Understanding Personality Types in the Workplace: Part 4, “The Supporter”

July 8, 2013


We have reached the final installment of our four-part series on understanding different personality types in the workplace. I hope this series of blog posts has been informative. Although there is always a danger in oversimplifying complex human behavior into just a few categories, I trust these posts have provided some basic tools for identifying and selling to various types of people.

In past posts, I have covered “The Driver,” “The Motivator,” and “The Thinker.” Now, we will go over “The Supporter.”

Personality Type 4: The “Supporter”

This personality type in the workplace often wants to support others as a primary objective. They are extremely patient people and tolerant, and place a lot of weight on building personal relationships.

Other characteristics:

  • People and feeling-oriented
  • Low Ego drive
  • Patient
  • Introverted
  • Slow-paced and thoughtful
  • Very helpful and friendly
  • Considerate of others’ feelings and needs
  • Dislikes risk
  • Self-sacrificing
  • Empathetic; wants others to be happy
  • Family-oriented

This personality type in the workplace is generally very easy to get along with, and this makes for a pleasant selling experience if you do not push too hard, too fast.

The way to tell this personality type apart from The Thinker, is that the Thinker tends to be cold and emotionless, while Supporters, although quite thoughtful themselves, have warm personalities.

How to deal with a “Supporter”

Aggressive sellers need to dial it down a bit when dealing with Supporters. Like Thinkers, they do not enjoy making hasty or risky decisions. Instead, use a casual, down-to-earth approach bordering on the conservative rather than the flashy or flamboyant, and be very patient.

More tips:

  • Do not erect barriers between yourself and the buyer; allow them into your personal space.
  • The”trusted advisor” approach works especially well with Supporters, so ask lots of questions and prepare to listen quite a bit.
  • Slow down your speech and actions.
  • Encourage discussion of fears and concerns.
  • Emphasize the relationship, rather than the benefits and features of the product.
  • Focus on feelings rather than cold hard facts.
  •  Match body language, and smile when they do.
  • Ask for their help in selling your product or service to others. Supporters tend to make excellent coaches that can “grease the wheels” in arranging meetings with higher-ups within the same company, or with VIPs in other firms.
  • Present solutions with structure and which do not disrupt the status quo.
  • Keep in touch on personal matters, such as Birthdays, anniversaries, etc.

In conclusion

Each personality type I have talked about in this series presents its own challenges, but if you learn to navigate their quirks, you can make a lot of money when compared with salespeople who just “wing it.”

In fact, I recommend you print these last four posts out and tape them to your wall so you can review them each day before your sales calls. I guarantee that applying this knowledge will make a big difference in your closing ratio.

If you have any questions about how you can apply this to your day-to-day selling, please feel free to contact us or simply comment below.