Everyone is different. Intuitively we understand that, but most of us don’t take the time to think about the impact those differences should have on our selling approach. When you understand the social style of your prospects, you can adjust your approach to connect with them in the way they like to be approached.
The Four Social Styles
Drivers tend to be assertive, efficient, unemotional, action-oriented, and time-conscious. They want answers quickly. They may come across as harsh or insensitive because they pay little attention to relationships. They appear to know what they want and where they are going. They seek power and control. They tell more than they ask. They need freedom and authority.
Influencers are “blue sky” dreamers. They may come across as impractical, flighty or unrealistic, but they can inspire others with their vision. They are emotional and their enthusiasm is contagious and inspiring. They are intuitive, imaginative, and creative. Influencers are looking for prestige in the eyes of their peers, and opportunities to inspire others. They need the chance to verbalize their ideas to you. They are bored by details and facts. They might say, “Don’t confuse me with the facts. I’ve already made up my mind.”
Supporters are relationship-oriented. They try to understand the personal motives and feelings of others rather than facts. They are more concerned with how the product will affect the relationships and lives of those involved than they are with its efficiency or profitability. They are warm, friendly, inoffensive, and complimentary individuals. They are reluctant to switch existing suppliers, even if it makes good logic to do so. They like the familiar and secure and are less likely to take risks. They ask more than they tell and they tend to buy because they like and trust the salesperson.
Critical Thinkers need to be “right.” They like facts, logic and statistics. They need details, references and numbers. They are slow to act because they want to consider all the possible ramifications of a decision in advance. They are great planners but are not necessarily assertive in promoting their ideas. They tend to view things unemotionally with little concern for relationships, and may come across as cool and detached. A risky proposal will not excite a Critical Thinker in the same way it might a Driver or an Influencer. They’ll have done their research before the meeting, and will likely be as prepared for the meeting as you are. They need you to provide good quality, solid answers for their questions.
The very approach that builds a quick, comfortable relationship with a Supporter may completely turn off a Driver. In order to connect you’ll need a different approach with each social style.