It is not too uncommon to encounter an individual with which we have difficulty communicating, where meaning somehow gets lost in the effort to discuss the most simple issues. In such situations we say that we “just didn’t hit it off” with the other person or that we were “on a different wave-length.” As a business person and travel consultant, it is incumbent on you to understand your clients and to make yourself understood. Indeed, it is well known that people are of differing personality types, tending to express themselves and act in accordance with deeply internalized preferences. Some of us are idealists, others pragmatists. Some are extraverts and some introverts. You say tomato…
We each have varying degrees of tolerance for dealing with people of widely divergent personality types in various situations. Put two differing personality types in a casual setting and their differences add life and interest to the gathering. Put the same two individuals on a committee or, for our purposes, in a buying transaction, and the results may prove to be less fun.
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Much has been made of personality types and their interactions in social situations and business transactions. In a social setting, we can choose to communicate with others or not. In a business situation, however, your options are more challenging. As travel professionals, understand that we cannot communicate with everyone in exactly the same way, but must instead be far more adaptable and flexible in our approach. It is important to speak with the client in a manner that the client most easily can identify. By carefully observing how a new client prefers to act, interact and express themselves, we can better adapt our own communications to be better understood and to understand.
There are many different systems that will assist you in learning how to identify personality types. Most are based on the work of the psychologist Carl Jung who coined the terms “introvert” and “extrovert” and undertook one of the first systemized studies of personality types. From his work others developed new systems, the most famous of which is the Myers-Briggs typology. Dr. David Keirsey further developed personality types into what he described as the “four temperaments” and his writings I find very useful in sales theory. Reading the short introduction in the previous link will be invaluable in your understanding of the entire concept of personality types.
Those truly interested in exploring the concept in detail might find it interesting to learn more about their own personality type by taking this short test which includes a free sample temperament analysis.
If your client is analytical, your approach to assisting him to understand your recommendations should be styled to addressing his need for facts and rational thought. If your clients are more emotional, then a dry, analytical presentation is likely to fall short of their need for more expressive content. Adjusting your presentation style to your client will assist you in bridging any gaps in communication that might otherwise be present. Likewise, don’t pre-judge or misunderstand a client’s acceptance of your efforts by their first reactions. Analytical types might be perfectly happy with your recommendations, but very reserved in the way they express themselves.
A word of warning, however. I am not recommending you be inauthentic in your approach. Be yourself and still spend time appealing to the “adventurer” in your client. The requirement is to structure your approach with your client to involve them emotionally while remaining sensitive to their core personality type.
As you get to know your client, pay attention to their basic personality types and even ask a few questions geared to better understanding how they want you to present your findings. What matters most to them as they make decisions? Know too, that in any situation where a couple is making a decision together, more than one personality type may be represented and you will need to satisfy both in your presentation! More rational types are going to want you to be efficient and accurate in your presentation style. Clients who are more emotional and open are going to look for romance, warmth and stimulation in your choices. The challenge is to find the appropriate balance while remaining authentic and true to your own values.
The topic of personality types is one deserving of study by any serious student of human behavior. The mysteries of decision making are better understood once the factors that underpin the buying process are more clear. With a little study and practice, you will be meeting your clients where it matters most – on common ground.