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The Globe and Mail

Decisive Danielle or Skeptical Steve? A guide to your customers

Decisive Danielle, Collaborative Claire and Relationship Renee

graham roumieu The Globe and Mail

When you're out selling, you or your sales staff may have met Decisive Danielle, or Skeptical Steve, or Analytical Al. These are the monikers publisher Mike Schultz gives to some common types of people we meet when selling. He outlines eight distinct buyer personas on his website, in groups of two opposites, each with handy names to remember them by:



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Decisive Danielle solves problems in a decisive, active, and assertive manner. You may find her pushy and overbearing. You need to be decisive as well when selling to her, and show a willingness to take some risks at your end to help her succeed. Don't worry about conflicts that seem to arise with her - she doesn't pay much attention, and may even thrive on it.




This is the yin to Decisive Danielle's yang, someone who likes to solve problems with others and is deliberative, tactful, diplomatic, and adaptable. When selling, keep in mind how important consensus-building is to her. Work with her and her team to draw out everyone's thoughts and needs. "If she is going to buy, she will buy when she is ready and her team is all on board," Mr. Schultz writes.



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Relationship Renee is an enthusiastic team player who likes to build relationships. She likes to see the big picture, so try to keep technical details to a minimum. "When discussing ideas, don't overdo being the voice of reason or reality. What you might see as realism, she'll see as a downer," Mr. Schultz cautions.




Skeptical Steve is Renee's opposite. He is introspective, a reserved critical thinker. He doesn't embellish, and dislikes it when you do. He takes time to develop trust with others, so don't be too personal or friendly too quickly. He may not share much at meetings, but make sure you meet his needs or this guardian can quietly block your sale.

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Gradual Greg is patient, empathetic, service-oriented, and doesn't rock any boats. So don't push too quickly, offer too many options, or highlight messages of change. Work to keep him on track, because if he gets distracted his one-thing-at-a-time style might mean it will be a while before he returns to your project.



Change Agent

The polar opposite of Gradual Greg, Warp-9 Walt wants everything done yesterday. He makes decisions quickly and spontaneously. You must match his desire for speed, and help him move forward - quickly.




Al is wrapped up in established methods and data, following rules and procedures. He can do something new, but only after you give him a lot of time to process new information. When selling to him, provide the backup and data he needs to make a decision - lots of details will be essential. Be prepared to push, since he can be slow to decide. But don't seem to criticize as he can take it more personally than others.




In contrast to Analytical Al, Innovator Irene couldn't care less about rules and past procedures. She is informal, solving problems creatively, so you will want to brainstorm with her when selling, helping her come up with new ways to do things. "Don't give Irene the sense that she, personally, will have to do much detail work if she buys from you because details put her off," Mr. Schultz advises. "Instead, show how working with you will bring those ideas into reality."

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