What’s the first rule of sales? [my brother mustn’t answer this]

Know me, like me, trust me…

Color Personality Types and Sales with Jane FranklandBless me father for I have sinned. I’m English and I’m using the American spelling for colour (color) throughout this post!

Ok, now that I’ve got that off my chest and before I even get into color personality types (or colour personality types if you’re in the UK), I’m going to have to start with the basics: when it comes to sales and selling, people buy from people.

So I’m going to put it bluntly here. I know you wouldn’t expect anything less of me.

If people don’t like you when they meet you, you’re not going to sell Jack diddly squat! FACT!

That’s why your job, as a salesperson or someone who’s heading up a sale, is to get your prospects to like you, and to keep on liking you! When they like you they feel safe. When you’re seen as “friend” as oppose to “enemy” you’re trusted, and when you’re trusted they’re more likely to buy.

You see we all buy from people we trust, and we keep on buying from those we keep on trusting. We buy from credible people and we make reference to those we find trustworthy. We also hang out with people who engage us and see them as leaders. They make us feel good.

And, this is key. For the first rule of sales is… people buy feelings not things.

Every step your prospects take along the sales path – every interaction they experience – gives them feelings and that is how you or your product, service or brand is judged. Make no mistake about this. Every single one of your buyers keeps a mental check-list of positive and negative feelings, and adjusts the scores as he or she goes.

Unfortunately we’re not actually conscious of doing this. We’re just wired that way. It’s how our reptilian brains work.

So, how do you know whether to trust anyone as a credible leader or not?

Well I teach this in my coaching programmes but as you’re being a good sport I’ll tell you the answer now. It all boils down to how you communicate.

Story time

Example 1. Years ago, when I owned my IT company and we sold products, I used to have to deal with many suppliers. As an experienced buyer I soon realised that not only could I make a great profit in a sale, but I could also make double the profit if I bought well before. Now I vividly remember one meeting that I organised with a supplier. I happened to bring a member of my team into this and yes, you guessed it – he was male. The irony of this meeting was that the supplier decided to direct it (the sale) to my colleague. Big, rookie mistake. He didn’t communicate with me – let alone in my language, and I was the buyer! Needless to say, he didn’t make me feel great so he didn’t get any more business from me or my company. That cost him millions.

Example 2. Recently I attended an event. A programme was being sold and a considerable investment was at stake. I was interested in the ROI. When I asked for this information, the answer I was given was that taking the course made you “feel good.” Now that’s all well and good, but unfortunately I couldn’t give a damn if it made you feel good. I was only interested in the tangible value it delivered to my bottom line. Once again the supplier hadn’t communicated effectively so I walked away not buying.

Example 3. I was at another event a few months ago. Unfortunately I happened to sit next to a woman who decided she was going to snort back her snot (instead of blow her nose) throughout the whole presentation. I was naturally quite repulsed and couldn’t wait to get away from her at the end of it. However, she approached me and asked for a meeting. She was interested in what I was selling. Now my initial thoughts were: was it a nervous twitch she had, had her mother not brought her up to blow her nose when she had a cold, and how the heck could I do business with someone like this? So I weighed it all up, made my excuses and walked away from the opportunity.

Always remember that sales is a two-way engagement. When you own your company you have the choice as to whether you work with someone or not.

Communicate according to color personality types

If you want the sale, you have to be able to communicate with your prospect in a language that resonates with them. How you interact determines whether you’ll convert them into clients and customers.

You need them to understand what you’re saying – to hear AND to listen. The only way you can do this is by speaking to them in a language that they understand. You need to speak “their language.” When you speak their language you can be more influential; you can build rapport more quickly, which in turn builds the trust.

And, yes you guessed it… when you build trust, the sales follow as a matter of course.

Whilst language is a highly complex matter as there are many forms of communication – verbal and non verbal, I’m only going to give you a guide on the words, sounds and body gestures that your prospect may use in order for you to be able to craft your sales message [communication] in a way that will be received and understood.

So, here are some tips to help you quickly identify your prospect’s personality types. I’ve grouped them into color personality types as it’s easier to remember.

Four color personality types

There are four color personality types and whilst we all have components of them, generally one dominant personality shows through.

Yellows – they make up 35% of the population and one of the best words to describe them is nurturing. ‘Yellows’ are always looking out for others; they like to help. They’re open, indirect in conversation, very sensitive and aren’t particularly concerned about money. Instead they prefer relationships and teamwork. Often they don’t have time for themselves as they give it to everyone else. They usually talk about how they like to help others and for them it’s all about the cause. They’re earthy and mellow; softly spoken, relaxed and casually dressed. Things that will turn them off are money, partying and material possessions. When you’re interacting with a yellow be aware that these are color personality types that don’t want to be sold to. They make decisions based on emotion, and very slowly. So, when you talk to a ‘yellow’ color personality type talk about how you can help others (save money, spend time with their family) and make sure to lower the volume. Yellows don’t like sudden change either so they often need assurance from another party. The good news is that once you’ve won them over they’re loyal to the person they buy from and the brand.

Green – they too make up 35% of the population. ‘Green’ color personality types are similar to the ‘yellow.’ They too don’t like to be sold to. They’re self contained and indirect in conversation. They’re quietly spoken, reserved and often pessimistic. They’re conservative, formal and use minimal body gestures and facial expressions. They’re the analysts; the data miners. They want all the facts and all the questions answered. They want to feel secure. They’re risk averse and when it comes to making a decision they take their time and want to make informed decisions. When you’re selling to a ‘green’ color personality type stay away from emotional information – they just want the facts. Invite them to take a look.

Blue – they make up 15% of the population. They’re easy to recognise as they stick out. ‘Blue’ color personality types are flamboyant, gregarious, fun-loving, fast-paced and sociable. They’re often the life and soul of the party, tell a good story and are enthusiastic. They smile and laugh a lot. This color personality type is a group that’s loved by all. As they like to attract attention and are born entertainers, when you’re interacting with a ‘blue’ color personality type you may need to raise the volume. Motivate them by talking about recognition and incentives. They’re risk takers so they don’t want or need to see all the detail. They like succinct and they’ll act more on feeling rather than logic. This is good news for you in terms of the sale as they’ll make decisions fast.

Reds – make up 15% of the population. They’re independent, dominant and risk takers. They’re goal orientated, focused on results and fast thinkers. They’re usually easy to spot as they wear power colours and designer clothes. They walk fast, talk fast and don’t do chit chat. They’re not interested in talking about their families; instead they’re money motivated and focused on ROI. ‘Red’ color personality types are driven by success and control. They’re energetic, action taking, high powered performers. When you’re interacting with them talk about the challenge of the success and get straight to the point. This is a color personality type with limited time or patience. Note too, that you can’t close them. They’ll make up their own minds.

So talk the language they understand.

Now I want to hear from you…

What methods do you use when it comes to selling in person or over the phone? Do you use a method such as color personality types to help you establish how to speak to your prospects? And, have you ever walked away from a sale? Share your stories and tell me all about it in the comments below.

Thanks for participating!

With love and gratitude – as always,


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Jane Frankland is a successful cyber security entrepreneur, consultant and speaker who has had a diverse career encompassing art and design; business development; and operations. Having held directorships and senior executive positions within her own companies and at several large PLCs, she now provides agile, forward thinking organisations with strategic business development solutions. Right now she is writing a book on gender diversity in cyber security and is focused on increasing the numbers of women in the profession.

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