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Personalities and sales
An insight from Chris Murray's sales training that could help you tweak your sales technique.
A while back I attended a workshop held by Chris Murray - the founder and managing director of Varda Kreuz and an amazing sales mentor. He’s got a website and LinkedIn page if you’d like to find out more about him.
On that day, Chris held a training on how to sell with EASE (an acronym of his that stands Earning the right, Asking the appropriate questions, Solving the problem and Executing the solution). A lot was learnt but one thing stood out the most to me that I have applied to my sales tactics the most. Perhaps, you might find it useful too.
It’s minding who you talk to and adjusting your pitch based on their personality type to have as much impact as you possibly can.
According to Chris, there are four colors and four animals:
- Yellow Monkey
- Green Dolphin
- Red Lion
- Blue Elephant
Each of these has a particular characteristic and ways of how they like to be presented information to or even the attitude that you need to adopt so that these people listen to what you have to say. In this case, the animal is more important than the color.
Yellow Monkey is your typical salesperson. Yellow Monkeys are expressive, extravagant and talkative. Generally, they like to be in the spotlight. If you are selling to this type, they want to know how it will enhance their status and change things for the better. The attitude they prefer is informal and dramatic.
Green Dolphins are gentle, friendly and agreeable people. Oftentimes, you finds these to be teachers. As a sensitive kind, what matter to them is to know how what you sell will affect them and other people. They want to avoid arguments. Warm and friendly communication is the way to win their attention and heart.
Red Lion is straight to the point. They are drivers, your usual entrepreneurs. They know what they want and don’t like beating around the bush. They want to save time so they can get things done. Bottom line matters to them a lot. Be terse and to the point so you don’t waste their time.
Elephants like their details. Their mind is analytical. They are the ones who read the small print in contracts. Oftentimes, they have job roles such as accountant, surgeon. They don’t mind being told all the detail. They want to know how things work so they can save themselves a potential embarrassment. Be detailed but precised with an Elephant.
You see, this might be something you have already known about just called different names (ie Analyst, Diplomat, Sentinel, Explorer; or the 4 temperaments - sanguine, choleric, melancholic, phlegmatic). They are all more or less similar but what Chris has done is that he has adopted that to the sales setting where we come across these personalities daily and we need to know how to address them so that we hit our bottom line.
However, there is one, we could say potential misconception, to avoid. It stems from a question I had during the training.
“So once we know the personality, do we just mirror the person then?”
I’m sure you’ve heard of mirroring so I won’t go into too much detail here. Basically, mirroring is that you imitate the other person’s gestures, speech patterns, etc. Chris’s answer to my question was:
“No. Not really.”
Figuring out whether you’re talking to a dolphin or a lion, doesn’t mean that you will then adopt either slow and relaxed pace, or fast and decisive pace. You merely adapt to it. If you are not a lion yourself, do not force yourself into mirroring a lion. It will become unnatural and the flow of your pitch might become erratic. Instead, in the moment as you adapt, you pick the information you need to deliver and the manner in which you deliver it. For example, with our product, it would go like this - identify peronality, identify what’s important for them, give relevant information:
- - Monkey = status enhancement = produce more leads for the team (be the hero in the office)
- - Dolphin = effect on them and others = save time, achieve more
- - Lion = bottom line = more sales
- - Elephant = details = ins and outs of the system
These relevant pieces of information then become attention hooks so they don’t go hanging up the phone on me. Once you have their, the rest of your pitch should lead you to your desired outcome.
Last thing left to cover is the “how do I know which type I’m talking to?”. Good question. I don’t have a guideline answer for this one and I don’t think there is one. A lot can affect the first few seconds of the call when you’re determining this. Your prospect can be minutes away from a meeting, not having had morning coffee, etc. However, through trial and error, I figured out that once you have the four types in your head and you roughly know what they’re after, eventually you start picking up small hints in the first few moments of the call. Those give you an inkling about what the personality could be. If you misjudge (and it will happen as it did to me a few times), go back to default for a second, re-evaluate quickly and adjust. This process might take awhile to get used to but like with anything - the more you do it, the easier it becomes.
This personality identifying technique might not be a groundbreaking discovery for some. Yet, in my case, it helped me connect with my prospects quicker which, in telesales, having only few seconds to make primary impact, that connection is invaluable.
Would like to know who you are? Feel free to use the graph below. Circle the most corresponding number on each axis. There is no number 5 because no one is bang on in the middle. Then run a vertical line through your number on the x-axis and horizontal line through the number on your y-axis. See where they cross and which color quadrant they fall into. That will tell you which animal you are. Good luck and enjoy!