Home Articles What sort of customer are you? Aggressive, expressive, passive or analytical?

What sort of customer are you? Aggressive, expressive, passive or analytical?


Have you ever wondered why you hit it off with some customers, while with others it’s like oil and water? It’s because we respond intuitively to the natural chemistry — or lack thereof — between temperament styles.

Research in the field of psychology tells us that we’re born into one of four primary temperament styles: aggressive, expressive, passive or analytical. Each requires a different approach and selling strategy.

A person’s temperament style is determined genetically and has nothing to do with astrology, age, gender, birth order or childhood experience. Our temperament style influences our behavioural traits, body language patterns and buying style, as well as our compatibility with other people.

Even with access to modern tools such as the internet, mobile, and emails — all designed to enhance communication — the number of failed relationships, dissatisfied employees and lost sales continue unabated. Why? Because the fundamental characteristics of human beings remain the same, regardless of the technologies available.

The following four styles have a direct influence on our customers’ physiology, character traits and outlook on life.

The Worker (Aggressive)

This style is comprised of people who are extroverted, determined, demanding, decisive, practical and self reliant.

The impatient and goal-oriented Worker prefers a quick, bottom line presentation style. They expect you to be on time and well prepared. They like it when you avoid small talk and get right down to business.

Workers are generally quick to make a decision. They are focused on results and ask ‘what’ questions. Keywords to use when presenting to a Worker are results, speed and control. Give them options so you don’t threaten their need for control.

The Talker (Expressive)

This style best represents a person who is enthusiastic, emotional, sociable, optimistic and disorganised.

The friendly Talker prefers a fast-paced presentation or sales approach. Talkers are quick to make a decision on your product/service and like to be involved in the process of the sale.

Talkers worry a lot about what others think — social acceptance is very important to them. They are opposite to the Worker.

Talkers ask ‘who’ questions. They are not detailed orientated and love to see the big picture. The more visual and expressive your presentation, the more attentive your customer will be.

The Watcher (Passive)

The complete opposite to the Talker is the Watcher.

Watchers are introverted, indecisive, patient and uninvolved. They like a slow-paced sales process that includes forming a connection before talking about business.

Watchers hate to be pressured and shy away from conflict. They ask a lot of ‘how’ questions to be assured that they’re making the right decision. They dislike having to make decisions and are natural born procrastinators who love the status quo.

The Thinker (Analytical)

The Thinker does exactly what the name suggests. They are introverted, thoughtful, organised, detailed and usually pessimistic. They like a detailed sales process that includes a lot of facts.

Given Thinkers are detail orientated they tend to ask a lot of ‘why’ questions. They take their time before making a buying decision and will not purchase until they have sufficient facts to justify the purchase they’re making.

Thinkers often get bogged down in detail because they like to avoid making mistakes. Close the sale with the Thinker by reducing their fear of making a mistake. Give them evidence, facts, testimonials and guarantees.

Knowing your customers’ personality type does not guarantee you the sale, but it does improve communication. And, as any good salesperson knows, you must first understand before you can be understood.

Alex Pirouz is the founder of RIDC Advisory Pty Ltd. A Business and Sales Advisory firm partnering with the top 1% of Australia’s largest and fastest growing companies to further increase their sales revenue. (Visit www.ridc.com.au for more details)