Adapt your sales style to match the prospect

Denver-Based Sales Leadership Development Available Nationwide

Posted: September 12, 2010

It’s a first meeting with a potential client. You have researched Google, LinkedIn, and Hoovers to ensure you are prepared for this call. Often there is one piece of research missed by the salesperson:  the prospect’s personality and behavior style.  There is an age old principle of influence that is still important for closing business. People buy from people they like and who are like them.

Likeability is a key influence skill in winning business and successful salespeople study their prospects style to increase rapport and trust....and close ratios! Here is one communication model that will increase your likeability quotient at a first sales meeting. The DISC communication model has documented four different behavior styles that are often referred to as personality types.

The DISC acronym stands for:

  • D - driver
  • I - influencer
  • S - steady relater
  • C - cautious thinker

Each behavioral style has different criteria for likeability.

High drivers don’t need or want to invest a lot of time in small talk when meeting for the first time. They spend about two to three minutes on small talk, and then take control of the meeting. They conduct business first, social second. High drivers get very irritated with the chatty Kathy’s of the world and often eliminate this salesperson at the likeability stage of the sales process.

The influencer is just the opposite. This prospect wants and desires small talk and personal interaction before getting down to business. In fact, salespeople that get down to business too quickly lower their chances of a next meeting because the salesperson didn’t’ give the prospect enough rapport building time. It just wasn’t a fun sales meeting!

Then there is the steady relater who is very amiable and friendly. But don’t let this easy going style throw your selling game. This prospect also doesn’t like change. We have seen many a salesperson screw up a meeting with this prospect by gushing about their new and cutting edge services. The astute salesperson recognizes this style and moves the sales conversation to words like proven and third party endorsements.

Now for the cautious thinker or better known as the anal retentive buyer! If you want to connect with this prospect, don’t be a schmoozer. Get down to business and get down to data. This prospect is driven by stats, research and an organized sales meeting. Be prepared to answer a multitude of questions because credibility and proof is key to the analytical buyer.

People buy from people they like and who are like them. Expand your research when doing pre-call planning to study your prospect’s behaviors style. Identify, adapt and win!

Good Selling,

Colleen Stanley Chief Selling Officer