Knowing me, Knowing you – How to Identify Different Buyer Personality Types

What the ENFP?* Everyone from Myers-Briggs to Cosmo magazine encourages you to find out *your* personality type but how much time have you spent to discover that of your buyer? Buyers are looking for you to solve their issues, respond to their needs and build a relationship based on mutual goals and benefits. Standard. But if you are treating all buyers the same, how can you really be working in the way that best suits their needs?

Being a good salesperson is as much about building insight into the personality of your buyer as it is about insight into their business/market. Once you understand “who” your buyer is, you will be in a much better position to interact with them, address the issues they face, and build solid relationships.

In 1964 Merrill and Reid attempted to help sellers do exactly this, with their research to create a model to predict success in selling and management careers. They developed the Social Style Theory, and identified the typical behaviours a person exhibits when interacting with others. They identified four key buyer personalities which still hold true today.  What has changed however is that we now have a far greater range of options when it comes to discovery and communication.

The Assertive Buyer or Driver

This buyer is looking for results. They are to the point, busy people who like tangible benefits, and are willing to take a risk in order to get maximum reward. They do not easily relent power, they are independent thinkers, but they are also excited by opportunities and positive about meeting challenges.

The Analytical Buyer

This buyer works in tangibles. They like data, they respond well to facts, figures and bottom line impact. They are organised, independent thinkers, who like to take their time when making a decision. They are risk averse and will not jump in; instead they ask a lot of questions and conduct significant amounts of research before making decisions

The Amiable Buyer

This friendly buyer is a true relationship builder. They are not big risk takers, but are open to suggestion. They tend to be calm, careful and thoughtful, making considered decisions. Typically they are chatty and willing to share information.

The Expressive Buyer

The emotionally driven buyer. This feelings-driven people person can be an impulsive risk taker, but their chatty nature means they are keen to engage and share. They like to look at the bigger picture and understand the long term benefits.

Of course, no buyer is ever going to fit completely into one personality type or another. They may be amiable and assertive at the same time, or a combination of expressive and analytical, but in general people tend to operate broadly within their over-riding personality type.

The key to being a good social seller and sales leader is identifying your buyer’s personality type through social insight, and then adapting your sales approach accordingly.

Want to know more? Check out our next blog to find out how to engage with different buyer personalities.

*Full disclosure: I’m a total ENFP. If you’d like to know your Myers-Briggs personality type, you can find out more here.