Ray Collis

Do Buyer Personalities Really Matter?

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Buyer types and personalities features big in most sales books and training courses.   After all, the buyer has a personality and that can also get in the way of the successful sale!

A great many sales books and sales training courses tell the salesperson the he, or she must recognise and adapt to the personality of the buyer.  The standard repertoire of techniques include:

  • Mirroring and pacing that is where the salesperson syncs the speed the buyer is moving, the size of their gestures, rate of breathing, rhythm of speech, language used and so on.

  • Adapt the approach and the message to the cognitive style (auditory, kinestic and visual) of the buyer.  For example some buyers take in visual information better in pictures than in words, so sellers just adapt how they communicate accordingly.

  • Many more are taught in techniques such as NLP, which focus on using powerful words, concepts and ideas to communicate effectively with the buyer.

Now, you may find these techniques useful.  However, as a profession we generally tend to overuse and even misuse them.  Take for example the number of books, articles and blog posts that include one, or all of the above techniques, compared to the number that address the logic of the buying decision, for example the buyer’s business case.  This misbalance is perhaps the clearest indication that B2C sales techniques are being misapplied in B2B selling generally, and the complex B2B sale in particular.

On the subject of buyer personalities let’s leave the last word to the buyer ‘aping my physiology is a waste of time, unless the salesperson knows what he, or she is talking about and more importantly understands my business.’

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