Tak kenal maka tak sayang - Indonesian proverb
The quote above is a famous Indonesian proverb. Roughly translated, it means "If you don't know someone, you cannot care to that someone". This makes sense considering we can only build a relationship to someone if we know that person is. We need to know what their character is like, what ticks them off, what makes them happy, etc, to care for them.
The same thing applies when we are dealing with (potential) customers. We need to know their characteristic and then adjust our strategy in approaching them. There are different character test that psychologists create. But recently, I came across this test called PeopleMapSystems. In their research, they segment people into four primary styles of decision making to buy something. Knowing what personality your customer falls into will help you in finding the best way to approach them.
The Leader Type
This type of person has a natural confidence about them, is diplomatic, and approaches things with a "no nonsense" attitude. They are also assertive and visionary; meaning, if the see something that fits with their vision/needs, they'll be able to make a quick decision. When you go meet them in a sales meeting, they don't want any small talk and want to get to the matter at hand. They will take control of the meeting and will let you know what they want and needs to be done.
How to sell to them? Give this person space. Wait until they ask questions related to your products or services. I've had plenty of experience with these types of customers. The best thing to do is to make your case and get to the point. Most probably, they'll let you know immediately what they think and what they need. If you can answer them properly, you're good to go.
The Free Spirit Type
This person is adventurous, risk taker, fun loving, independent, someone who seeks change and likes to have a good time. They have little patience for boring or controlling sales routines. They like adventure, and to be in control of how and when things get done. Sales people who can only follow a script would find they have a difficult time dealing with this type of customer. So learn to let loose with this type of person.
How to sell to them? Make the sales process exciting and playful. Make sure the customer have fun during the whole sales cycle. Try to offer unique incentives to them - merely giving a discount may not entice them. Give them 6 months free membership to a cross-fit gym. Be fun around them.
The People Type
This person is friendly, considerate empathetic, expressive, non confrontational and likes peace. They like the special touch and needs to be able to connect to you as a human being - not merely as someone who is trying to sell them something.
How to sell to them? Do not be pushy with this type of people. Turn off your "hard sell" gear; instead, relate to them on a human level. They don't care about your product's features or latest update. They want to know how what you're selling is going to make their lives better and bring value to them. Make them feel that you genuinely care for them and support whatever it is you need. If you can do this well, this type of person will be a living advertisement for you.
Several of my closest clients are ones that just needs to be assured you will be there if they experience a problem. Granted, this is something that you need to provide to all of your customers. But to my particular client, that is something that is especially important. I not only help them with things related to my services, but I would find time to listen to their struggle in their own business. The result? They've given us multiple projects and referred us to their circle of networks.
The Task Type
This might be the most difficult type to sell to. They are detailed, loves structure, responsible, hard working and rule abiding. They are the opposite of the Free Spirit type.
How to sell to them? They are cautious and needs to be reassured multiple times. Trying to pressure sell to them will not go well with them as they will just shut down. Your sales team's patience will be tested with this customer still being stuck in square one and having to "think about it" after numerous conversations. They want to know the ins and outs of what you're selling; they want to know the pros and cons of your product/service. The best thing to do is to be dependable and reliable. Do what you say you're going to do. Stick with the plan and don't pressure them. In the end, your credibility and trust will win them over.
We have this one prospective client that has met with us 4x upon their request. And for the longest time, it still hasn't gotten us anywhere. It was frustrating for us but the only thing we can do is to provide what they need, and be dependable to them. Did it always pay out? Definitely not. But the alternative, of pushing them, will definitely not work.
So where does this bring us? Two things. One - identify what type of personality your customer has. Two - adjust your approach to their personality. Remember the proverb - you need to know someone to care for them. And that's all what customers want - to be cared for, according to their personality.