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prefer it. They love toys and often drive high-end sports cars: red Porsches, Lamborghinis, or Dodge
Stealths. They also have all the accessories: jewelry, expensive watches, shoes, pens, etc. A $1,000
outfit with all the trimmings is not uncommon.
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The downside about Socializers is that they are poor listeners and inattentive, since they are usually
focused on talking about themselves. It's sometimes tough to get a word in edgewise as they tell you
their life stories and fondest dreams. Nevertheless, you must give them time to chat and party with you
before asking business questions.

A word of caution: Socializers hate detail and boring, lengthy presentations. They can be very impatient.
Make it fun, colorful, exciting, and get to the bottom line quickly. Sell the sizzle more than the steak.
Bottom line to a Socializer means, "How will this make me look good and will it be fun?" Get the deal in
writing. Socializers tend to forget quickly as they move on to the next event or party. The best vehicle to
build trust and rapport is to put fun into the relationship. Energize your call with enthusiasm and
excitement. After all, if you have fun socializing and pass the party test by listening to the jokes and
stories, then it only stands to reason that you will be a trustworthy, enjoyable person to do business
with. The big plus is that they will, and do, make quick decisions (direct) as you move through the steps
of your Sequential Model. In summary:




Director
Here is your consummate businessperson, an introvert whose main focus is the task at hand and who
is guided by goals and objectives. Directors are always asking, "What's the point?" Thus, it's always
business first, party maybe. Get to the point quickly and don't socialize or try to encourage social
conversation. They will become impatient and tune out quickly as they are simply not interested.
Directors love control and prefer to be in charge; they like being the boss. As an introvert, they have a
low tolerance for feelings and emotions. Directors can appear to be quiet, unfriendly, and apathetic.
Directors are quite happy to do things on their own”see a movie, dine in a restaurant, or even travel.
They will tell you, "I'm alone, but not lonely."

Directors often prefer to give cash or gift certificates as gifts rather than take the time to shop. Their
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dress is usually dark blue and conservative, nothing flashy or terribly stylish. If a Director is wearing a
flashy tie you can feel safe in asking, "Nice tie, who bought it for you?" They drive conservative,
functional cars such as a Reliant or a Taurus. Don't touch a Director, in fact, handshakes are
unnecessary. They like their personal space, "We are here to do business, not get married!" A Director
is not concerned about the relationship, they just care about your performance as a professional and
how the performance of your product or service will contribute to the bottom line. Don't have an
emotional outburst (crying) in a Director's office. He or she will be unmoved and unimpressed. Get
yourself together”then carry on with the conversation. No sniffling allowed. Remember, Directors have
a need for power and control that cannot be ignored by a pushy sales representative. They are
motivated by bottom-line detail. In summary:




Thinker
The two main components of a Thinker are indirect (slow decisions) and self-contained (introvert). These
individuals are typically your engineers, accountants, and computer programmers. It's information first,
then business. You don't have much hope of doing business with them until you deliver all the required
data for them to make an informed, intelligent decision. Thinkers hate to be wrong”it drives them crazy
when mistakes are made. That's why they are indirect, not making decisions quickly, avoiding
mistakes. They are very detailed-oriented and precise, often guided by the letter of the law, versus the
spirit of the law. Presentations to Thinkers must be logical, accurate, and reliable. Thinkers are the
ones who will lure you into a feature dump. They love it. Rather than spewing reams of information, ask
them what they would like to see. They will tell you what's important to them so make sure you provide
it. I suggest you openly acknowledge their need for information, then ask, "What specific information
would you need to see to build your confidence to buy from me?" Build confidence by presenting
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appropriate information guided by the Thinkers' feedback. Dumping wheelbarrels of data in their office for
their perusal only lengthens the sales cycle. Edit your dialogue with data that are relevant and
appropriate to the Thinker.




Expect Thinkers to compare your product or service to the competition. Seldom will they accept
information at face value. Impulse buying is very uncomfortable for them. They prefer to research
manufacturer's specifications and converse with experts in that field. Don't argue with them; there isn't
much chance of winning. Why? Because they have thoroughly researched the subject and have the
data to back themselves up, and they will pursue the argument until they are victorious. In some cases
Thinkers' attitudes are: "I'm right and you're wrong but it's your right to be wrong."

Of the four styles, Thinkers are the ones least concerned with dress”it's not important. Their clothes
are a bit worn and generally a bit out of style. They sometimes wear a plastic pocket protector full of Bic
pens and use duct tape to fix their glasses. I know some Thinkers who insist on hanging toilet paper
"correctly," exercising proper toilet paper management, so that it rolls off the top. This is an important
detail to Thinkers and in fact, they have been known to correct it when they get home. They sometimes
even correct it at a friend's home, just to help out. It has been the topic of many heated matrimonial
discussions. Of course the Directors are thinking: "Who cares? I'm happy if there's paper on the back of
the toilet."

Thinkers tend to be packrats, never throwing anything out. Their garages and basements are jammed
with old stuff because, "You just never know when it might be useful." Heck, they even have their
university text books and notes somewhere in the basement.

Thinkers focus on two important aspects of selling: accuracy and an eye to detail. They are particular
on their paperwork, which is appreciated by internal customers. They tend to do a job right the first
time, whereas Socializers may have to redo it several times as they often overlook important details. In
summary:
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Relater
The two main components of a Relater are indirect (slow decisions) and open (extrovert). These
individuals are very sensitive, often taking business issues personally. They are very intuitive, accurately
reading people's nonverbal behaviors. Relaters are big-time team players and they encourage harmony
among the team, be it at work, socially, or at home with their family. Relaters are emotional, empathetic
people who are moved to tears easily and can be oversensitive. Take a Relater to see Titanic and watch
what happens. They cry very easily. (Yes, even male Relaters.) Directors would be inclined to think,
"Why are you crying, you knew the darn thing sank in 1912." Relaters are often appalled at the
apparent apathy of Directors, taking their verbal and nonverbal responses literally. Relaters hate conflict
of any sort. They go to great lengths to avoid hassles, talking their way out of conflict. They are very
conforming and go with the flow versus doing it solo. Relaters are good listeners and ask more than tell.
Relaters are motivated by the relationship, hoping everybody will like them. They must be popular and
tend to make decisions slowly (indirect) so as to not offend or upset anyone with an unpopular decision.
When shopping, Relaters will often ask, "What's popular, what's selling?" The use of references is very
effective with Relaters”they build confidence in your product or service. Relaters like to be assured that
they are not the only ones using your product or service. Your proposal must support or enhance the
people side of the business, concentrating on harmony, security, and concrete benefits. Ask them
frequently about their opinions and ideas. In summary:
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How Will I Know When I See One?
There are two primary indicators of one's style, verbal and visual. As Tony Alessandra suggests, there
are "observable characteristics" for each style”visual indicators such as environment, dress, vehicle,
office, and how each verbalizes thoughts and ideas. As well, be cognizant of nonverbal gestures. By
observing how customers dress and express themselves, and by listening to how and what they say,
you will quickly begin to identify their styles. I suggest you begin by asking yourself, "Is he or she an
introvert or an extrovert?" These traits can be rather obvious in their approach, dress, and work
environment. Look around their corporate livingroom (office) and observe what is and isn't there,
including pictures, awards, certificates, type of furniture, toys, bric-a-brac, and so on. Then narrow it
down to a particular quadrant, keeping in mind that each individual exhibits characteristics and
behaviors from each quadrant. People are not restricted to the conduct associated with just one style.
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Different Versus Difficult
Know the difference between different and difficult. Unfortunately, it seems that few people do. We are
often too quick to label someone as "difficult" when they act or behave in a manner contrary to our
behavior. You see, people are not difficult, they are just different. It's far too easy to label them as
difficult, rather than make the effort to understand them and appreciate their differences. That's what
makes this tool such an asset to your professional equity. Understand that people”your customers”
are different. The key to a lasting, trusting relationship is an adaptation to their style. Abraham Lincoln
once said, "I don't like that man very much; I need to get to know him better." What a great concept,
one from which we could all benefit.

As a new salesperson with a company, you may have heard (or even said) this: "Don't bother going to
see Hank at XYZ Company. He is such a jerk and a real tough guy to get along with. Plus, he never
buys anything”he's always just looking." Hank may very well be a jerk (they do exist) but chances are
that Hank is simply a different style type. Hank is probably a neat guy once you get to know him. A
case in point: I recently received a call from an excited graduate of my sales program. She was ecstatic
because she had just confirmed business with an account that had been labelled indifferent and not
likely to buy from her. She persevered, and with the help of behavioral flexibility she secured a $100,000
account. Not a bad return on her training investment.
Another important aspect of successful adaptation is your willingness and confidence to stretch your
comfort zone. As discussed in Chapter 2, stretching your comfort zone is one of the pillars of success,
and is certainly a necessary attitude for successful implementation of behavioral flexibility. We must be
willing and able to stretch our range to accommodate other people's styles.

So who makes the best salesperson? Before I answer this common question, put the book down and
give it some thought. I'll wait.

The answer is ... the chameleon”the salesperson who can readily adapt to the style of each customer.
It doesn't matter which style you are. What matters is how quickly and comfortably you can adapt to
the style of the person you are interacting with, at home or at work.
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General Observations
At this point you are probably getting a good appreciation for differences among the four behavioral
styles. To further crystallize your understanding, I offer these real-world, everyday scenarios:
Reading a Newspaper
 Socializers look for stories about the party they were at the previous night. They do
things that get themselves in the paper. They scan the entire paper looking for
interesting, current-event articles. They read the Entertainment section.
 Directors mainly read the headlines and the business section. They then turn to the
sports section to read about athletic accomplishments.
 Thinkers call the newspaper if a word is incorrectly spelled or a story is inaccurate.
 Relaters look for a popular, current event story to discuss at the office water cooler.
They check the obituaries to see if they know anyone.
Golfing
 Socializers spend more time in the clubhouse talking and welcoming new members.
Their "almost a hole in one" story is repeated frequently for the benefit of new
members.
 Directors drive the cart and frequently try to play through.
 Thinkers keep score for the group and often refer to the rule book. They keep their
clubs clean too.
 Relaters play regularly with the same foursome, usually offering to buy the beverages
at the 19th hole.
Grocery Shopping
 Socializers approach the "fewer than 9 items" checkout line, begin a conversation
and compare the fun stuff in other shopping carts. They hold up the line by conversing
with the cashier about upcoming holidays.
 Directors approach and barrel through the "fewer than 9 items" line with 15 items.
After all, it was the shortest line.
 Thinkers approach the same checkout line wrestling with the correct thing to do. "Are
the eggs one item, or 12?" They also count items in other carts and if they are over
the limit, they become irritated.
 Relaters approach the "fewer than 9 items" line, count the items, and take comfort
knowing they have only eight. If they have ten items, they move to another line.
The Desk
 Socializers say: "I'm busy right now. Give me a few minutes and I'll get back to you."
They don't know where the item is on their desk, but won't admit it.
 Directors have a clean desk, one file out at a time. Nothing else is on the desk. Even
their telephone is on the credenza behind them.
 Thinkers say, "It's the third report down in that pile." The desk is messy, with
Post-It-Notes and files everywhere, but they know exactly where everything is.
 Relaters have everything in place, with the most impressive, business-related file in
full view. A family picture and a picture of him or her shaking hands with a celebrity is
in a prominent position. Relaters have a separate table for visitors rather than sitting
at their desk.
Cooking
 Socializers like to cook for groups. They prepare an extra place at the table just in
case company stops by. They go out rather than cook for one.
 Directors can't cook without a microwave. They buy single portions. Cooking is
viewed as a functional necessity versus a social event.
 Thinkers cook with a cookbook, a timer, and a measuring cup. Directions are
followed exactly, with no deviations allowed.
 Relaters like to prepare a meal from scratch using a dozen standard recipes, taking
the best from each and using the most popular ingredients.
Elevators
 Socializers let everyone in, saying, "Always room for one more, the more the
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merrier." They ignore the "max limit" sign and hand out business cards on the way
down.
Directors walk up, push the button, wait impatiently, get in and speak to no one. If

running late, they take the stairs.
Thinkers enter, but if it's crowded they count the number of people. If over the limit,

they will ask someone to leave.
Relaters hold the door for others and ensure they're the last ones on, in case it's full.

They don't want to crowd anybody. If so, they will wait for the next elevator. They
smile at everyone on the trip down.

The development of any new skill takes practice, and lots of it. The first step requires your personal
commitment to this challenge and belief in the behavioral flexibility principles. I strongly encourage you
to accept this opportunity to strengthen your relationship competencies and develop your interpersonal
skills. Let's face it, you and your customer become the beneficiaries.

I suggest you practice by identifying the styles among members of your family, coworkers, and friends.
At your next social event, sit back and consciously observe people, their dress, their actions, how and
with whom they converse, and so on. You'll be amazed at how much behavioral flexibility is real world
and how people quickly reveal their predominant style.

As a guideline to practice, ask yourself these questions:
 Are they introvert or extrovert?
 Do they appear to be direct or indirect?
 How are they dressed?
 What is their predominant quadrant?
Remember, there is nothing mysterious about behavioral flexibility. It's about treating people the way
they want to be treated. Everybody is different and no two customers are the same. Whether the person
is dominant or shy, you will have the confidence and specific strategies for dealing successfully with
that individual. Remember, people are not difficult”just different. After all, variety is the spice of ...
sales! A footnote: Don't consider this chapter as your only resource to develop your behavioral flexibility
skills. There are many good publications dedicated to the subject and I suggest you consider building
your own library on this subject. See the bibliography.
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