizing the people-oriented values of the situation. NTs focus on what "makes sense," from a long-range perspective.
The personality type framework is a tool that can easily be used to choose and shape how to interact best with your customer. As you listen and watch, you can adjust your behavior to your customer based on a knowledge of sound theory that works. You can also use the type framework to put together letters and marketing materials. The same idea of matching the language of the customer applies to written work as well as to face-to-face interaction.
Practice presenting your product or service from the four basic functional positions so you can shift when necessary. In an actual sales situation, watch your customer's nonverbal cues such as facial expressions, body language and tone of voice. Be aware that using type in selling requires practice and discipline. As you continue to work with type you gain a greater appreciation of your customers, their needs and their diversity. Using type in selling is well worth the effort. It really pays off!
Author, The PEOPLE Process
August 22, 2006