On several occasions recently I have found myself discussing the work of psychologists David Merrill and Roger Reid, and although it is some 30 years old, it is still fascinating stuff. According to Merrill and Reid, there are four social styles: Analyticals, Drivers, Expressives and Amiables. Each has its own unique language, thought processes and approach to business. The best sales professionals recognize which personality they are dealing with and adapt their approaches and communication styles accordingly.
Here’s a breakdown of the four types:
1. The Driver. Drivers are action- and goal-oriented, strive for results and react quickly. They are decisive, independent, disciplined, practical and efficient. They typically use facts and data, speak and act quickly, lean forward, point and make direct eye contact. Their body posture is often rigid and they have controlled facial expressions.
They rarely want to waste time on personal talk or trivialities and can be perceived by other styles as dominating, harsh or severe. They are comfortable in positions of power and control and they have businesslike offices with certificates and commendations on the walls. In times of stress, Drivers may become autocratic.
2. The Analytical. Analyticals are concerned with being organized, having all the facts and being careful before taking action. They need to be accurate, precise, orderly and methodical. They conform to standard operating procedures, organizational rules and historical ways of doing things. They typically have slower reaction times and work more carefully than Drivers. They are perceived as serious, industrious, persistent and exacting.
Usually, they are task-oriented, use facts and data and tend to speak slowly. They lean back and use their hands frequently. They do not make direct eye contact or control their facial expressions. Others may see them as stuffy, indecisive, critical, picky and moralistic. They are comfortable in positions in which they can check facts and figures and be sure they are right. They have neat, well-organized offices and in times of stress, Analyticals tend to avoid conflict.
3. The Expressive. Expressives enjoy involvement, excitement and interpersonal interaction. They are sociable, stimulating, enthusiastic and good at involving and motivating others. They are idea-oriented, have little concern for routine, are focused on the future and have quick reaction times. They need to be accepted by others and tend to be spontaneous, outgoing, energetic and friendly. They are focused on people rather than on tasks. Typically, they use opinions and stories rather than facts and data. They speak and act quickly, vary vocal inflection, lean forward, point and make direct eye contact.
They use their hands while talking and have a relaxed body posture and an animated expression. Their feelings often show in their faces and they are perceived by others as excitable, impulsive, undisciplined, dramatic, manipulative, ambitious, egotistical and overly reactive. They often have disorganized offices that contain leisure equipment such as golf clubs or tennis racquets. Under stressful conditions, Expressives tend to resort to personal attack.
4. The Amiable. Amiables need co-operation, personal security and acceptance. They are uncomfortable with and will avoid conflict at all costs. They value personal relationships, helping others and being liked. Some Amiables will sacrifice their own desires to win approval from others. They prefer to work with other people in a team effort, rather than individually, and have unhurried reaction times. They are unconcerned with effecting change. Typically, they are friendly, supportive, respectful, willing, dependable and agreeable. They are also people-oriented.