Know Your Prospect’s Communication Style


Know your prospects’ communication styles

  • When someone says emotive, directive, reflective and supportive, more likely, the first thought that comes to the mind of a typical sales and marketing professional just starting out is psychology. The truth, however, is that knowing how individuals fit within a specific communication style can help a professional secure their next opportunity.

Each individual has their own communication style which makes up a unique part of a personal and professional brand. Knowing where a prospect falls can help determine how to sell a product, solution, or an individual.

Sometimes, it’s easy to forget to take this first step. Fortunately, it’s simple to make the determination. First, think of where a prospect falls within two different spheres of dominance. They include:

  • Lower dominance and social tendencies – A lower dominance individual lets others take control, and are lower in their assertiveness; being prone to suggestion. In social settings, they tend not to make a splash, acting conservative.
  • Higher dominance and social tendencies – A higher dominance individual tends to take a command and control approach, guided by emotion.

Once a determination has been made, the next step will be to figure out which communication style the prospect falls under. This will then allow for the determination of the best way to approach selling their product, service, or professional brand.

The Emotive

The emotive individual is classified as a highly dominant and highly sociable individual. When this individual goes to a party, they dominate the conversation with stories of their latest personal and professional conquests.

Unfortunately, this also means that they cannot separate professional and personal beliefs. This leads to them expressing strong opinions based on their own point of view to the point of becoming offensive.

To sell to an emotive, a professional must do the following:

  • Move at a pace that holds the attention of the prospect. This will stop the prospect from dominating the conversation.
  • Be enthusiastic, as emotive individuals tend to buy into enthusiasm as a sign of positivity.
  • Plan actions that provide support for the opinions of an emotive, but be prepared to get the prospect back on track if they go off topic.

The Directive

Individuals who are classified as being directive are usually in charge of every facet of operations, appearing quite busy. They might not give the impression of listening, but at the end, they are listening very intently and evaluating you appropriately.

To sell to a directive, a professional must:

  • Keep the relationship as businesslike as possible. In the beginning, a directive is not interested in personal relationships. Keep the personal side out of the equation.
  • Be as efficient and time disciplined as possible. An agenda approach might work to keep things moving along. It’s all about the structure and an end goal.
  • Present facts, talk to goals and ask questions. Directives appreciate the learning process, as they have needed to go through that same process themselves.

The Reflective

A reflective individual tends to be on the lower side of the dominance and social scales. However, these individuals will examine all facets carefully before arriving at a decision. They show little emotion and display a preference to orderliness

To sell to a reflective, a professional must:

  • Keep things well organized and keep a no-nonsense approach – slowly going through the information in a deliberate fashion.
  • Arrive at meetings on-time and be prepared. Otherwise, a meeting with a reflective will not last too long.

The Supportive

The supportive individual is easy to listen to and usually does not express their views in forceful ways. However, while they are quiet and reserved, they are listening intently, evaluating a professional, his or her product, and solution.

To sell to a supportive, one must:

  • Take the time to build a social relationship with the individual and learn more about them.
  • Provide personal assurances that they are making the right decision and at the end, support the views of the individual.

In the end, knowing the right communication styles is critical. Whether targeting a prospect in a sales call, or a new job opportunity, how an individual communicate with the four different communicative styles will differentiate and help to solidify a brand, thus landing new opportunities in the future.

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