It was at the the end of a day-long sales training program I was conducting with a group when one of the owners piped up, “What we need are some gay guys to sell our merchandise.” I asked, “Why specifically gay men?”
She answered, “Because when we visited stores yesterday in the City, they were out and willing to tell anyone in a matter-of-fact way. They were personable, fun, you just wanted to buy from them.” I understood from her descriptions of several of these guys why she would want them to work for her.
Of course, for various reasons like EEOC commissions and how a sign would look in a shop window, we all know this isn’t practical. And not all gay people are that personable – just like straight people.
What intrigued me about this comment was all the qualities she had attributed to gay men, were really true of the Expressive personality type I discuss in my new book from Wiley & Sons, The Retail Doctor’s Guide To Growing Your Business.
Expressives tend to be extroverts who occasionally tend to make their private business public and sharing information without boundaries. An opposite of the Analytical, the Expressive is the Grasshopper living for today. Expressives worry about being like everybody else instead of being recognized for their uniqueness. Again, their enthusiasm and energy are the spark plugs for your team. Their showiness can be compared to a Peacock.
Their enthusiasm can make them feel a bit invincible at times; and can overwhelm Analyticals who want “just the facts.”
Expressive personalities have to process externally while Driver and Analytical personalities don’t. The downside to an Expressives’ natural inclination to show multiple possibilities might require the customer to bring them back to the product the customer is considering, not all of the other possibilities. Their natural enthusiasm can also inflate products’ benefits without devoting time to adequately explaining why.
Is that a gay thing? I don’t think so.
It all stems from the basic Expressive personality. What this owner identified was the personality type that happened to be gay; not a gay person. With me?
The Expressives I think are the most challenging of all the personalities. Their very energy is what keeps many from hiring them. Their creativity, individualism and self-assuredness can be threatening. And when you’re trying to teach them a rigid process your Analtyical employees can easily take to, this personality will constantly challenge why they have to do it “that way.” They will complain their creativity is being stifled – they feel like robots.
What we have to remember is the Expressive is the spark-plug to your crew. They are the one that adds color, excitement and fun.
Is that a gay thing? No, its an Expressive personality thing.
Should you recruit gay men to sell your merch? If they are Expressives – yes. If they are straight men who are Expressives – yes. If they are lesbians who are Expressives – yes. If they are straight women who are Expressives – yes.
You don’t need a lot of Expressives on your sales floor but at least one keeps things interesting and fun for your crew and your customers.
Not sure which of the four personality styles are on your floor? Have them take the quiz
Want to learn more about managing the four personality types and growing your sales by speaking to each’s very different needs? Steve Strauss, Mr. All Biz gave this tip in his column in USA Today, “Are you in retail? If so, then you should pick up a copy of a great new book: The Retail Doctor’s Guide to Growing Your Business. In this book, Bob Phibbs, the “Retail Doctor,” helps you with any issue your retail business may have – from marketing more effectively, to mark-ups and price points, increasing profit and much more. Steve says check it out!”