There are four primary selling styles. Most of us are a combination of two or more styles, but one will be predominant. However, not every style is appropriate for every situation, so it's important to be aware of your specific bent.
So what kind of seller are you? Find out with this quiz. As you read down the columns (A to D), check all the words and phrases that you feel describe you. Once complete, add up the total number in each column.
Now you should have a number in each column. Next, subtract the C total from the A total, and the D total from the B total:
A - C = _____
B - D = _____
With these numbers, plot your results on the graph below. A and C represent your y-axis. If A – C results in a positive number, plot the result on the y-axis below the (0) center, and if negative, above the (0) center. B and D represent your x-axis. If B – D results in a positive number, plot your result on the x-axis to the right of the (0) center, and if negative, on the left side of the (0) center.
Finally, match up your results with the four styles below:
The Repairman is at his or her best when solving a customer’s problem and will usually take a consultative approach to selling. They often come to sales after being an engineer, accountant, computer analyst, or other technical professional. They are most comfortable when dealing with people with similar business backgrounds and technical expertise; i.e. an accountant will be more comfortable dealing with another accountant, an engineer with an engineer, IT specialist with an IT specialist, etc. This gives them an opportunity to display their superior technical abilities and “repair” the other person’s problem.
As long as the Repairman is talking to another technical person, everything will be okay and a sale may result. But put the Repairman in front of a non-technical decision maker and problems quickly arise. The two people end up speaking different languages, often resulting in the propsect saying, “No sale.”
These people are ideal for technical and consultative selling and prefer taking a soft-sell approach. They usually see no real reason for socializing with their customers because they feel what they’re selling should be bought on its merit alone and not because someone likes you.
When it comes to sales techniques, the Repairman methodically focuses on each detail necessary to complete the sale. As a rule, the Repairman isn’t comfortable selling without knowing everything about his product or not having every piece of literature and supporting information close at hand. They want to make the “perfect presentation.” While this approach can be effective in a technical sales situation, the focus on perfection can reduce the number of resulting sales presentations and sales.
On the down side, Repairmen can be picky, somewhat serious, and overly detail-oriented. When selling, they can get bogged down in detail and will often tell the customer much more than the customer wants to know. The Repairman who learns to farm or hunt can be successful in sales.
If you are an Analytical Repairman, here are some things you can do to easily adjust your personality style:
• Be more outgoing. • Share ideas and information with others. • Look for the positive in ideas. • Avoid giving too much detail. • Display sincere interest in others.
Shopkeepers have a pleasant personality and delight in helping people. Shopkeepers are not inclined to uncover needs but if the prospect knows what he wants, the Shopkeeper can find it for him. These people like to be of service and helping others is their strong suit. They’re more comfortable doing inside sales and can often be found in retail sales or inbound telemarketing.
Prospects would describe these sellers as warm, friendly, and service-oriented. They are often introverts and can be very sensitive -- sometimes overly so -- to what the customer says or does. Shopkeepers feel they must be liked and respected by their prospects and may come across as being overly friendly.
Shopkeepers are best suited for inside sales. They prefer to respond to others rather than initiate first contact, which makes cold calling difficult for them. When it comes to sales techniques, the Shopkeeper does not like to be perceived as pushy or aggressive and would prefer to make friends with customers than jeopardize the relationship by assertively closing the sale. As a rule, Shopkeepers don’t make a sale -- they wait for the customer to buy.
Shopkeepers are at their best in a team selling or customer service role. They will bend over backwards to help others but may give away too much if they’re not careful. They like to be liked and are very careful to not offend others. On the down side, because Shopkeepers have a more passive approach to selling and want to establish a relationship before attempting to sell, some sales never get started. Shopkeepers who learn to farm can be successful in sales.
If you are an Amiable Shopkeeper, here are some things you can do to easily adjust your personality style:
• Speed up your pace of speaking. • Let people know what you want. • Don’t become overly friendly. • Talk less. • Get involved and take control.
Hunters thrive on seeking out new opportunities and opening doors. Their eyes and minds are always on the horizon looking for the next kill. As a result, even in good times, they’ll miss opportunities lying at their feet. They often leave a trail of half-alive opportunities in their wake. Having said that, they’re good people to have around when the sales funnel is empty.
Hunters are likely to be self-assured, aggressive, highly focused, driven, and are usually considered to be “heavy-hitters.” However, they're so focused on their own needs or agenda that they become oblivious to their prospect’s needs.
When times are tight and sales opportunities are sparse, the Hunter will forge into new sales territories and find new prospects. Unfortunately, many of these opportunities may be of questionable quality because the Hunter's thrust is quantity, not quality. Hunters need the freedom to hunt indiscriminately and bring in anything they can find.
Hunters need to work with their sales managers to jointly determine which opportunities should be pursued and which should be given a decent burial. Salespeople in general loathe paperwork, but Hunters do even more so than most. For this reason, they often fail to keep detailed records. While they’re usually on top of their opportunities, their sales managers and others are left in the dark.
In good times, Hunters should harness their drive and energy so they farm their accounts and opportunities rather than constantly seeking out new prey. When it comes to sales techniques, the Hunter isn’t particularly creative and prefers a planned, proven, and direct approach to getting the business. They are decisive, bold, and blunt in their efforts to close a sale. On the down side, Hunters can be assertive to the point of aggressiveness and can come across as pushy. The Hunter who learns to farm can be very successful in sales.
If you are a Driven Hunter, here are some things you can do to easily adjust your personality style:
• Slow down with people who speak slowly. • Make an effort to listen to others' ideas. • Be careful not to dominate. • Allow others to have some control. • Show more patience.
Farmers are good at technical, team, relationship, and consultative selling. They’re the master of the smooth/soft sell and are not afraid to ask for the business. They are outgoing, enthusiastic people who like to dream and get others caught up in the dream.
Farmers often go out of their way to help customers because they believe in the value of maintaining relationships. They sell intuitively with an emphasis on social interaction and a focus on having a good time.
Farmers thrive on nurturing and maintaining accounts or opportunities. Once given a sales lead, these sellers spring into action, make contacts, burrow their way into the account, and work it. They are at their best when times are good and the sales ground is fertile.
When times are tough and there aren't real opportunities to work on, Farmers tend to stand around, complaining about the sales drought and wishing for better weather. Unlike the Hunter, Farmers are not galvanized into action by a sales slump. They are more inclined to hunker down and tough it out rather than go out and make something happen.
Getting these people out of their barns is a challenge. They’d rather write letters, service marginal accounts, and make plans than start something new. When it comes to sales techniques, Farmers take a very creative approach to speaking and writing in their attempts to persuade the customer to buy. They make creative, dynamic presentations. On the down side, Farmers can be excitable, impatient, and superficial. They need to make sure to listen to what their prospects really want before they start selling.
If you are an Expressive Farmer, here are some things you can do to easily adjust your personality style:
• Be careful not to talk too much, and listen more. • Adjust your pace to the other person’s. • Be less social. • Look before you leap; check details. • Stay focused.
What was your result? Tweet it out, or share in the comments.
Originally published Mar 2, 2015 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017