Sell the Sizzle - Retail Sales Tips for Expressive Personality Styles

Bob Phibbs
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expressive personality style tips for retail

Only an Expressive personality could wear a dress made entirely out of meat to present at an awards show.

Only an Expressive personality could become a fitness guru wearing satin shorts and a tank top for nearly 30 years.

Of course, I'm talking about Lady Gaga and Richard Simmons; both Expressive personalities.In an earlier post I shared that the Amiable is the exact opposite of the Driver and today you'll find that the Expressive is the exact opposite of the Analytical.

The world is a stage to the Expressive personality style partly because we reward them for their uniqueness, their vision and their thoughts, which they can express to others easily.

The Expressive personality is all about new, fun, and different. These are the people who truly march to their own drummers. They can have flashes of brilliance, pump up an audience, or create the next must-have product. They'd be the yellow Labrador retriever running around the dog park with the Frisbee in their mouth encouraging someone to play with them.

Just because they are so gosh darn fun and exciting, these are the personalities who can “sell ice to the Eskimos.”

Their energy and enthusiasm is contagious. In some ways they live in their own rose-colored world of possibilities.

Expressives are great at selling your entire store; they open the funnel up to maximize possibilities.

Expressive personalities are the spark plugs for your crew. When you open a new store, these are frequently the personalities who come to apply. That's because they love new things. Once it becomes humdrum or routine, they are looking elsewhere. Life is short.

If it is a great day at the beach, they’ll be the first to call in sick. Their charm can’t make up for such unreliability, so many employers avoid them.

Which is a mistake.

Expressive personalities see all the possibilities almost like they can see into the future. They’re the ones who can put together a great outfit, or show you what you can do with the software, or give all the great ideas for what to do in the garden. Expressives are the ones who can sell the sizzle, not the steak. (If you want to sell the steak, talk to an Analytical.)

Expressives enjoy playing with the products, and they have no fear of selling them.

They make such great salespeople because there is no fear of rejection from others plus Expressives have a natural ability to connect on an emotional, personal level with anyone. They can be a great chameleon and make anyone feel comfortable around them.

Much like the Driver personality, I said they can do this.

But untrained Expressive retail salespeople can be too much for a lot of people. Their natural vibrancy and peacockiness can also be tiring to manage.

For an Expressive personality, more choice is better. But that's the opposite of the way 90% of the people in the world see things; most people want their choices brought down to one or two.

An untrained Expressive often won’t stop suggesting competing items - even at the close of the sale; this tendency confuses the customer and ultimately loses the sale. When an untrained Expressive doesn’t continuously narrow the funnel down to one or two possibilities, the customer can become lost in the sea of choices.

Expressives also are subject to what I call OMG moments. The ones where they speak before thinking. Like this one I share from my book, The Retail Doctor's Guide to Growing Your Business

A woman walked into our shop and asked, “How much is this vest?” The Expressive employee quickly replied, “More than you can afford.” A bit shocked, she replied, “How do you know how much I can afford?” And like the smooth talking, shape-shifting people Expressives can be, he answered, “I saw all those shopping bags in your hands and thought you might have been out of money.”

The kicker to the story is that he went on to sell her that several hundred dollar vest and more.

Expressives are the ones who tell you all the benefits of a product. The trouble is they can sell based on sheer emotion, so they may overstate some of the facts of what it really can do.

Much like the Driver personality, the Expressive sees sales as just a game knowing the more they give, the more likely they'll make sales.

Being over-confident (like Drivers) they can be rule-breaking cowboys who do things their own way through discounting, then asking permission after the fact. Because they are such powerful personalities, many managers let them do that because “high volume covers a wealth of sins.”

Some apparel stores encourage the Expressive personalities to interject in other employee/customer conversations. This can be both good and bad. The good being when they say just the right thing to make the sale and the bad one of those OMG moments.

Expressives have little fear of failure - not only with what they say but also with what they wear, so you want to make sure that your dress code allows them to be unique, not faceless.

When an Expressive gets upset, that frequently causes high drama. They feed off of everyone's emotions and can stir the pot, so make sure they know when they've gone too far.

If you are an Expressive, here are a few things you can do to make more sales more often:

  • Be aware of your voice so that you're not talking too loudly.
  • Know when to perform and when to not perform.
  • Your natural inclination is to talk, so find ways to limit yourself.
  • You can't sell on emotion only; back up statements with facts.

After a speech in Minneapolis a man approached me and said, “I'm opening a new restaurant concept and thanks to you, I finally understand why I'm not getting the employees I want. For the first time in 35 years I understand that my Analytical HR director is not hiring the very people I want, which are Expressives. They don’t fit their way of seeing things.”

It was gratifying to know that Ed Rensi, former CEO of McDonald's Corporation found that much value in understanding the Expressive personality.

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