It doesn’t matter whether you work in retail or industry, customer contact is an integral part of the job. The people you come across may all seem different, but they all conform to certain stereotypes everyone will be familiar with. We have put together the 7 most typical customer types alongside advice on how best to deal with them. No doubt you have already met one or other of them already.
1. The know-it-all
As the name suggests, this type of customer thinks he knows more than you and is not averse to correcting you mid-flow. He barely lets you finish a sentence and is constantly interrupting. As a rule, the know-it-all is self-centered and over-confident. If you find yourself dealing with a know-it-all, make sure you keep your cool. Try to stroke his ego by agreeing with everything he says while presenting the counter argument as an extension of his own position. All he wants is to be proved right.
2. The ditherer
Not everyone likes making decisions and there are some people who waver at every turn. The ditherer thinks to himself: “I don’t know” or “I can’t make my mind up”. This should be seen as a cry for help. It is now up to you to make the decision easier for him or to take it out of his hands entirely. Present the options as you see them and steer him gently towards the one he will be most happy with.
3. The miser
Misers are experts in negotiating discounts. They will quite brazenly tell you: “I’ve seen that at xxx for 50 euros less”. If you cannot match the lower price you need to take a different tack. Explain why you can’t sell at that price and try to describe the benefits of your complete package. Perhaps you can persuade him to look at more than just price.
4. The complainer
The complainer is generous to a fault with criticism. He always finds something to complain about. Either the price is too high or he doesn’t like the colour, or he thinks the quality of the material is sub-par. You have very little chance of satisfying a customer like this. Keep calm and avoid head-on confrontation. Instead ask him to specify what he really wants and try to meet those needs.
5. The impatient customer
He is constantly under the gun. The impatient customer marches into the shop at full speed. His mobile phone is always in his hand or to his ear. There isn’t a second to waste when you are serving an impatient customer but make sure you serve him competently. The upside is that he makes decisions just as quickly.
6. The chatterbox
You know the entire life history of the chatterbox. They like to hijack your sales pitch to tell you all about themselves. Even if you are bored stiff, you should try and feign interest and let them talk. Take the opportunity to practice your listening skills by responding positively and asking the odd question but don’t forget that you still want to sell something.
7. The want-to-know-it-all
This customer wants to know everything down to the last detail. The want-to-know-it-all fires question after question at you and, like Columbo, always has one more question to ask. However, all of these questions do not necessarily mean he is interested in buying. He just wants some free advice before buying the product somewhere else. Unfortunately, you have no choice but to be friendly and answer him, however long it takes.
Categorizing customers according to the DISC behavioural model:
The theory behind the DISC behaviour assessment tool was first formulated by the psychologist William Marston. The model is used to draw up personality profiles and focuses on four basic personality traits: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness. Below we explain the character traits behind these headings and how they can help you when dealing with customers.
Someone with this character trait is determined, decisive, stubborn, demanding and results-oriented. Dominant people want to solve problems and work toward change. The like to question the status quo and modernize existing processes. They relish competition and like to challenge themselves to achieve their ambitious targets.You should be open with a dominant person and ask them direct questions to find out what they want. They generally make their minds up quickly but want to make the perfect choice among the top products.
The influencer is optimistic, friendly, talkative, emotional and spontaneous. People like this find it easy to talk to others and get to know people. They are open-minded and happy to say what they want and need. Influencers work well as part of a team. They are always full of energy and get-up-and-go.Because influencers like to talk, they can quickly go off-topic. You will need to keep bringing their attention back to the sales process. Offer this kind of customer a range of choices and tell them about the personal advantages of your products.
Loyal, helpful, patient, considerate and sympathetic are the traits possessed by steadfast personalities. They are not keen on change and thrive in a harmonious work climate. People like this need lots of encouragement and like to receive positive feedback about their work.The steadfast personality type likes to hear other people’s opinions because they find it difficult to make up their minds. They like to talk to friends, family and colleagues. Don’t push them into making a decision straight away.
Conscientious personalities are detail-oriented, analytical, thorough, careful and like to plan ahead. Organization and planning are all-important for conscientious people. They like to think things through and weigh up the pros and cons.If you want to sell something to someone with conscientious personality traits you need to be prepared. They like details and are very precise. Make sure you have facts and figures to hand and give them enough time to take them all in and make comparisons.