My wife and I recently stopped by a car dealership to look for new vehicle.  Upon arrival, we were promptly greeted by a motivated, young salesman.  Given my sales background, I wanted to help the new guy out (without being condescending).

Before starting his pitch, I tried to lighten things a bit and told him I’d give him a fair shot. Furthermore, I began the conversation by stating I was a fact-oriented, analytical buyer.  I dropped this major hint in an effort to provide him the appropriate way to communicate with someone like me. Unfortunately, he ignored the clues and went right for the jugular with a pre-scripted sales pitch.

Are you guilty of communicating with your audience using a one-size-fits-all approach?  You should know that your audience is most likely comprised of four completely different groups of people. Before crafting your communication, get to know these groups and how to reach them.

Type-A Customer: Quick and to the Point

Type-A Customers are incredibly direct and can been seen as a tad abrasive. They tend to shoot straight and tell you exactly what they want – no guessing. So when you find yourself marketing to this personality, develop thicker skin, consolidate your presentation and get to the point. Never attempt to back them into a corner; give this customer the latitude to drive the discussion.  After all, they wouldn’t be in front of you if they weren’t interested.

Fact Customer: Thinks Long and Hard

Fact Customers are methodical, deliberate and relatively slow when making decisions. This type can be incredibly frustrating when you are looking to get things cooking fast. However, it’s advised to downgrade your speed and arm yourself with as much detailed information as you can get your hands on. This customer requires that you substantiate things logically.  So be ready to provide third-party research, reviews, testimonials, technical data, price comparisons and more.  This customer responds to facts faster than anything else.

Big-Idea Customer: Sees the Possibilities

Selling to Big-Idea Customers requires an imagination. At first glance, this customer can appear to be “all over the place” – telling you they need one thing then another. Take the initiative and join with them as they brainstorm aloud.  After hearing the many things they’d like to explore, guide them to a solution that covers most of what they’d mentioned. This customer is most likely to act when they are allowed to see the possibilities.

Relationship Customer: A Smile and Good Conversation

Relationship Customers tend to go with their gut. This group places a premium on the how they feel when interacting with you. In other words, they are more likely to make a purchase based on your likability rather price and value alone.  This customer can sit and chat about, what seems to be, irrelevant topics in an effort to "feel you out."  Remember to be an active participant; this customer rarely buys from someone they don’t like or feel good about.

Walter Dailey is a former ad agency partner and experienced marketing professional. He is the lead consultant and executive producer at Dailey Sound Vector Media, a creative services organization that specializes in developing commercials, jingles and marketing campaigns for small businesses throughout North America.  Ask Walter your questions atwalter@dsvmedia.com