by Guest Blogger – Alf Foster

I have been making a case for the importance of salespeople playing to their customer’s personality preferences. You can read about this in my previous blogs – Selling using MBTI Personality Type Theory – Can This Really Work?, What is Your Buyer’s Personality Type?, and How to Increase Sales by Knowing Yourself and Your Customer.

The other day I was mucking about on the web, wandering from one site to another. It’s what I do when there is something that I should be doing but I can’t be asked given all the other more enjoyable things to do with my time. I will just make time later for the things I should be doing…This is my personality at play.

I don’t like deadlines, I don’t like to be pushed into a decision if I don’t feel I have enough information or if I want to keep my options open. What if I change my mind or something more fun comes up and I have locked myself into a decision? That’s just killing joy.

Most of all I don’t like the regrets I have when I make quick spot decisions. I do my best work when I wing it rather than plan it. This is how I like to organise my world and live my life. The Myers Briggs Personality Type Indicator calls this the Perceiving type.

Completely opposite to me is what this Indicator calls Judging – loves to plan and feels tension until a decision is made or closure on an issue is reached. Punctual and organised, they can’t relax until things are done.

One feels comfortable in a crisis (Perceiving) while the other can ensure things are orderly and completed on time (Judging). Without a balance of both preferences the world would not work.

So… I come across a link on the Internet that involves a ‘call back’ where an expert will contact you personally and trouble shoot an aspect of your business. I watch the video, like what the salesperson has to say and submit my details.

The phone rings and its the star of the video.

First come questions, then a bit of brainstorming then more questions. This salesperson has an amazing process – in fact it’s world class. The understanding needs part of the process takes an hour and passes quickly. The salesperson is really making me think about what I truly want and they know what they are talking about. TICK!

Then I endure the most unbelievable, marathon onslaught of closing techniques. I don’t hang up because they are so good and I want to hear more. However, I am not prepared to make a decision on the spot. My personality type does not prefer this.

I keep telling the seller that I am fearful to make a decision (I really am), I want to discuss it with my wife (I really do) and the decision won’t happen any other way. Plain English right?

I get the distinct impression that the salesperson is thinking that I don’t have the %$#@s to make a decision without asking my wife – who wears the pants etc.

So with an enormous amount of effort I get flexibility and leave the call without making a decision.

As agreed a day later the salesperson leaves me a voice message apologising that they did not sell enough value into their service and that is why I couldn’t reach a decision. The value proposition could have been marginally better, but everything else in the process was flawless so they would have got away with this by answering a few questions before the transaction.

They did not get away with not playing to my personality. In fact their inability to stop trying to close me turned my fear into anxiety. This is how they left $9000 on the table. It’s the only reason I will not buy from them now or in the future. So after explaining this to them this is the response I got:

“Thanks Alf. If that made you too uncomfortable then we are definitely not suited to working together because it’s all about pushing through comfort zones to create something we haven’t been capable of in the past. I appreciate you coming back to me as most would have ignored the call…”

Another attempt to close using reverse psychology…?

If I had not fought so hard for the space to make the decision it would have been almost impossible for me to say no given the quality of their service and how they sold it.

They think I left a $200k opportunity on the table and I am ok with that until I meet someone with their skill who respects how I make a decision.

Salespeople who don’t speak a language their customer understands by catering for their personality type leave a lot of cash on the table.

How does your customer prefer to communicate?
Have you given them enough of the sort of information they trust?
How do they make decisions?
When are they ready for you to ask for their business?
How much cash are you leaving on the table?