Today we launch a multi-part series covering the importance of understanding personality types in selling. Our source material for this series is one of the best books about selling that most people have never heard of: Versatile Selling, published by Wilson Learning Library.
As the authors say early on in the book:
“Versatile selling is tied to communication and connection because sales don’t happen without trust and confidence between buyer and seller.”
THE COMFORT ZONE
Many real estate sellers often feel “uncomfortable” during some phase of the selling process. This might be especially true for those who try their hand at phone prospecting where there is a significant chance of rejection.
But here’s the thing these sellers might not be aware of: success in sales is related to making your customers comfortable. In other words, you might experience uncomfortable in the sales process, but persevere anyway using your available tools, such as Espresso Agent. And through your discomfort and perseverance you gradually build rapport and trust with your prospect, you know you’re on the right path.
This is where understanding personality traits and styles becomes so essential for success in real estate sales. Because such understanding teaches you to become more versatile in your sales approach. And, at times, being versatile and successful in sales will require you to take on some degree of discomfort in order to MEET YOUR CUSTOMER’S NEEDS!
TENSION IN SELLING
There are two types of tension that exist in EVERY sales situation:
- Relationship tension: At the outset of any selling situation, the seller is likely working with a prospect who is wary or does not trust the seller. This is absolutely natural because there is not a personal connection in this phase.
- Task tension: Your prospect has something to accomplish; in our world, this means selling a house. There might be tremendous urgency to sell depending on the circumstances, such as a job transfer.
Considering these scenarios, the challenge for every seller is to move a prospect away from relationship tension as quickly as possible in order to focus on the task at hand. This means building rapport and trust. But you always need to be conscious of the relationship so that tension doesn’t creep back in. If relationship tension resurfaces, perhaps through anger or frustration, it might incite a “fight or flight” response from your customer.
TWO DIMENSIONS OF INTERACTION
So, to be a successful, versatile real estate agent, you have to fully understand what causes relationship tension and master how to modify your approach based on knowing your customer.
How do you get to “know” your customer? It’s likely that you won’t become intimate enough to know how they feel or think. Which means, you’ll have to interpret what they need and want based on observable behaviors. In this regard, there are TWO types of interaction that help us to begin building a profile of our prospective customers.
Here is how the authors define assertiveness:
“The way in which a person is perceived as attempting to influence the thoughts and actions of others.”
Assertive types exist on a continuum. On one end are “Ask-Directed” assertive types who take a subtle and indirect path to how they try to influence others. Here are a few of the cues that identify ask-directed types:
- Speak deliberately and pause frequently
- They rarely interrupt others
- Don’t tend to use voice inflections for emphasis (measured)
- Use conditional statements
- Lean back when sitting
On the other end of the continuum are “Tell-Directed” types, who tend to be more forward and demonstrative, cues including:
- Speak with firmness, and quickly
- Prone to interrupt others
- Use voice inflections for emphasis
- Rely on declarative statements
- When sitting, lean forward
Research suggests that nobody on this assertiveness continuum has a distinct edge on anybody else. However, in some situations, more aggressive levels of assertiveness can be effective. But as the seller, you have to know how to identify such behavior and modify your approach accordingly.
On the flip side of the interaction model is responsiveness, defined as:
“The way in which a person is perceived as expressing feelings when relating to others.”
As with assertiveness, there is a continuum for those who fit the responsiveness type. On one end are those defined by “Task-Directed” responsiveness, who tend to be more reserved in expressing their emotions, preferring to focus on the task at hand. Their observable behaviors often include:
- Discuss facts and tasks
- Keeps body gestures to a minimum
- Display limited range of personal feelings toward other people
- Show limited facial expressions
At the other end of the responsiveness continuum are the “People-Directed” types who are share their feelings openly and are focused on relationship building. Their behaviors and body cues include:
- Talk freely about relationships
- Tend to be quite expressive in their body gestures
- Display a broad range of personal feelings toward other people
- Show a wide range of facial expressions during conversations
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
The grid below encapsulates these various interaction types into four, distinct personality types:
- ANALYTICS (upper left): task-directed, ask-directed
- DRIVERS (upper right): tell-directed, task-directed
- AMIABLES (lower left): ask-directed, people-directed
- EXPRESSIVES (lower right): tell-directed, people-directed
In upcoming posts, we will begin to dive into each of these SOCIAL STYLES, and how understanding each of them can be a game-changer in your real estate career.