How To Use Personality Styles To Improve Conversion Rates Of Your Retail Salespeople
By Bob Phibbs
Retailers have tried everything it seems to get employees to sell more.
So many try to hire the natural born salesperson. That doesn’t really work because generally they are few and far between.
Some try to use contests but that only works for a certain personality style.
Some retailers use an abundance of technical training but that too only works for some.
Instead of trying a one-size-fits-all approach, if you leverage their personality styles, you can leverage their innate abilities and help them sell more.
And yes, everyone can sell.
Once you understand the four personality styles, you can train your retail employees to cut out the fluff and connect with customers quickly after they too learn how to identify the dominant personality styles.
There’s the Driver, like Gordon Ramsay, where it is all about them being the best, smartest and known as a decision-maker. Think of them as the fighter pilot in Top Gun. It's all about them quickly coming to a decision. The downside is they can be seen as inflexible and always trying to close. Any villain you see in a movie is usually a Driver.
There’s the Analytical, like Spock on Star Trek, who is logical and has a detailed system to process information. Surgeons, CPAs and most craftspeople are usually an Analytical personality. Where the Driver is the fighter pilot, the Analytical is the bomber pilot staying on course to they reach their objective. Their Achilles’ heel is that they can come off cold and uncaring.
The Expressive is like the character Jack in the movie Titanic who tries a lot of things, is easily bored and has unbridled enthusiasm. They are also the least likely to be found in retail these days yet the best ones to get customers excited about all the possibilities you offer. Why? Because on a beautiful day they’ll probably call in sick.
The Amiable is by far the most common personality you’ll find in stores. Amiables possess a strong desire to be liked and learn about others without sharing details of their own lives. They are more interested in finding out what you did on the weekend then telling you what they did. The downside is that they don’t stand out or make demands. It takes a lot to make them visibly upset so you never know when they are considering quitting.
Those salespeople who master personality styles are able to have meaningful conversations that value both the customer and the salesperson. And that leads to higher sales. But first you need to leverage their innate abilities to get them all to sell.
If your employee is predominantly a Driver, their number one goal is to get something finished or close the sale and get the credit. You need to help them round off those gruff edges, invest more time and reduce the chance they can come off as arrogant.
If your employee is predominantly an Analytical, you need to train with a clear system of A to B to C so engaging a customer isn’t scary and it makes sense. Be prepared to answer each of their many questions as they come up.
If your employee is predominantly an Expressive, you want to harness their fun. You would not want to try to train them like an Analytical and rain on their parade. Use their easily distracted interests and enthusiasm for new items as a sparkplug for the rest of your crew.
If your employee is predominantly an Amiable, they’ll want to get along with no conflict. Teaching them how the other three personalities operate can show them how to avoid frustration and speak up. Understand that they are the least likely to be natural born salespeople and most afraid of engaging strangers—so be patient.
Here are the dos and don’ts of training your employees by personality style:
Do use their innate ability to meet and greet customers in your store.
Do use their natural fearlessness to juggle more than one customer.
Do encourage them to lead customers to new choices they may not think they can afford.
Don’t talk over them.
Don’t teach them 1960’s closing techniques to try to make a customer buy. They hate phoniness. Encourage them to be real.
Do encourage their natural problem-solving ability.
Do encourage their technical knowledge of your products to highlight the little things most salespeople ignore.
Do encourage their patient nature to stick with customers who may not know what they are looking for.
Don’t let them overwhelm customers with their knowledge. The old saying, “Don’t tell a customer how to build a watch when they just want to know the time” applies to Analyticals.
Don’t allow them to deride a customer’s choice just because they don’t know as much as your employee does.
Don’t allow them to show customers a cheaper place to buy something you carry – because they will. It’s logical.
Do use their energy and creativity to help customers see things in a new light.
Do use their enthusiasm to sell new products.
Do use their ability to mix and match to show customers how they can personalize a purchase.
Don’t let them overstate facts just to make a sale.
Don’t allow them to present too many options to a customer or they may overwhelm them with choice.
Don’t let them be so eager to meet people that they smother them with enthusiasm. Teach them how to modify their energy based on the customer’s personality style.
Do use their caring nature to understand what their customer is trying to solve.
Do use their patient nature to help customers feel appreciated and valued.
Do use their ability to listen to really hear how the salesperson can help.
Don’t let their fear of risk keep them from approaching a customer or pitching the most expensive product.
Don’t allow them to wait for customers to come get them; get them out from behind the counter.
Don’t allow them to be content to just show customers what they ask for. Encourage the Amiables to offer your products, today, at full price.
There are no good or bad personality types—we all have elements of each. And while the Driver and Expressive have the highest risk tolerance, it does not mean that they are the only ones who can sell. That’s because customers feel comfortable with people who can talk to them the way they like to be talked to.
So an Amiable selling to an Amiable, with proper training can sell just as much as a Driver – sometimes more.
However without proper retail sales training, an Amiable will be intimidated by a Driver and wait for them to ask questions, an Expressive will pull out every option in the book overwhelming most customers, the Analytical will spew fact after fact without relating it to what this particular customer wants or needs and the Driver will steamroll all but the Driver personality limiting their effectiveness.
By understanding the unique motivators of the Driver, Analytical, Expressive and Amiable personality styles, you can better manage your retail sales and customer service employees.
To discover your own personality style, click the red button below for a free quiz.
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