Understanding the Four Personality Types

Once salespeople have been trained in the basics of a company’s formal sales process and product offerings, it might be tempting to simply let them out in the field and let them sink or swim. This, however, leads to tremendous waste due to the needless turnover of employees that might have turned into top producers with some continuing education in sales.

Part of sales process improvement is improving the salespeople’s skills themselves, so they can recognize situations and pull out the right tool to handle it, so to speak. One of the tools that salespeople should be equipped with is knowledge of the four basic personality types, and the best approaches to each one.

Salespeople can easily figure out a prospect’s personality type, and produce dramatic sales process improvement, by simply gauging the following:

1) Are they fact or feeling-oriented?
2) Are they fast or slow-paced?

Fact-oriented and fast-paced equals “The Driver”

Also known as the “authoritative type, ” Drivers are primarily motivated by beating the competition. This type is gruff in speech and almost unfriendly. They dominate conversations, are not good team players and do not suffer fools. They have a high ego, lack empathy and are highly protective of their “turf.”

Handle them by avoiding chit-chat and talk about personal relationships; they simply do not care, and prefer to get down to business. Be on time, exude confidence, dress your best, and be prepared to let them dominate the conversation. This feeds their ego and helps them think they decided to buy on their own.

Feeling-oriented and fast-paced equals “The Motivator”

Motivators love praise and recognition most. They are “talkers.” Like Drivers, Motivators think quite highly of themselves, but have empathy for others. They want to make others feel good and entertain them, so are extremely social and popular.

Handle Motivators by appealing to their emotions, dreams and the big picture. If you are naturally a Driver, soften your approach and try to be effusive. Tell stories, instead of relying on hard facts and figures.

Fact-oriented and slow-paced equals “The Thinker”

Thinkers are motivated by improved business processes and results. They do not have the huge egos of the earlier types, but they also don’t have much empathy for others, relying more on the careful consideration of facts and figures rather than your personality to make decisions. They tend to talk slowly and require step-by-step explanations of everything. Thinkers might appear cold and distant, but do not take it personal.

Thinkers appreciate details and patience. Do not be overly loud or expressive, try to match their conservative tone of voice and movement. And never try to be slick or apply pressure — let the facts do the talking.

Feeling-oriented and slow-paced equals “The Supporter”

Supporters have a hard time selling or being sold to by Drivers, as they are diametrically opposed. They think more of others than themselves, and are slow in speech and action. The main motivation for a supporter is to help others. Relationships are crucial, and they rarely get angry. Think of a warm, patient, parental figure, and you have thought of a typical Supporter.

Supporters should be approached slowly and with great friendliness and warmth. They will try to make you one of the family; don’t rebuff them or you lose the sale. Use a down-to-earth approach and encourage discussions of feelings and fears rather than facts, and never push them into a buying decision.

Sales process improvement should include developing several different strategies for dealing with each personality type, and ingraining it into the minds of salespeople through repetition and role playing.


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