Columnists Brian Barfield The four basic customer types

The four basic customer types

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Over the years we have been trained to understand the four basic personality types. Some use animals such as lions, monkeys, giraffes and turtles; others use Dominant, Expressive, Amiable and Analytical. These training methods have been very effective in understanding your customers and teaching you how to meet their needs. However, times have changed and with it so has the world around us. What we find is that the pressures of the modern day world can often alter many of our customers’ personality types. No one ever seems to be the same at all times. Without a clear understanding of this we find ourselves failing to meet our customers’ needs by using basic personality training. It only takes one bad experience to lose a customer for life.

What the modern day sales associate needs is a new road map to find greater success. It all starts with building on the foundation that has been laid with the four personality type training. Greatness is achieved when you take what is successful and make it even better. Can you imagine using a television that is 20 years old? In it’s day it was state of the art, but as time changed so did technology. Now we have the modern day flat screen television with hi def and surround sound. The difference is amazing! That is exactly what I have created to help the modern day sales associate meet every customer’s needs however they arrive in your store.

What I have discovered is that all customers fit into four basic customer types no matter what their personality type is. They are: Simple Minded, Demanding, Analytical and Guarded. Every customer who enters your store will fall into one of these four customer types. Learning how to sell each customer will allow you to achieve the ultimate goal of building a large and loyal customer base.

Let’s examine each customer type and how to meet their needs better. Keep in mind that there is a deeper understanding of each customer type. For the sake of this article I will share with you some basics.

Let’s start with the Demanding Customer. These are often the most feared by sales associates. They can range from high maintenance time consumers to pushy and confrontational. Notice the different personality types - yet both can be categorized in the demanding customer field. There are many ways to handle such a customer. However, there are two weapons that you can use that will work every time. Kill them with kindness and compliments. It is very hard for someone to be demanding when they are being treated well and feel respected. Another beneficial way to sell a demanding customer is to keep things simple. Make your answers precise and to the point and then move on. When the salesperson speaks, too much time is wasted and opportunities for discussion to take place are limited. Try these simple steps and you will see these customers are not to be feared as they become a life long customer.

The next customer type we will examine is the Analytical. This customer can range from a customer needing information to skilled geniuses who like to play a mental game of chess with you. The best way to sell this customer is to know your product well and sell with confidence. Any sign of weakness or uncertainty can lead to a lengthy sales process. Be sure you make good eye contact and stay focused while engaging these customers. Most importantly make sure you speak to them on whatever level they are at. You would certainly sell an educated customer much differently than an uneducated customer. Try putting yourself in their shoes. If you knew very little about cars, how would you feel going to get your car fixed? Pretty vulnerable, unless you had someone who took the time to explain in detail what exactly was going on.

Now we turn our attention to the Guarded Customer. This customer is the famous “I’m just looking” customer. For a variety of reasons these customers have an invisible wall up and you must earn their trust before they will open up the gate door for you. Trying to scale their walls without permission or tricking them can be disastrous. This customer must feel that you are being 100% honest and have their best interest in mind. You do this by serving them rather than selling them. Create an obligation of trust by offering free ring cleaning or a service that is beneficial to them. It could be as simple as offering a cold beverage or coffee. You will be amazed at how quickly these customers will open up to you.

Finally there is the Simple Minded Customer. This is the customer that is familiar with you and trusts you completely. Your goal with every customer you serve should be to turn them into a simple minded customer. Once you have given them excellent service and a bond of trust is created, these customers offer you little resistance. They know that you care about them with the Birthday, Anniversary and Christmas cards you send them throughout the year. They become the foundation of your success year in and year out. You no longer are just a sales associate, but are now their friend.

The next time you greet a customer I challenge you to focus on these basic concepts. Make sure that every customer you sell is given the proper service to meet their needs. What you will find is a new world of success as you build your customer base with a loyalty that is unmatched. Remember that with an intense focus and desire for success, beautiful things can happen. Make sure that you take whatever is successful and build upon it with greatness.

Brian Barfield is a trainer/senior sales consultant at The Gem Collection in Tallahassee, FL. Brian has over 17 years experience in the jewelry industry. He has had 9 years management experience as a store manager and spent the last 6 years as a million dollar sales associate. Brian has taken the knowledge he has obtained and has created a modern day road map for sales associates to find a greater success. He is also in the process of finishing his first book, “Branding Yourself to Build your Customer Base.” To find out more information and training course guidelines you can reach Brian at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or via his website, www.moderndayselling.com.

 
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