Selling isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition because no two people are exactly alike. You must understand who you’re trying to influence and how to get them to say “yes”. In other words, if you want to close more deals, you need to learn how to persuade different personalities.
When it comes to persuasion, Aristotle defined it best when he told the world that persuasion is “getting someone to do something they wouldn’t ordinarily do if you didn’t ask.” It really comes down to the ask. How you communicate can make all the difference between yes and no.
And why is this so important in sales? Because persuasion is the foundation of selling, according to author Brian Tracy. “Selling is the process of persuading a person that your product or service is of more value to him or her than the price you’re asking for it,” Tracy says.
Understanding persuasion makes it easier to build rapport, overcome objections and ultimately close the sale. And, the tighter you tie all of this to different buying styles, the easier it becomes to seal the deal. Before we dive into that, let’s take a quick look at the principles of influence you’ll be encouraged to use with each personality type.
6 Principles of Influence
These psychological principles have been observed and researched by social psychologists for more than seven decades. They’re proven to help you hear “yes” because they tap into how people typically think and behave. Here’s a brief description of each with some easy-to-implement ideas:
- Reciprocity. We feel obligated to give back to those who give to us first. Look to give something that will truly benefit your customer. It can be as simple as remembering key dates, such as anniversaries and birthdays, or sharing information you know will be relevant and helpful. This is a door opener because, quite often, the response is: “Thanks for sharing that. Let me know if there’s anything I can do for you.”
- Liking. It’s natural for us to say “yes” to those we know and like. Rather than trying to get someone to like you, focus on liking them by talking about what you have in common and giving genuine compliments when warranted. It will make you think more highly of the other person, which causes you to like them, and cause them to like you in return. Business is just better when we like the people we work with and the clients we serve.
- Social proof. We look to others to see how we should behave in certain situations. If you can demonstrate how your current clients are similar to your prospective clients, the more likely the prospect is to follow their lead. If all your homeowners clients have an umbrella policy, make sure to mention that. Or, if all of your grocery store owners have mechanical breakdown coverage, mention that to your prospective grocery store clients. After all, following the crowd often works out well.
- Authority. When making decisions, we look to those with superior wisdom and expertise. Having a third party introduce you to a prospect is a great way to showcase your expertise. That third party can say things about you that if you said to them, might come across as bragging. Share a couple of paragraphs with the person you’re asking to make the introduction to save them time and ensure your expertise is highlighted in the best way possible.
- Consistency. We feel internal psychology pressure and external social pressure to be consistent in what we say and do. The big mistake people make here is telling people what to do rather than asking. Don’t say, “Pat, I need you to get me your loss runs by Friday.” Instead ask, “Pat, can you get me your loss runs by Friday?” When Pat answers yes to your question, your odds of getting those loss runs just went way up. Why? Pat doesn’t want to let herself down and she doesn’t want you to think less of her.
- Scarcity. We value things more when we believe they’re rare or going away. Framing what you propose in terms of what someone will lose rather than gain makes a huge difference. For example, “Trying telematics might save you up to 40% on your car insurance,” will not be nearly as effective as, “You might be overpaying by as much as 40% because you’re not using telematics.” If we don’t save, we don’t feel worse off. But if we think we’re overpaying, that stings and causes people to take action.
DEAL-in with Personality Types
When it comes to personality types, keep it simple in order to make the approach useful. I encourage people to use the DEAL approach because you deal with people and hope to close deals. The DEAL approach puts people into the following categories: Drivers, Expressives, Amiables and Logicals. Let’s take a quick look at each:
Drivers are individuals who are task-oriented and like to be in control of situations. Words that describe these folks include action-oriented, problem solvers, focused, motivated and results driven. Steve Jobs and Hillary Clinton are considered driver personalities.
Expressives are relationship-focused and like to control the situations they find themselves in. Confident, charming, dramatic, energetic and outgoing describe expressive people. Oprah Winfrey and Tony Robbins exemplify this personality type.
Amiables are also relationship-oriented, but they’re more about self-control than controlling others or situations. Think patient, loyal, easy-going, dependable and trusting with these folks. Jimmy Carter and Barbara Bush typify amiables.
Logical types are task-oriented individuals who are focused on self-control. Controlled, precise, cautious, disciplined and deliberate could all be used to describe logicals. Albert Einstein and Bill Gates fall into this category.
The big question is: how does influence intersect with these different personalities?
Influencing the Driver
Imagine you had five minutes with a driver personality, such as Steve Jobs or Hillary Clinton. The principles of influence that would be most effective would be consistency, authority and scarcity.
Talking about what the person has said or done in the past would make it easier for him or her to say yes. After all, people rarely argue against themselves. Appealing to an expert’s authority is a sure way to get a driver on board. The more noted and respect the exert is, the more likely the driver will follow their advice. Finally, what will the driver lose by not acting on your offer? Opportunities are a dime a dozen for drivers but the thought of losing is tough for them to swallow.
Influencing the Expressive
If you had time with expressives like Oprah Winfrey or Tony Robbins, your best approach would be tapping into reciprocity, social proof and liking.
People of this type are connectors, understand the value of trading favors and helping people to build their networks. Do something that genuinely helps them, and they’re likely to return the favor. Many in the category are entertainers and politicians. As such, they’re concerned with what others are doing and trends. Bring those trends into your conversation and you’ll catch their attention.
Have you ever noticed how many expressives care about you and your story? Connect with them on what you have in common and you’ll start forging a relationship which might help you hear “yes” whenever you ask.
Influence the Amiable
Let’s suppose you’re going to meet with Jimmy Carter or Barbara Bush, both amiables. Authority, social proof and liking are your best bets.
The more you weave expert analysis or data into your conversation, the more likely they are to go along with the recommendation. And speaking of going along, talk about what everyone else is doing because amiables are easy going and tend to go with the flow. If everyone else is doing it, then it’s probably the right thing to do. Of course, these people are relationship-oriented, so tapping into what you have in common and offering genuine compliments are a sure-fire way to build a relationship.
Influencing the Logical
Finally, to influence logicals like Albert Einstein or Bill Gates, focus on the principles of reciprocity, consistency and authority.
By nature, logicals are rule-oriented. Because of this, they’ve learned the rule that you don’t take without giving in return. Offer genuine help or value and they’re likely to return the favor. Logical people are deep thinkers, so once they’ve come to a conclusion, they believe they are right. If you show that what you’re asking aligns with their beliefs, values or actions, they’re much more likely to go along.
Logical thinkers want to see proof. Appealing to what everyone else is doing or what you believe will not do anything to persuade them unless you can back it up with data.
While each of the principles of influence impact all of us to some degree, appealing to the principles laid out for each personality will give you the most bang for the buck. If you want to close more deals, pay close attention to the personality type you’re interacting with and change your communication approach to incorporate the most applicable psychology. Do so and you will hear “yes” more often.
Article By: Brian Ahearn