Today we finish our series on working with specific social and personality styles by focusing on the group known as “expressives.”
THE EXPRESSIVE PERSONALITY
We saved the expressive social style for last because, frankly, this is the group that can be most “enjoyable” to work with. Expressives are passionate, intuitive and creative. They are also energetic, emotional and fast-paced and won’t hesitate to take social initiative or share their insights and dreams. Most importantly, expressive can be powerful allies if you are able to convince them to believe in what you have to sell.
What are the signs that let you know you might be working with an expressive style?
- Verbal and non-verbal cues: Expressives are energetic and enthusiastic, with a tendency to have loud, fast-speaking styles and wide, open gestures.
- Work style: Similar to amiables, expressives love to work with others and place a lot of value on collaboration.
- About time: Expressives move fast, but are likely to use much of their time sharing ideas, visions and dreams.
- Accomplishment: They want to get results, but prefer to achieve those results through people.
- Attitude about others: They look at working with others as a means to an end, meaning as a pathway to achieving their dreams and visions.
- Work strengths: Expressives are all about reinforcing and motivating others.
- Personal motivator: The expressive social styles seeks to stand out in a crowd, to be seen as unique and a leader.
- Common misconceptions: It’s easy to misinterpret this style as a little flighty because they are quick with a job and don’t, on the surface, seem very focused or businesslike.
WHAT AN EXPRESSIVE EXPECTS
Once engaged in a conversation, expressives are often reluctant to give up the floor, and will not prove to be the best of listeners. It’s important to have a roadmap with regard to discussions with expressives because they have a tendency to wander off-topic, which requires you to get them back on track. All that said, when it comes to their interactions with salespeople, here are a few of the things an expressive expects:
- Focus on being open, friendly and inclusive in order to build initial rapport.
- Be patient and relaxed as expressives tend to have little regard for YOUR time.
- Expressives consider themselves as “big picture” thinkers, so when beginning an engagement with them, lead with the overall story before getting into details.
- Always remember that expressives want to work on a collaborative basis. So, for example, if working with a FSBO who happens to be an expressive, they’ll need to feel as if you are in to help them reach their goals, instead of just trying to get a sales commission.
- Be sincere. Expressives will read right through someone who is inauthentic, so it’s important for them to see the real you so they feel comfortable.
- Provide plenty of positive reinforcement. Expressives want to be acknowledged for their ideas and decisions. Again, going back to FSBOs, you might say: “I could see why you want to sell on your own. I’m sure you’ll be successful.”
ADAPTING TO THE EXPRESSIVE STYLE
Once you’ve identified an expressive, here are a few tips on how you can adapt your selling approach for maximum effect:
- Verbalize how you feel about things. Expressives will appreciate your honest reactions and feedback.
- Be complimentary, but as long as it’s honest. If you’re on a tour of a prospect’s home, point out those aspects that you think are truly notable.
- Invest the necessary time to build a relationship. Remember, expressives value human, personal interaction, so it’s important that they see who you are. Help them to feel that you are loyal to helping them reach their goals and dreams.
- Master the art of small talk. Whereas a driver has little patience for small talk, an expressive welcomes such basic social interaction. Don’t worry about taking the conversation beyond business, into the personal.
Expressives are the most people-directed of all the social styles. But you need to be patient in building rapport and focus on big-picture thinking in order to gain their confidence and trust.
The principles outlined in this post and our entire series on versatile selling are culled from the book “Versatile Selling” by Wilson Learning Library.