Want to Increase Sales? Understand client/customer styles.


5 min read

Do you know how often your sales or people turn customers off?

Do they know?

How to Understand and Approach the 4 Main Buyer Styles.


Have you ever been turned off by a sales person?

Learning and Applying Behavioural Intelligence to understand the 4 main buyer styles helps increase sales.

As  C.P.B.A.s (Certified Professional Behavioural Analysts) we’ve worked with enough C-suite Leaders, Sales Teams, Administrators, Professional Service firms and even  U.S.Marine Command, in the application of Behavioural Science to observe its importance and ROI yet its not hard to find examples of  “sales fails”

Even with the growth of online marketing and AI (Artificial Intelligence) good sales professionals (a.k.a -Account Executives, Sales Development  Reps, Customer Acquisition Specialists, Sccount Managers etc) are always in demand (and their skills amplified with technology). With that said, can you recall an experience where you were “turned off” a product or service because of the behaviour of a sales person?

Do you know how often your sales people turn customers off? 

Do you think they did that intentionally? It is likely unintentional to offend a potential customer/client since their compensation is (often) based on establishing a successful relationship with you. (I once walked out of a car dealership resolving to change a car brand after I had over 12 yrs ,3 different vehicles with them. The previous sales manager I dealt with, Gord, was no longer there and the new guy was an awful listener and more like a vacation  time share salesman at month end)

Studies indicate that clients/customers change suppliers of a product or service mainly due to the dissatisfaction of the human interactions as opposed to the product itself.  Essentially, the behaviour of a sales professional has an enormous amount of influence on the client or customer’s decision to continue or to conclude a relationship. Studies validated that: 

  • People tend to feel comfortable with and buy from sales professionals that display behavioural styles similar to their own
  • Sales professionals  tend to sell more effectively to people with behavioural styles similar to their own and
  • If salespeople adapt their behavioural style to that of the client/customer, their sales increase.

In short a behavioural style clash can result in a sales crash.

Most traditional sales development/learning focuses on following up on target marketing, identifying and understanding needs, building trust, qualifying, handling objections, closing skills etc.. Though these sales competencies are important, (whether it be in Financial Services, Real Estate or Professional Services or B2B etc) the way in which a sales professional can deploy them uniquely matched to a customer largely determines their effectiveness.

The ability to understand and adapt behaviour to that of a client/customer is a critical success factor in building influential trust that dictates whether a prospective client/customer will openly communicate their criteria/needs for purchasing.

The 4 DISC Buyer Styles

There are a variety of  4 quadrant behavioural profiling systems like DISC  available to assist you in becoming aware of your behavioural style as well as others. (Full Disclosure- we use a special integrated pyschometric instrument with Motivators and  DISC highly validated by TTI. Sales Leaders see below for how you can receive a complimentary profile)

Disc Model - 4 Quadrant Behaviours


The D (Dominance) Style

Tends to be : extroverted, fast paced, strong direct personality style, task focused, direct communicators and comfortable with calculated risk aligned with their goals.

Best Approach: 

  • Be prepared, brief and on point
  • Focus on alignment of  product/service benefits (with their objectives)
  • Listen then maintain a fast pace response
  • Be direct with responses staying on track.
  • Maintain eye contact, strong tonality and handshake

The I (Influence Style)

Tends to be: outgoing, fast paced, extroverted, creative, conversational and people oriented.

Best Approach: 

  • Use a friendly approach with engaging tonality (vs montone)
  • Listen to their ideas and goals
  • Use references from people they know or admire in similar purchasing situations
  • Focus on big picture benefits for them (or their organization if B2B)
  • Don`t dwell on details

The S (Steady) style

Tends to be: relaxed, introverted, people oriented, reserved, good listener, indirect communicator and low risk.

Best Approach:

  • Use a sincere, friendly and calm approach.
  • Listen patiently without interrupting.
  • Don’t pressure to make a decision immediately. (sometimes it is better to send them information in advance or follow up later, allowing them time to review)
  • Use a relaxed conversational pace.
  • Ideal to offer guarantees don’t over promise without fully delivering.

The C (Compliance) Style

Tend to be: analytical, detailed, task oriented, introverted,  and highly interested  in quality/accuracy of  work  vs pace.

Best Approach:

  • Use a professional, conservative and direct approach.
  • Use a measured/patient  pace allowing them to ask detailed questions.
  • Be prepared with facts and data to support your presentation points
  • Listen carefully and respond to questions with attention to details requested.

With behavioural science a sales professional can 1)  gain some self awareness of their own behavioural style, and 2) understand the different styles their clients/customers/prospects and engage them better than the competition for superior sales. They’ll reward you with more business and referrals.

PS. If you're in Sales Leadership and planning a team meeting, we'd be delighted to provide you with a complimentary profile. Just drop us a note here.

Behavioural Selling 2017 Article.pdf


XLTeamwork.com  Works with organizations to enhance Team, Sales and Leadership Effectiveness at Conferences and Meetings.


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