Sales Discovery: Buyer Styles

In Lead Management, Sales by JimBarker22

Your success or failure in sales begins with the information you glean about the potential buyer the moment you meet. This data will aid you in defining the buyer’s style, or persona, so you can tailor your pitch to speak a language they understand. Buyers tend to fall into one of four categories, which have distinct tell-tale signs.


  • Characteristics: Drivers are buyers who are in the market for change, because previous products or systems don’t fulfill their needs. Drivers derive fuel from a strong sense of urgency, and they want to know how your products or services are going to make an impact TODAY.
  • What To Look For: Drivers often seem distracted, since they spend most of their days balancing many initiatives at once. A Driver will ask questions about the “big picture” value you can offer the company, but doesn’t want you to drone on about details.
  • How To Present: Your presentation needs to have the same sense of urgency a driver feels. Use concrete numbers and dates, and emphasize a timeline of product or service delivery.


  • Characteristics: This type of buyer wants to think of business arrangements as relationships. They only feel comfortable doing business with someone when they feel a personal connection.  Prepare to talk about your family or pets.
  • What To Look For: An initial meeting with a Friend is a laid-back affair, rarely over a desk. If you are more than five minutes into the sales call, and you’re still making small talk, you’re dealing with a Friend.
  • How To Present: Friends need to know that your company will take care of them after you make the sale. Emphasize the customer service and support aspects of your business. Visual aids are also important, serving as talking points that Friends latch on to.


  • Characteristics: Controllers don’t like the fact that you’ve interrupted their day to talk about some new product or service. They are busy people who have better things to do than listen to your pitch.
  • What To Look For: The four most common words to come out of a controller’s mouth are “You’ve got five minutes.” If a controller does respond to you, it will likely be to ask about results.
  • How To Present: Unlike the Driver, the Controller wants to know about the details.  When dealing with a controller, arrive to the presentation earlier than normal, come prepared and be succinct.


  • Characteristics: Deliberators see a problem from all sides, and want to work through all permutations before arriving at a solution. They may seem disengaged when you speak to them, but that’s because their mind is busy analyzing what you have to say.
  • What To Look For: A Deliberator will seem quiet or disinterested during your meeting, to a point where he or she seems to be staring off into space. This is a prelude to a probing set of question that will make or break your sale.
  • How To Present: You must know your products, services, and numbers. Deliberators want to think that you’ve thought through their questions before coming to the meeting. You’ll want to include extra time for questions.

From the first contact with a prospective buyer you gain invaluable insight into that person’s buying habits. When you use this information to craft a sales pitch that speaks to their personality, your success rate will soar.

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