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Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® and Selling

by Olufisayo
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Successful salespeople and innovators, from Dale Carnegie to Mary Kay Ash to Jeff Bezos, have known for decades that the key to closing sales is to know your customer. How you approach a customer can make or break a deal in a matter of minutes, and there are rarely second chances.

Believe it or not, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) framework can be a valuable tool for helping salespeople quickly assess their customers’ preferences so they can close more and higher-value sales. Let’s take a look at how.

First and foremost, The MBTI® reminds us that customers are different. It is a trite observation, but an essential one. A salesperson who is able to approach each customer as an individual, hear their needs, and “speak their language” will be far more successful than one that tries to treat everyone the same way.

Just as importantly, keeping TheMBTI® in front of their minds helps salespeople remember that their own personality will influence how they approach customers.

For example, salespeople tend to be extraverted and naturally initiate small talk, but they might lose sales if they try this with Introverted customers who are more interested in the details of the product or service being offered.

The big question is: how do you get a sense of type in a sales context? Obviously, you’re not going to hand your customers an MBTI® instrument before getting down to business.

The keys are self-reflection, observation, and practice.

Self-Reflection: Start by thinking about your own preferences and personality type. Do you prefer to bounce ideas off others or think things through quietly?

When making a decision, do you pay attention to details, practicalities or do you need the big picture? Do you value logical implications or how an outcome might affect others? Are you generally more organized or spontaneous?

Observation: Now, think about how these preferences manifest during each stage of the sales process: (1) Initiating the relationship, (2) Investigating customers’ needs, (3) Suggesting a course of action, or (4) Obtaining an agreement and closing.

What specific things do you do that are successful, and when are those habits unsuccessful? For example, you might notice that most customers like having multiple options to consider, but that some customers like you to “be the expert” and give specific answers to questions.

Practice: If you practice using the type framework to know your customers, you will become more aware of their behavioral cues so you can match your selling behaviors to their preferences.

For example, if you notice that a customer is interested in objective facts and figures, then you can adapt your selling strategy to meet those needs and spend less time on the human element.

Similarly, if they seem to prefer “thinking out loud”, then you can be a sounding board for their ideas. And, if they want to pause and reflect, you can give them the space to do that too.

If you practice adapting your sales strategy to your customers’ personality and preferences, you could find yourself closing more sales and building longer-lasting professional relationships than ever.

Introduction To Type and Selling. Brock, S. CPP, 1994

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