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Customer Personalities


Disciplines > Sales > Sales articles > Customer Personalities

Child | Judge | Negotiator | Bargain-hunter | Adult


There are a number of ways you can view customers and their personality, including the various preference spectra and their beliefs about people.

Here are a few common personalities:

The Child

A few customers are naive, trusting and open, like a young child, and will believe everything that you tell them. They are highly gullible and are food and drink for sales people whose values permit them to take advantage of their naivety.

The Child is playing a parent-child game and is seeking a Nurturing Parent to look after them and tell them what to do, so do just that.

For the more principled sales people, a duty of care is required here, that they will only sell something to this person if the sales person truly believe that it will help them.

Many closing methods will work with the Child, including the Assumptive Close and the Empathy Close.

The Judge

The Judge is suspicious of everyone, believing that all people are basically selfish. will never believe what you say. After all, you are trying to sell to them and therefore will deceive them at the drop of a hat. They will judge you by their own values and high standards (although not all Judges follow their own rules).

The judge will tell you what they think and may prefer telling to listening.

The Judge may well have 'read up on the case beforehand' and arrive having already made their decision. They will choose based on what independent facts they can find, for example through magazine reviews (so have such reviews to hand).

The Judge may play the parent-child game, but this time they are the Controlling Parent to the sales person's naughty Adaptive Child. A way of handling the Judge is thus to play the Child and aim to switch them over from Controlling to Nurturing Parent.

A close that can work with the Judge is the Balance-sheet Close, the Testimonial Close or, if they are playing a strong Parent role, the Puppy Close.

The Negotiator

The Negotiator seeks to beat you down, no matter how good the deal. They will keep asking for more until they are certain they will not get more.

A good negotiator will ask lots of questions and listen very carefully before they get anywhere near discussing price. And then they may surprise you by how well they understand you. They may well have studied the subject and even read through this site!

A good negotiator is a joy to behold but may play you like a fish - which is interesting, as that is what you are probably trying to do with them.

This person gets a significant thrill of the chase and may not reach closure if they are just playing a 'Catch me' game, perhaps preferring to travel hopefully than arrive.

Play the game with the Negotiator, letting them beat you down very slowly to your chosen position. Then make it absolutely clear that you cannot go further and move to the close.  A Concession Close can be an effective final step.

The Bargain-hunter

This type of customer is driven by value. They may include many aspects of the Negotiator, but they also like to reach closure and may make impulsive decisions.

Handle the Bargain-hunter like the Negotiator, although you may well be able to get away with far fewer concessions. The key is that the Bargain-hunter believes they have received a bargain, so focus on this aspect.

Close with the Bargain-hunter with such as the Quality Close or the Price-promise Close.

The Adult

The Adult customer knows just what they want and do not want to play any games. They will not negotiate. They will tell you what they want and expect you to give them your best price straight up.

They may start off appearing to be a Negotiator as they ask detailed questions, but they will not attempt to negotiate. They will listen, ask your price and then decide. If they think you are playing games with them otherwise trying any 'clever stuff' then they will leave and ignore any apologies or pleadings.

Close carefully with the Adult. If they perceive any 'techniques' they will not buy. Treat them politely. Give them concise facts. Answer their questions completely but do not try to add lots of detail that will only irritate them.

See also

Beliefs, Preferences, Transactional Analysis, Closing techniques

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