July 5, 2013


We continue our four-part series on personality types in the workplace with the third category: The Thinker. As the name implies, this type of buyer tends to over analyze everything and therefore requires an extra dose of patience, especially if you are a type-A personality trying to get them to make a quick decision.

This personality type is associated with some of the biggest names in business, so being able to identify and properly sell to this kind of buyer will open up the doors to many opportunities for B2B salespeople.

Personality Type 3: The “Thinker”

This personality type in the workplace often wants to improve business processes and results as a primary objective. They can detach themselves emotionally when making decisions and base them on careful study. Think Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffett or even Tiger Woods. They excel at what they do, but aren’t particularly driven by their emotions when it comes to business choices.

Other characteristics:

  • Skeptical
  • Might appear insensitive to the needs of others
  • Cold demeanor and conservative attire
  • Extremely analytical: you can see the “wheels spinning” before they speak
  • Slow-paced and methodical
  • Wants ALL the facts, figures and details
  • Very cautious, will not be pressured into making a decision until they have completely thought it through

Do you see why this might be a challenging personality type in the workplace, especially when you are faced with meeting your sales quota and the prospect wants to go over the details again and again?

How to deal with a “Thinker”

Forget about trying to smooth talk your way to the close with a Thinker — they will catch on and either insist on getting back to the details so they can make a rational decision or show you the door. So, don’t try to rush, and allow them to go through their process without interrupting them.

Here are some more tips:

  • Mimic their speed and tone — which usually means slowing down a bit and removing some of the energy from your voice.
  • Come extremely organized — messiness reflects mental weakness.
  • Provide facts and numbers, and present your case in a logical, linear fashion.
  • Be polite, but not overly friendly.
  • Skip the unsolicited small talk.
  • Never miss a deadline or show up late — it is taken as a personal insult.
  • Give them room, don’t crowd their space or touch them.
  • Leave written material and follow up with e-mail.
  • Be careful when using rote closing tricks, the Thinkers are extremely smart so will be either bemused or annoyed when you try an obvious “alternate of choice” or “puppy dog close.” Be more sophisticated and really demonstrate superior ROI and competence.
  • Developing ghosting discriminators, as we teach in our training seminars, is extremely important to separate you from other vendors who have approached them with similar benefits and ROI.

While it might take longer to close a Thinker, they will reward you with years of business as long as you keep every single promise you make and hit their deadlines. Solve their business pain, and they usually don’t go around shopping other vendors trying to shave off a few bucks here and there. They know their buying process is long and drawn out, and they don’t want to go through it again any more than you do!

Next, we wrap up our four-part series on personality types in the workplace with “The Supporter.” Contact us to learn more about the personality types in your workplace and how to best utilize each and every one of them.