Retailers have tried everything it seems to get employees to sell more.
- So many try to hire a 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.
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.
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The Driver Personality
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 pilots 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.
The Analytical Personality
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 usually have an Analytical personality.
Where the Driver is the fighter pilot, and the Analytical is the bomber pilot staying on course until they reach their objective. Their Achilles’ heel is that they can come off as cold and uncaring.
Discover: How to create your best retail sales strategy with this comprehensive primer
The Expressive Personality
The Expressive is like Jack in the movie "Titanic" who tries many things, is easily bored, and has unbridled enthusiasm.
They are the best ones to excite customers about all the possibilities you offer, yet are also the least likely to be found in retail. Why? Because on a beautiful day, they’ll probably call in sick.
The Amiable Personality
The Amiable is the most common personality you’ll find in stores.
Amiables strongly 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 than in 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.
Leverage your employees' natural abilities
Those salespeople who master personality styles can 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 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 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 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 spark plug to help you reach your goal with the rest of your crew.
If your employee is predominantly Amiable, they’ll want to get along without 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.
Training tactics by personality style:
Do's and Don'ts with driver employees
- Do use their innate ability to meet and greet customers in your store.
- Do use their natural fearlessness to juggle more than one customer.
- Encourage them to lead customers to new choices they may not think they can afford.
- Don’t talk over them.
- Don’t teach them 1960s closing techniques to attempt to make a customer buy. They hate phoniness. Encourage them to be real.
Do's and Don'ts with analytical employees
- Do encourage their natural problem-solving ability.
- 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 seek.
- 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's and Don'ts with expressive employees
- 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 to personalize a purchase.
- Don’t let them overstate facts just to make a sale.
- Don’t allow them to present too many options to customers, or they may overwhelm them with choices.
- Don’t let them be so eager to meet people that they smother them with enthusiasm. Teach them to modify their energy based on the customer’s personality style.
Do's and Don'ts with amiable employees
- 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 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 to get them; get them out from behind the counter.
- Don’t let them be content just to 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 personality. And while the Driver and Expressive have the highest risk tolerance, it does not mean they are the only ones who can sell.
That’s because customers feel comfortable with people who can talk to them how 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.
It's a training mistake not to take the employee's personality in mind, correcting your approach.
Each requires specific feedback on how to use their own personality to help customers and ultimately sell more.
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 and train your crew for retail success.
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