From as early as I can remember, I was taught to ‘treat people how you would like to be treated.’ I got to understand the true meaning of this phrase and understood that if you expected to be treated in a certain way, then you too should treat people in that same manner.
For many years I understood this to be accurate, until I was introduced to sales.
One thing that fascinates me about sales is we are all different. As buyers and sellers, we behave differently and therefore, how can I treat one person the same as I want to be treated. Imagine I have three prospects, all from different backgrounds, different financial situations and different belief systems to me. Surely, if I treated them all how I wanted to be treated I would cause offence to some.
They may feel I’m a little over familiar, too informal and not taking them seriously. Therefore, my job as a sales professional is to identify their behaviour and adapt accordingly. Based on this, I believe the phrase should be ‘treat people how THEY want to be treated.’
When I studied Carl Jung’s behaviour matrix, which were embodied in Psychologische Typen (1921; Psychological Types, 1923), I learned that people’s behaviour was classified as one of four types:
As a sales professional, I learned how to identify a person’s behavioural type, what frustrates them and how to sell to them. The two biggest indicators were as follows:
- The questions they ask
- How they respond to your questions
These two factors enabled me to identify their behaviour quickly and adapt to it. I must clarify, this doesn’t mean to act insincere, it means to show the prospect the part of my behaviour they need to see. Therefore, I believe the most successful sales professionals are chameleons.
This ties in with the other well known saying in sales, ‘people buy from people.’ This I absolutely agree with, as we buy with emotion and then we use logic to justify our decision. However, I feel it’s missing two words at the end of the saying. I believe it’s ‘people buy from people LIKE THEM.’ This reinforces my point, that people gravitate towards people like themselves and are more comfortable dealing with people that have very similar behaviour traits as they do.