Your dealership team encounters dozens of potential buyers each day. Each customer has a different style regarding how make purchases. Most salespeople make the mistake of treating every potential customer the same. In doing so, they reduce their chances of closing more sales. Our job as a professional salesperson is to quickly assess the customer and adjust our presentation based on their needs.

It’s important to understand that not all people are the same. However, all people can be categorized into four basic personality types:

  • Dominator
  • Influencer
  • Steady
  • Thinker

Dominator: Taking Control

Just as the name implies, the “dominator” customer likes control and will quickly fight any attempt to control either them or their environment. A dominator-type customer are often demanding, quick and to the point.

Their negotiation style is often, “Here is what I will offer. Take it or leave it.” For most inexperienced sales people, this type can be intimidating. However, if you understand what motivates them, they are not that difficult to sell to. The most important thing with the dominator or any of the other three customer styles is to identify them quickly. This helps start the sales process on the right foot.


Determining Style

The simplest way to determine what style you are working with is to look at their face and notice both their mouth and their eyebrow position. As you think about a person’s eyebrows, you will find that there will be four basic positions you can quickly identify: High with open eyes; low squinting, eyes tight and focused; up slightly with open eyes; or down slightly with eyes that give you a questioning look.

Once you have picked up the eyebrow movement, notice the prospect’s smile or lack of smile. Again, like the eyebrows, the smile can range from a big, ear-to- ear smile to a mouth tight, with no smile. Between those two ranges, you will find some people have a warm, friendly smile or no smile at all, but a more relaxed face. By watching the eyebrows and smile or lack of smile, you can quickly identify a prospect’s buying style.

Now, let’s go back for a moment and use some good old common sense. Think about a person with a “dominator” buying style. Do you think their eyebrows would be up or down and tight? They would be down and tight. Would they be smiling or would their mouth be tight, almost like they are preparing to fight? Their mouth would be tight with no smile.

Let’s focus on some of the unique traits of the dominator buying style. First, they are problem solvers. If they are in your showroom, they are looking to invest in a product that will help them solve their problem. As you ask them questions, they will focus on what they want and when they want it. Money will have very little to do with their decision. Keep in mind, it’s about solving a problem and solving it now. Again, it is important to remember that the dominator customer likes to be in control and is sensitive to being controlled. Let them run the show and just work to help give them what they want.

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Dominators are also not averse to risk and often are interested in new products. Don’t be afraid to show them options they didn’t ask for, but be aware that they don’t want your opinion. Remember, money is seldom a determining factor in what a dominator purchases, so give them options, help them get what they want and do it quickly.

Make sure that you don’t come across as a needy sales person, as in “I really want to make this sale with you,” or “We will do anything to make this work for you.” Dominators like people who are like themselves: strong, confident and unyielding. Don’t confuse confidence with arrogance. Be confident in the products you sell and your knowledge of them. Remember, they are in your showroom to solve a problem, not to chat. Give them options, not opinions, and let them feel as if they are in control.

Identifying the Influencer

The next customer style is the influencer. This style is very easy to work with, very easy to have conversations with and very easy to waste time with. This can become a big problem if you don’t understand how to work with them.

Influencers are very good at influencing and manipulating other people. This is not necessarily in a negative way, but with their wonderful smile and great sense of humor, they have the ability to make people want to be around them. Just as the dominator’s biggest fear is being controlled, the influencer’s biggest fear is being left out. They want to be in the middle of what is new and happening and they want people to notice and like them.

It’s always important in sales to identify quickly which style you are selling to and the easiest way to do that is by looking at facial expressions. We know that a dominator’s eyebrows are tight and down and that their mouth is very tight with no smile. The Influencer is often the exact opposite. They may walk into your showroom with a big, ear-to- ear “I am excited to be here smile.” Their eyebrows are often up high and their eyes are wide open. The upward eyebrows signify they are very open minded to ideas and suggestions.

As we think in terms of selling “needs” vs. “wants,” you will find that the influencer tends toward purchasing the “wants.” You will hear them talk about what they want, why they want it and how others they know have it. The influencer likes the show and flash of things, they want to stand out from the crowd and have people notice them.

Therefore, as you qualify them, always think about the top end with lots of accessories. Keep in mind, they are looking at what you have because of the brand. They are buying your products to have their friends notice them. If you don’t take the time to sell the appeal as a part of your sale, you are missing out on some valuable dollars.

Influencers can be difficult to sell to because they have a hard time saying “no” and they won’t say “yes” unless they are convinced that your product will help them be noticed and recognized.

Think about this for a second. If they won’t say “no,” but won’t say “yes,” where does that leave you as a salesperson? It leaves you hopeful and hopeful is a bad thing for a sales person. The last thing you want as a sales person is a prospective customer who continues to make you believe that they may do business with you.

Minimizing the Details

An influencer is a fast decision maker like the dominator. If they don’t make a quick decision to buy from you, then the probability of them buying from you is low.

Be mindful that they are often not interested in details. As you work with them, minimize that aspect of the sales process. They are “big picture” thinkers, so make sure you are focusing on that aspect of the sale. Get them excited about the experience they will have with your dealership and reinforce the fact that you are there to take care of the small stuff, so they can enjoy their investment.

Tune in for Understanding Personality Types to Increase Sales Part 2