Can You Make An Amiable Personality Style A Top Retail Salesperson?


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Personality styles are so important when considering retail sales training. In fact, I have an entire course about them in my popular online interactive sales training program SalesRX.

In a previous post, I covered the Driver personality. This time we’re examining their polar opposite, the Amiable personality type, and how this personality type fits in your retail store.

We’re finding more and more untrained Amiables on the retail sales floor who end up lurking behind the counters (or the castle as I like to call it) passively waiting for customers to approach them and say, “I'll take it!”

It's not their fault...They need training

To grow retail sales these days, customers need to be cajoled, coached, and cared for in more assertive ways.

Because they're so sensitive to people's feelings, Amiables don't like to challenge assumptions. Or push to get the sale. Or step outside their comfort zone. That's why, if they are left untrained, they could be a liability on your sales floor.

Sure they can be seen as popular because “everyone likes them so much.” But there's a big difference between being liked for niceness and liked for sales.

The good thing is that since amiable personalities live vicariously through others, they can imagine what it would be like for someone to receive a gift and smile warmly. And once they can relax and not fear being rejected, they can be some of the most authentic, genuine people you’ll meet.

Amiable personalities are, by nature, the caregivers of society - teachers, nurses, community service volunteers - they need to help people. They ask, “Can I help you?” in earnest (even though it's one of the worst greetings to use.)

Friendly and loyal, the amiable type is the epitome of the classic TV show "Cheers".

The challenge in the buying process for the amiable personality is the drive to make the sale.

Amiable personalities just don't have the same hustle as other types

Don’t get me wrong, because amiables are generous with their time, they can help another amiable with a purchase. If something goes wrong, they will work hard to mend the relationship – it's who they are. And that's a good thing.

Amiables form easy personal relationships and rapport with each other based on understanding as if they were family. The challenge is the other half of the world, (the other three personalities,) probably don't want to be treated like family.

  1. The Driver wants to be treated like a player
  2. The Analytical wants to be treated as an expert
  3. And the Expressive wants to be treated like a celebrity

None of those come naturally to the amiable personality.

François de la Rochefoucauld might have been talking specifically about the amiable personality style when he said 400 years ago:

“We promise according to our hopes and perform according to our fears.”

Where the driver type can make assertions about a product or service and challenge the customer to rethink, question, or look at new options. Amiables don't tend to do that because they fear rejection. They are hardwired to defuse tension, so they have the potential to not take a stand on what a customer should do.

Amiables have a hard time selling if they don’t have full faith in the product. If they are selling something they really believe in, they will see it as helping the customer rather than selling them something. And they'll make the sale.

Some amiable personalities might feel people shouldn’t be buying premium goods others can’t afford or that people should be helping others in this time of economic crisis, so they aren’t assertive in making a sale.

See my post on survivor guilt.

Because they're afraid of looking bad or offending someone, they might find it hard to reach within themselves and develop their other three personality styles, which in this demanding retail environment is what's necessary.

An amiable person can make a good assistant and take direction well. Except when you tell them, “Go help them." That’s because amiables, much like the analyticals, are in essence introverts when it comes to complete strangers.

So, if you hire them into a commission setting, you have as much put them in a pressure cooker.

This is why training is so very important to help get them over that natural tendency of avoiding risk.

Check out my online retail sales training, SalesRX.com

Managers contact me and say, “I have a bunch of senior salespeople; how can I get them to change?” The challenge is, if they are an amiable personality, change is scariest to them.

They feel they've been doing well enough - why do they have to change? Add the possibility you might hire some younger salesperson if they don’t perform and their stress level has just gone through the roof.

This is why other amiable assistants and even managers might turn a blind eye to the problem – even when it’s costing them sales. Especially if you put them on the floor with drivers and expressive personality types who have no fear of making a sale. The amiable could be seen by them as pulling sales down.

See also: Amiable, Driver, Expressive, Analytical and Other Personality Myths Miss the Point

What I'm saying in my own Driver blunt way is…

Amiable personality types don't naturally sell

They like to help others and be friends without asking anything - like buying - in return.

Rewards and contests aren't going to make them into superstars because they don't value those types of rewards. If you are an amiable, here are a few things to expand your abilities and help make you a top salesperson:

  • Be aware of the time you are talking – not listening.
  • Make sure you aren’t over-sharing personal information or asking personal questions not relevant to the sale.
  • Force yourself to not fold your tent even if it feels like the customer didn’t respect you. Stay with it.
  • Buddy up with an Expressive or Driver personality and ask them how to improve.

Amiables are social creatures who work well in groups but not so well alone, which is when they become more guarded.

Because they are so cautious, Amiables rarely let people know they’ve been hurt. While a Driver won't enjoy criticism, they are not easily offended, the Amiable might be. That's because again, their goal is to be well-liked.

They can frustrate management because they are so passive.

For the amiable personality style working in retail, it has to go much farther than just being liked, you have to make the sale to all four personality styles.

Once you decide to push your boundaries and sell, get some retail sales training and then you too can end up being the top salesperson.

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