Retail Consultant Tip - Words That Sell To Different Customers

Sell to different personalities

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When I was selling cowboy clothes at South Coast Plaza - at the time, the world’s highest-grossing mall per square foot - I noticed an employee trying to sell a pair of expensive boots to a female customer.

The customer had tried on the baby blue ostrich cowboy boots - the ones with white tops and royal blue stitching - and liked them. Yet, even at 20 percent off, our guy couldn't make the $600 sale.

I went over and asked her why she still had reservations if everything was a go. She said, dressed in orange slacks and a fairly conservative top, “I just don’t think I’d wear them very often here in Southern California.” Realizing that this was an expressive personality in front of me, I immediately understood that she just wanted to be reassured.

I said, “They are unique – you won’t find another pair for 1,000 miles.” She hemmed and hawed and was getting ready to leave when I said, “And I’m sure you don’t have any outfits you only wear once in a while in your closet. That wouldn't be practical.” She smiled. “You’re good,” she said. “I’ll take ‘em.”

But it wasn't about me; it was about the realization that this customer had a personality style open to impractical rather than practical.

You will make more sales once you understand what is important to the customer. But you must understand the personality type you are trying to convince - a Driver, an Analytical, an Expressive, or an Amiable.

Can’t peg a style right away? That’s OK. Here are some tips that might help you get a handle on it:

First, can you type them as a Thinker (Driver or Analytical) or a Feeler (Expressive or Amiable)? It can be as basic as listening for “I think” or “I feel.”

Are they talking about doing things with others or family? Might be a Feeler.

Do they talk about job stress or only having “a few minutes”? Might be a Thinker.

Do they come off more as joiners of groups (Feelers) or loners (Thinkers)?

Once you've identified them, you'll want to use these words and phrases to sell to them...

Words That Sell For Different Personalities

The Driver:

  • “The best”
  • “Quality”
  • “Others will be envious”
  • “Exclusive”
  • Name-drop

The Analytical:

  • Facts, figures, and charts
  • Visuals
  • Independent reviews like Consumer Reports or outside testing sources
  • Guarantee
  • Will match the lower price plus x% if found within x days of purchase

The Expressive:

  • “Unique”
  • “Customizable”
  • “Limited edition”
  • “Not for everybody”
  • “Lots of options”

The Amiable:

  • “Popular”
  • “Safe”
  • “Risk-free”
  • Friends and family will love you for choosing it
  • Mentioned in social media, popular magazines, or popular shows
  • Return if you don’t like it

It’s great to know what will work, but often what stops a customer from buying are specific personality-related fears.

If the keywords above encourage a customer’s “buy angel” on one shoulder, let's look at what the “devil on the other shoulder “might be saying to discourage the sale.

What each personality style is afraid of when purchasing:

The Driver: Not doing the job they thought it would do.

The Analytical: Rushing into or making an impulsive/bad choice.

The Expressive: Not unique. Loves it, but may never be able to use it.

The Amiable: Disappointing others/standing out from others.

In Sum

What works for one customer may be the worst approach for another.

In dealing with the four personality types, it’s important to know what not to do as much as what to do. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses helps you understand what is important to the customer. You can take my free personality quiz here. I can train your sales staff about personality styles and my unique selling system. Click the link below.


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