Even though we tend to sell the same types of products and services over and over, we sell to many different types of clients. We have easy-going clients and difficult clients; clients who are quick decision makers and those who are indecisive.
But regardless of what the client is like, a good part of your sales success will relate to their personality and how their personality relates to yours – and, more importantly, how this relates to your sales approach to them.
For that reason, it’s critical to understand how to identify your prospects’ learning styles early in the sales process and tailor your presentations and closing techniques accordingly.
THE VISUAL LEARNER
Most people learn by using their eyes. For the visual learner, words may not resonate fully. When handed brochures or handouts, they may look at them quickly, but really read and digest them later. To the visual learner, looking things over carefully is a must.
They can usually digest multiple details at once. They’ll have the ability to read your movements, expressions and gestures. Visual learners can make decisions quite quickly based on what they’ve absorbed.
To identify the visual learner, look for those who look at you closely as you talk. They may react positively to your animated communications and emotionally to what you show.
Visual learners tend to come to conclusions quickly; they’re imaginative and often have a good sense of humor. The visual learner thrives in a showroom or visual presentation environment. They enjoy looking at color and style samples. If they can’t visit the showroom, a pictorial presentation could be beneficial.
Email, the Internet and social media are excellent for communicating with this type of client. They will be interested in blueprints, drawings and diagrams. Providing ample drawings and sketches will benefit the sale. Offer summary documents with pictures, for example a list of plumbing fixtures and their prices with a small picture of each fixture.
We had a client come into our showroom who was clearly a visual learner. We set up our next meeting at her house to review the space and talk about her needs. We knew we had to come prepared with many visuals for her to get excited about.
We brought examples of our AutoCAD drawings, examples of our perspective renderings, our iPad with our portfolio of pictures of completed jobs and some samples she’d liked from her first visit to the showroom.
As she reviewed them all, we could see the spark in her eyes. After we signed the contract, she told us she was so impressed by the level of professionalism in our presentation that she had to go with us. It was all the examples we brought for her to see that got her excited about what we could do for her!
THE AUDITORY LEARNER
Some individuals learn better by utilizing their ears. Listening to others is their main source of information.
When you speak to them, auditory learners will seem deep in concentration. They may not be looking at you directly or may even have their eyes closed, but they’re listening. The will often repeat back your words to ensure they understand you in full.
When given a hand out, they will not look at it but will continue to listen to what you’re saying. Auditory learners will sometimes stop to think about what’s been said before answering and will be precise with how they answer.
The auditory learner likes process, thinks logically and has concrete ideas. Given that we are in the industry of selling products and services, we typically have something concrete to sell them (even if it’s a design). Along with the obvious tangible visuals, relying more on the verbal presentations will benefit the auditory learner. To effectively communicate with the auditory learner, in-person meetings or conference calls would be best. When in person-to-person meetings, staying stationary and speaking clearly and concisely will benefit the sale. Be sure to provide bulleted written takeaways about your business’ process, the services you provide and the benefits of your products.
We were working with a client who owned several restaurant businesses. He was unmarried and our key point of contact, yet he was extremely difficult to get in touch with. He rarely answered his cell phone. It was even harder to get him to schedule appointments and when he did, he sometimes didn’t show. To make matters worse, he didn’t use email and traveled so frequently that he didn’t have access to a fax machine.
We learned quickly that he was an auditory learner and the only real way to communicate with him was by messages on his cell phone. We also changed our style of presentation to accommodate his style of learning. We used very little written information in our presentation, spoke through most of what he was to expect and provided only one final set of drawings at the end for his review. When we contracted, we changed the legalize from paragraph form to bullet points, read the contract to him and had him sign while we had his attention. The job turned out great and he was extremely satisfied.
THE KINESTHETIC LEARNER
Tactile stimulation is how the kinesthetic learner best absorbs information. Kinesthetic learners move their fingers all over an object to inspect it and will often discuss the object that has been touched and how it feels. They tend to not be observant of time and can be slightly disorganized. Along with the visual learner, kinesthetic learners thrive in a showroom or tactile environment where they can physically pick up samples or products.
They’re good prospects to take to job sites or finished projects where they can touch the products first hand, move around them and interact accordingly.
Sales presentations for these learners should include tangible products, samples and finishes. Use the fewest words possible to get the point across. In presentations, provide sales aids they can pick up. When providing brochures, product information or business cards, put them directly into the client’s hands. If you’re presenting drawings, try to provide three-dimensional drawings or sketches.
We had a builder we’d been trying unsuccessfully to get business from. Finally, we deduced he was more of a kinesthetic learner and we suggested he stop by one of our job sites so he could “touch and feel” the product in the middle of installation and meet our installer. The builder finally agreed. We met him on site and he must have felt comfortable in the job site environment because he immediately started opening doors and drawers and feeling all of the painted and stained finishes for quality. He must have looked in each wall cabinet, opened every drawer in the house and touched every surface! We set up a meeting that day to review house plans for two houses he was building, and got them both!
By better understanding prospects’ different learning styles, you can create a presentation and sales approach that caters to their individual personality and close that sale.