Editor’s note: Stu Schlackman is a frequent contributor to this blog.
In Part I of a four part series, Stu reveals the Obective reasons that customers buy. In Part II, he addresses Subjective reasons for customer purchases, while Part III and Part IV detail the personality styles that detail the personality styles that drive buying decisions.
Greens make logical decisions from the head. The Green personalities is objective when assessing a solution. They will research the product, market, your company, and make quantitative comparisons with other vendor’s solutions. The objective criteria established for the purchase are very important to the Green’s consideration of any solution.
For example, how will the solution improve product quality and functionality? How will it lower the defect rate? How will it open new markets? Greens are slow to make decisions since research takes time and they seek lots of information. Once the research is complete, they will make a decision, not until!. Subjectively, Greens are pressure averse. With Greens you need to be patient and provide everything they ask for. For a Green, each decision is personal, usually unaffected by the opinion of others. The best approach for moving the sale forward is to ask them: “what other information might you need?” and “what will be your next step in the assessment?”
Golds make weighted decisions for the company; a decision must impart financial well being (for the company first, and then indirectly, for them). For the Gold, decisions are mostly objective. What is the return on investment? How will this impact the bottom line, reduce operation costs, improve cash flow or reduce inventory levels? Golds study the companies (yours and even your partners) that they consider doing business with. How long have they been around? What is their position in the industry; their credibility? From a subjective side, Golds are concerned with their position in the organization and what impact the decision will have politically. Will it enhance their prospects and weaken their rivals? Trust is also important to the Gold.
Objectively, Golds will assess the risk involved in making a decision. Subjectively, Golds like corporate security, value the status quo, and need a prudent reason to make a decision. Remember, Golds need to have expectations clearly laid out. Golds are usually very organized and have a timeline for each step in the process that leads towards the buying decision; which makes them predictable as to when they will make a final decision. For Golds, “time is money” is literal – do not waste their time. Be supportive of the Gold and their decision making process and you can ask for the order.
The bottom line
If you are dealing with a left brain personality type (Green or Gold) the decision will more often lean towards the business aspects of your solution. Business needs will override the personal needs. However, if you are dealing with a right brain decision maker (Blue or Orange), the personal needs can outweigh the business needs.
Recapping, questions like: How do they feel? (Blue) What does their gut tell them? (Orange) Is it logical? (Green) Is it advantageous? (Gold) Are they looking for a promotion or how will they be viewed by the rest of the organization if they make the decision? (Gold or Orange) How will it impact the people in the organization? (Blue or Gold) Is it the best solution? (Green)… Understanding that each personality style makes decisions can reset your approach and strategy with the customer. If there are multiple decision makers, you can emphasize the key points that will be important to each personality style involved. Focusing on both the objective and subjective points will satisfy each individuals own issues and be significant in moving the sale forward.