UTA sales training highlights importance of understanding customer personalities

user-gravatar Headshot
Updated Apr 12, 2024
Two men in meeting having good conversation

It’s no secret building relationships with customers leads to business success. Customers like buying from people they know, trust and respect.

But building a relationship with a customer is rarely a simple task. Every customer is unique, not only in their purchasing power and business needs, but also in their personality and how they make buying decisions.

To have sustained success, salespeople need to be chameleons; capable of adapting their communication style, body language and mannerisms to match a customer’s personality and serve them in a manner they prefer.

“It’s like being a mirror,” Tom Niesen, sales trainer at Sales Made Easy, told attendees at the Used Truck Association (UTA) Selling for Success seminar at Peterbilt’s Denton, Texas, facility last week. “Approach him by how he communicates with you.”

Niesen said being a mirror isn’t about mimicry or outright copying a customer so much as intuitively watching and listening to how they communicate and responding with an equivalent tone.

[RELATED: Dealers share what makes a great truck salesperson]

Niesen admitted that’s not always easy, but said salespeople can better understand customer personalities by educating themselves about personality types. He used DiSC as an example. An acronym for dominance, influence, steadiness and conscientiousness, DiSC categorizes personalities into groups based on what is most likely to influence their emotions and buying decisions, Niesen said.

And harnessing emotions is vital to sales success.

UTA sales training event at Peterbilt in March 2024Participants at last week's Used Truck Association's (UTA) Selling for Success seminar at Peterbilt's Denton, Texas, facility discuss how customer personalities can impact interactions.

Salespeople who understand how to present information in a way that positively impact a customer’s emotion during a conversation are far more likely to ultimately win a sale. People buy from friends and partners, not marketers, and Niesen said a used truck salesperson who can quickly reach that level of comfort with a customer has a leg up — not just against competition but also against any barriers a customer may have in their own buying process.

Niesen also noted how emotion doesn’t just drive customers. A salesperson who allows their own emotions to perceive opportunity that may not exist is just as likely to falter as a salesperson who doesn’t connect with a customer at all.

“Our emotions block our intellect,” Niesen said. “Emotion will get you killed in sales.”

Which is why syncing with a customer’s personality is so valuable. Niesen said a customer with a vocal, dominant and confident personality will likely best respond to a salesperson who can match that intensity. A customer of few words, or unwilling to elaborate on their priorities, is unlikely to appreciate a salesperson aggressively driving a conversation toward resolution.

[RELATED: UTA holds comprehensive sales training at Peterbilt]

During his training course with UTA, Niesen encouraged the attendees to build conversational templates for interacting with a customer displaying all four personality templates. Niesen said the “up-front contract” salespeople make whenever meeting with a customer should vary based on their personality, with different phrases, directives and pace to turn conversations into eventual transactions. That includes telling a customer as soon as possible that “it’s okay for them to tell you no,” Niesen said.

“That’s the biggest part of building rapport,” he said. “If you tell a customer, ‘Hey, if you don’t see anything you like let me know. I don’t want to waste your time,’ you can see their body language change. They will immediately be more comfortable with you.”

Learn how to move your used trucks faster
With unsold used inventory depreciating at a rate of more than 2% monthly, efficient inventory turnover is a must for dealers. Download this eBook to access proven strategies for selling used trucks faster.
Used Truck Guide Cover