The best sales are the ones that know the color of your customer

This month’s theme is “Know Your Clients.” Why is this important in selling? Truthfully, you could go through your sales process with one person and they’d be perfectly comfortable, you’d make a great deal, with win-win results, but the very same process may make another person uncomfortable and they’d close off and consider you incompetent to meet their needs. ‘Personality-based selling’ has become a large avenue of sales for this very reason.

I will herein lay the basic foundation of personality-based selling for the 4 personality types, and give a few details on recognizing and tailoring your approach and process to your customer, be they Lamb, Owl, Tiger, or Bull.

You may be more familiar with the color personality divisions – White/Lamb, Blue/Owl, Yellow/Tiger, Red/Bull.


More information about Color in Business.

Recognizing a customer’s dominant personality type is not intended for stereotyping but for organizing and executing effective systematic approaches. You actually do your customer a huge favor when you sell to their dominant personality. Since we all make decisions based on emotion, the key to personality-based selling is to get the customer to FEEL what you want them to feel – they are appreciated, understood, and being given a good deal for a good service/product.

A quick note on the psychology of the 4 types – Everyone has some of each type in them. It is the dominant personality to which you should tailor your process. Sometimes you should purposefully include methods for the secondary personality. Nothing works all the time every time, but I am giving you the training that in my experience provides the best statistical likelihood for success.

Lambs are non-confrontational, they like to be led, they prefer being shown the answers by someone authoritative. They are typically in positions such as librarian, secretary, and assistant. They typically have well-manicured yards, homes, and drive simple common vehicles that aren’t flashy, like a Corolla or a Buick. They are often married to Bulls. Lambs do not like making decisions, or being put under pressure. They don’t like too many details for it makes the decision seem too large. Their typical focus is comfort/security – am I being taken care of?

Words to use with lambs: “I’m going to take great care of you.” “I’m not going to let that happen to you.” “This will be the best way.”

Words not to use with lambs: “Which would you prefer?” “What do you think?” “Maybe this will help.”

Owls are analytical, they like to strive for the ‘logical’ course of action (though we all know we make decisions – especially buying decisions – out of emotion and THEN justify them logically). They prefer feeling they know all the facts. They are typically in positions such as accountant, engineer, computer programmer, teacher. They typically drive efficient vehicles like a Prius or Honda Accord. They can be a hard sale if you don’t learn how to get through their ultimate cop-out “I want to think about it.” Their typical focus is detail/price – is this a good deal?

Words to use with owls: “Do the math – you’ll see that this is correct.” “You’re a smart man – which would you prefer?” “Does that make sense?” “As you can see you’re getting the best price for the best product.” “Would you prefer package A or package B?”

Words not to use with owls: “You don’t need to know that.” “How do you feel about that?” “This may be the best choice.”

Bulls are headstrong, assertive, they don’t mind confrontation. They are not going to show much fear or doubt. They want to be right, and they want to be respected. They are typically in positions such as coach, manager, physical trainer, and police officer. They typically drive strong loud vehicles like diesel trucks or muscle cars. Their typical focus is on being right and on being helpful to those in need.

Words to use with bulls: “I need your help!” “Listen boss, if you do this for me, I’ll make sure you have the best.” “You’re absolutely right.”

Words not to use with bulls: “I disagree.” “Let me help you.” “This is what you need.”

Tigers are spontaneous, flashy, and they love a great time. They have short attention spans. They love high-tech and new things that will get them noticed by their neighbors and friends. They don’t typically care too much about price. If they like you and you do a half-decent job they will buy from you. (A half-decent job in a tiger’s eyes is a fun, quick, simple, exciting sales process.) They are typically in positions such as retail sales, IT, and really anything they find highly enjoyable. They often drive flashy cars with shiny wheels and unique noticeable features and colors. Their focus is on having a good time.

Words to use with tigers: “You’ll love it!” “It’s the newest and the hottest.” “This technology is unmatched.” “You’ll have the best in the neighborhood.”

Words not to use with tigers: “The device has been statistically proven to…” “I need you to make sure you never forget to…” “I’m supposed to show you the comprehensive details of the analysis.”

I regret that this is merely a teaser article – for there is so much more to the 4 personalities! But this is a foundation. Consider – “how would I adjust my current sales process to meet my customer’s personality-based needs?” It takes practice, but keep these basics in mind and you’ll soon notice the dominant personality types of those in your circle of influence and interaction. Try a few of these techniques. Stay tuned for further in-depth training on the 4 personality types. It’s quite fun to see how well people respond when they feel appreciated, understood, and are given a personally tailored process.