When selling, it’s important to customize your approach to the needs and preferences of each individual prospective customer. While assessing your prospect’s personality and then tailoring your approach accordingly may be effective, it can be daunting. Instead, just ask them about their concerns.

Problem

A common approach to identifying the unique needs and preferences of each individual prospect is to assess their behaviors and then lump them into a category, often defined as “personality.” This approach claims to reveal the information that each personality needs in order to make a purchase.

Assessing personality type can be overwhelming, especially when it’s added to the inherent challenges of selling. How can we give each prospect the unique information they need to make a buying decision, and avoid overwhelming them with all available information, without assessing their personality?

Solution

Once you’ve asked your prospect about their situation and desired outcomes, ask this question: “What are your concerns about solving this problem?”

You may want to reword the question as “What are the key risks in solving this problem?” After each concern or risk they share, pause to wait for more information, and then respond by asking “any others?” It may take a few “any others” until you get to the problems that expose more of your prospect’s vulnerabilities—whether at the organizational, team, or individual level.

Don’t attempt to address the concerns when the person brings them up; instead, just listen. Write down the issues and address them when you propose your solution

Get ready to be surprised. Prospects will share risks and concerns that may have been uncovered by the personality approach, but you’ll also dig deeper and discover more emotional concerns.

For example, your prospect may share that one of their recent initiatives failed and that they’re concerned about how their board will perceive their performance if their latest initiative fails.

Instead of assessing their personality and making guesses at your prospects’ individual needs and preferences, ask them about their concerns and perceived risks. This question gives you a shortcut to the information you need to address your prospect’s potential objections before they’re even raised.

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