How To Sell Based On the Personality/Buying Style of Your Customer

Your customers have a lot of choices. Whether they buy from you or buy from someone else is often based on who they trust the most — who they believe understands them and their needs and can meet them.

So, how do you instill this trust?

Does it surprise you to know that the steps you take to instill trust are different depending on the person you are selling to — their buying style?

Research suggests that the most effective salespeople are the ones who can quickly determine the personality style (and thus buying style) of their customers and can quickly adapt to that — selling to their buying style.

When your customer senses that you understand them, they will begin to trust you and will be more inclined to buy from you.

It is no secret that different customers with different personality styles have different “hot buttons” that will encourage them to buy. The job of the salesperson is to find that particular button and push it effectively.

The psychology of selling is in understanding the customer and pinpointing his/her unique motivating factor(s); then, creating a favorable environment that will stimulate him/her to purchase.

4 Steps to Selling Your Product Based On Your Customer’s Personality/Buying Style

1. Understand Your Customer’s Personality/ Buying Style

We can categorize personality styles into 4 main groups. Everyone is a unique combination of these 4 groups, but most people have a dominant tendency toward one of them.

D= Dominant/Driver Personality/ Buying Style

Only 3% of the population has a dominant personality style.

They tend to be fast-paced, to the point and decisive. They are often very competitive and confident and are drawn to change and taking risks.

We often refer to the D Personality Style as a lion or an eagle. Just picture the tendencies of a lion or an eagle when thinking about this personality style. They are the leaders, visionaries, and go-getters.


I Personality Style

I= Interacting Personality/ Buying Style (Inspiring and Influencing)

11% of the population have an interacting personality style.

They tend to be responsive, charismatic and animated. They enjoy small talk and are drawn to fun.

We often refer to the I Personality Style as a peacock or an otter. Just picture the tendencies of a peacock with its bright feathers strutting about or an otter who is fun-loving when thinking about this personality style.

They love to dream and be around people.

S Personality StyleS = Steady/Stable Personality/ Buying Style

The majority of the population, 69% have a steady personality style.

They are friendly, relaxed and agreeable. They resist change and taking risks and enjoy working in teams.

We often refer to the S Personality Style as a golden retriever or a dove. Just picture a faithful golden retriever or a peaceful dove when you think of this personality style. They are loyal, reliable and prefer the path of least resistance.


C Personality StyleC = Compliant/Correct Personality/ Buying Style

17% of the population has a compliant personality style. They are often cautious and controlled and are very task-oriented.

They focus on facts and details and like to work independently.

We often refer to the C Personality Style as an owl or a beaver. Just picture a wise owl or a beaver meticulously building a dam when you think of this personality style.

They enjoy systems and details.

2. Watch and Listen to Your Customer

All good salespeople know that the best way to connect with your customers is to watch them and listen to them. Do not just listen to respond to them, but listen to understand them, get to know them and truly connect with them.

As you do this, take note of things like:

  • how they walk into a room
  • the way they greet you (eye contact, handshake, the words they say)
  • do they ask a lot of questions or want to share personal information and stories?
  • their questions (yes or no answers or detailed accounts?)
  • the information they ask of you (do they want details, testimonials, service information)
  • how they interface with team members
  • their pace (fast-paced, calculated, slower-paced)
  • their body language (open and friendly or guarded)
  • pictures and items in their office (family member photos, sleek environment, cluttered)
  • how they dress (all black, casual, lots of colors)
  • and more

3. Determine Their Buying Style

Based on the information you gather while watching and listening, you will be able to get a good feel for their personality style.

For instance, if they walk into the room fast and confidently, greet you with a strong handshake and look you right in the eye then want to get right down to business quickly, they are likely a high D.

If they seem very pleased to see you and want to have small talk and share their own personal experiences or those of the company and seem to be genuinely enjoying the conversation, they are likely a high I.

If they are friendly and relaxed, ask a lot of questions and seem very agreeable and cooperative, then there is a good chance they are a high S.

And, if they are reserved and controlled and want to see data, explanations, and details, they are probably a high C.

Note: these are not hard and fast rules, and as I mentioned above, most people are a combination of these various styles. But it is often fairly obvious within a few minutes of interaction which style they are most dominant in and develop your action plan accordingly.

4. Develop Your Action Plan Accordingly

It is important to point out that we are not talking here about manipulating people to buy a product or putting on a false front. We are simply talking about presenting your product or service in a way they would find most attractive, based on their personality style.

Your focus is not on trying to sell more – rather you are helping buyers buy.

For instance:

Action Plan for the D Personality/ Buying Style

Remember that they want tangible results. Focus on the quality of your product and its ability to get results. You can share this information best through expert reviews. Be brief and to the point. Allow them to win and/or be correct. Keep your pace relatively fast and answer their questions decisively.

Action Plan for an I Personality/ Buying Style

Remember that they want an enjoyable experience. Keep your presentation fun and share real-life examples. Allow them to talk and let them know you understand their feelings. Give them recognition and appreciation and offer an opportunity for them to speak with your customers who have had a good experience.

Action Plan for the S Personality/ Buying Style

Remember that they want security and practicality. Be friendly and demonstrate that you are trustworthy. Focus on guarantees and return on investment. Introduce them to your customer service team so they can be assured you will take care of them. Slow your pace a bit.

Action Plan for the C Personality/ Buying Style Style

Remember that they want facts and credibility. Share the data and proven results of your product along with warrantee information. Focus on step-by-step explanations and answer all of their questions in detail. Do not pressure them to make a decision on the spot. Give them plenty of time and space.

Do Not Forget Your Follow Up Plan

As you can probably see, each of these personality styles will react differently to your follow up.

For instance:

D Personality Styles will appreciate a brief, factual follow-up.

I Personality Styles will appreciate you following up with literature and details in writing and asking about the personal things they shared with you (family members, new car, etc.)

S Personality Styles will appreciate you following through with additional information you told them you would provide and you showing that you are sincerely interested in them as a person.

C Personality Styles will appreciate you following up with more details and allowing them to ask additional questions.

This is just a brief overview of the many, many tips for gaining the trust of and selling based on your customer’s personality and buying style. You can get a more in-depth look at selling tips for each style by accessing my Sales Report at

This report will identify your own selling strengths and limits. With this information, you can capitalise on your strengths and recognise any limits hindering your success. In addition, if you manage a sales team or work with other salespeople, you can motivate them based on their personality style.

The entire goal of understanding personality styles is to gain valuable insights you can use to establish rapport, open lines of communication, build trust, motivate and sell. Learn to sell by learning to serve.

Connection first, and sales will come.