I am finding that one of the most engaging areas of persuasive momentum that of buyer modality. I think this is because as we learn about it, we can instantly understand it from our own perspective as buyers.
Buyer modality is the application of behavioral patterns to identify buying behaviors. Its value lies in its basis on behaviors (what people do) not simply character traits. In marketing and sales, we care a lot about how people behave.
A great overview of buyer modalities can be found in Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg's book Waiting for your Cat to Bark? The Eisenbergs based their buyer-oriented modalities on psychologist Dr. David Keirsey's work linking human behavioral patterns to temperaments and character types.
|Eisenberg Buyer Modality||Keirsey Temperament|
What I like about Keirsey's work is that he helps us understand the distribution of the temperament types in the general population.
What I like about the Eisenbergs' work is that they take the information about each of the temperaments and boil it down to the implications of these behaviors in buyers.
This area of buyer modalities has stimulated some interesting discussions with my clients. In an effort to better understand the modalities, the first question that came to mind in a team of sales people was, "Which buyer modality am I?" One of the sales persons thought that he was a "spontaneous" buyer. Some of the others in the room questioned this. But as I asked questions about his buying habits, it became clear that he was really a "competitive" buyer.
As we talked through each modality, the discussion took an interesting turn. The question on the table was, "If I am a methodical buyer, what type of temperament do I want in my sales person?" This led to the question, "What type of temperaments do the majority of sales people have? Are they centered around one or two temperaments?"
Then the stories came out. We discussed the frustrations of having a sales person with a different temperament try to sell to us. The implication was that we would prefer a sales person with a temperament just like us because implicitly they would better understand what we wanted.
But the whole point in buyer modalities is that within each modality, we have insight into how the buyer will approach and likely behave during their buying process. If buyers stay pretty true to these modalities, we should be able to fairly easily identify a prospect's buyer modality. Once we understand his/her buying modality, we can customize our marketing and sales approach to better connect with them.
Now you are either going to love this or hate this. One the one hand, buyer modalities may help you boil down the seemingly endless variation of buyers into four different types. Simpler is better. But then you need to overlay the buyer modality with the buying process to really understand how to reach the buyer where they are. With an 8 step deliberated buying process, that means a lot more detail.
So, why would we go to the trouble to work through all of this buyer modality - buying process detail? For better results.
For marketing, that means significantly improved campaign results which generate more highly qualified leads. For sales, that means easier and shorter sales cycles. For the buyer, that means the creation of a valued relationship that satisfies their needs. Satisfied customers mean increased business revenues.
In upcoming blog entries, we will look at each of the four buyer modalities in more detail.