by Guest Blogger – Alf Foster

Before answering this question let’s start by defining selling.

Some say it is an art, others say it’s a process or it’s a way you help people make the decisions to buy something. Others believe it’s the fastest way to get promoted into management due to the highly transferable nature of the skills required to sell effectively.

One of the best salespeople I ever met used to love antagonising other business functions by announcing often “nothing happens in business until somebody makes a sale”….

They are all right in varying degrees however in an attempt to start answering the title question, let’s have a look at some of selling’s important components before combining these with personality type theory.

Important components of selling:

  1. Communication – The vital component of any decent human interaction. Communication in selling should mostly be about listening on the part of the salesperson with a few well-placed questions. Selling is not telling.
  2. Problem solving – most business is about selling a solution to solve a problem and salespeople should successfully communicate the businesses ability to do this.
  3. Persuasion – the ability to influence others and achieve outcomes through others is critical
  4. Decision-making – Persuasion and decision-making are two different sides of the same coin. Persuasion is a form of communication that allows the buyer to make decisions confidently. When we try to persuade someone, it is normally because that person is trying to decide something. If we can present the right content in the right way for the personality type we are trying to persuade, wouldn’t we increase the chances that the decision will be favorable for the customer and our business?

For more than 20 years I have attended dozens of sales courses all over the world with some of the best authorities on the subject. I have practiced and put to use many of their approaches but none of them clearly recommended using proven type theory like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) in selling.

The closest they seemed to get was briefly speaking about mirroring the buyer or being a chameleon… I am yet to meet a sales person who can do these two things without looking inauthentic.

What if your business development team used the MBTI tool to:

  1. Communicate using the buyer’s communication preference.
  2. Problem-solve using the buyer’s preferred function pair.
  3. Persuade using the buyer’s preference for content and using it appropriately.
  4. Facilitate a decision using the buyer’s preferred dominant function.

If you were trying to sell something to a valuable customer would it not make sense to deal with them in a way that plays to their personality preferences? Would that not make your business easy to work with from the client’s perspective?

In a little while I will post another blog that explores this idea a little further.

Alf is presenting a free afternoon seminar on the MBTI tool on Thursday 25 September 2014. At this seminar, Alf will give you an insight into your own personality type, how this instrument strengthens teams, develops leaders and gives organisations all around the world a competitive advantage. Find out more and register here.