Published: 16 Jun 2023
Updated: 06 Jun 2024
Category: Business Development

12 Customer Personality Types & How to Handle Them


Your product or service solves a problem. That’s what your pitch is all about – helping the customer meet a desire, fix an issue, or make an improvement. The better you can do that, the more successful you are.

The key to doing this is to understand your customers. Who they are, what they want, and how they behave. The more you know, the better. So, that’s where customer personalities come in. By categorizing customers into personality profiles, you can tailor your strategy to appeal to each profile.

This guide explores the different customer personality types and how best to handle them.


Why Understanding Different Customer Types is Crucial

Understanding customer personalities is the first step in personalisation, and it has numerous benefits:

•    Enhances the customer experience, leaving customers satisfied.
•    Improves engagement and builds trust with your brand.
•    This leads to better retention rates and increased brand loyalty.
•    Finally, you’ll have increased sales and revenue.

One survey found that 71% of consumers expect personalisation and 76% are frustrated when they don’t receive it. The same goes for the boardroom – whether you are selling a product to the general public or offering a partnership to another business, personalising your strategy increases engagement and boosts your chances of success.


1. The Analytical

People who possess this personality look for facts and figures in a sales presentation. In a post written by HubSpot’s Leslie Ye, she explains that people with this personality type do advanced research on business contact prior to the initial interaction. Analytics prefer to have more profound knowledge about the subject before being convinced about a particular matter. They verify each bit of information and focus more on the brand’s features to ensure its quality and efficiency. These customers rely primarily on their logical thinking rather than their emotional side when making decisions.

How to handle:

Focus on providing information relevant to what your business can do for them. Use qualitative and statistical data that shows exact representations of facts to attract attention and stir interest. As these people are information-oriented and have a keen eye for detail, you need to be specific and direct when delivering your pitch. Expect questions and clarifications during the selling process. This indicates that they’re interested in knowing more about your business. Be patient, as analytical customers are slow decision-makers.


2. The Amiable

Individuals with amiable personalities are regarded as respectful, sociable, and trustworthy. Given their natural inclination towards building and nurturing relationships, they prioritize establishing trust and rapport with other professionals over analytical thinking. When conducting business transactions, they are more likely to consider the extent to which a potential partner values relationship-building instead of simply meeting their expectations as a buyer.

How to handle:

To effectively engage with amiable individuals, it is essential to cater to their specific needs by providing comprehensive answers to their queries. By creating a favourable and lasting impression, you can establish yourself as a likeable and approachable business partner. Asking relevant questions and demonstrating a genuine interest in their experiences with a particular product can help foster a more profound sense of connection and appreciation. Additionally, introducing colleagues who can provide further assistance and support in their decision-making process can go a long way towards building a solid and mutually beneficial relationship.


3. The Expressive

People with expressive personalities mostly use their creative side to voice out their opinions on a particular topic. They’d prefer to share their own perspective rather than ask for additional information when presented with facts. However, they know how to show respect as much as they want to be respected. Similar to those with an amiable personality, they place importance on relationships. They value the welfare of the people affected by their choices. Unlike analytical and amiable customers, expressive individuals are fast decision-makers.

How to handle:

Tell relevant stories about the topic and to each concerned individual. You can also share your experiences to help them understand what’s being discussed. Focus on showing what your business can do for them while concentrating on a possible outcome they may encounter after the purchase. Connect with them and establish a deeper level of relationship by tapping into their emotions. While facts and other data can help, this type of customer sets their mind on making and fulfilling decisions that people will love.


4. The Driver

People with this personality are primarily self-centered and opinionated. They find pleasure in manipulating a pitch that identifies them as reasonable and authoritative. According to speaking expert Rick Segel, drivers expect all information to be delivered in the quickest way possible because they are goal-oriented. They’re commanding in nature and motivated to achieve their objectives. They want immediate answers and solutions. They also value competence as much as they value expertise and preparation. Similar to expressive customers, drivers are fast decision-makers.

How to handle:

Get straight to the point when expounding on your pitch. Be direct without compromising the clarity and quality of your performance. Provide facts and evidence to help them easily understand your message and make quick decisions. Mentioning irrelevant or unnecessary information will only waste both your time and effort. So, be careful to give what’s needed in a particular discussion. Highlight how your business will enable them to reach their goals and help them stand out from the competition.


5. The Skeptic

The skeptic type of customer is, as described, very skeptical. These types of people are highly critical, observant, and need convincing before they’ll take the leap. During a pitch or meeting, the skeptic will question every sentence, fact, figure, and opinion. Trust does not come easy to the critical thinker either. If they ask questions, they’ll expect direct and quick responses. They value confidence and concrete evidence – the skeptic can be incredibly challenging if you have neither.

How to handle:

To handle the skeptic, take a particular fact-based approach. You need to tell it like it is without being rude. Don’t beat around the bush or attempt to hide away specific points – the skeptic will spot this immediately and you’ll lose all trust. Instead, avoid jargon and make sure everything you say is backed up with evidence. Answer their questions directly and provide context without getting carried away with unimportant details.


6. The Bargainer

Bargainers, particularly hard bargainers, can be intimidating customers to work with. This customer type is after a deal – they want to feel they are getting value at a discount. Like the kid who always wants to be unique, the bargainer isn’t happy until they feel they’ve received special treatment to get a deal no one else has. They will be unyielding and aggressive in a professional manner. Although challenging to handle, they aren’t totally unreasonable.

How to handle:

First, preparation is vital for this customer. Research their aims, goals, history and values so you are better prepared to offer them the ‘deal of a lifetime’. Never enter the pitch by offering your best deal or bottom line – the bargainer wants to negotiate the deal down and will feel unsatisfied if they cannot. You should also attempt to build trust but keep your emotions in check. It may get heated, but keeping calm and professional is essential.


7. The Loyalist

This type of customer has all their needs met by your brand or pitch and wants to work with you. They are satisfied with your service and will repeatedly return for more…so long as their needs are met. While loyal customers are highly profitable and great for business, their loyalty shouldn’t be taken for granted. A once-loyal customer who is wronged or dissatisfied will be the first to share this experience with others.

How to handle:

The key is to keep things personalised and make the customer the priority. Set up a personalised marketing campaign, or tailor your pitch to the specific individual. The experience needs to feel smooth and show that you value them – they should walk away satisfied. Loyal customers are willing to forgive minor grievances, but poor customer service or meeting participants who don’t maintain that personalised vibe are typically where mistakes are made, and loyal customers are lost.


8. The Impulsive

The impulsive customer type is fast-moving – they make decisions on the fly and rarely stop to think twice. In a business meeting or pitch, the impulsive individual may settle on the first deal you present. As a customer, the impulsive individual will buy what is marketed to them first. However, if there is a slight roadblock in the way or too many hoops to jump through, they will decide not to proceed just as quickly.

How to handle:

The impulsive customer is a double-edged sword because they are so fast-acting and tend to stick with their decision either way.  To ensure that their impulsivity works in your favour, ensure that the path to purchasing a product or making a deal is smooth and easy. Start with clear, concise and benefit-oriented information, to instantly grab attention, and then make it simple to close the deal – one click buy, or 'sign here'


9. The Novice

The novice customer may be new to your business or the entire industry. Their beginner status is their defining characteristic, which will drive their actions as purchasers or potential business partners. To win over the novice, they’ll need to feel confident not only in your pitch but also in themselves. They likely don’t have an in-depth knowledge of the topic at hand and don’t want to feel out of place.

How to handle:

To convince the novice customer, you need to be friendly, confident, and transparent with your pitch. However, it is equally important not to over-explain the basics or talk down to the novice – this can quickly go from helpful to patronizing. All their questions and concerns must be answered for success, but they may be reluctant to vocalize them immediately. Preempt as much as possible and create a dedicated time for Q&As. Providing printed resources will be appreciated.


10. The Expert

Just like the novice, the experience level of this customer is their defining characteristic. Keep in mind that the expert will likely have other customer types present too (their expert status gives them the confidence to be demanding or a bargainer). In general, the expert is highly knowledgeable and self-assured. They’ll spot any errors or areas of weakness. They may also be stuck in their ways and less open to innovative new ideas.

How to handle:

Maintain a balance of respect for their knowledge and confidence in your own, especially when introducing new ideas or products. They are likely already aware of product/service/partnership pitfalls and know what your competitors are offering – they’ve done their research. So, bring logical arguments and fact-based information with studies, reports and stats to back up your offer. Many experts value building relationships, particularly if you can match their expertise.


11. The Indecisive

Indecisive customers are non-committal. They don’t know what they want, and they struggle to commit to any product, service or solution you offer. Some indecisive customers aren’t quite sure what they want or what their issue is at all. Rather than giving a firm yes or no answer to your questions, they will dart around the topic and pick at any potential problems they spot.

How to handle:

First, stay patient. Showing impatience or trying to force the customers’ hand can push them away – remember that if they’re indecisive, they could decide to go another route altogether. Tailor your pitch to help the customer identify their wants and problems. Asking open-ended questions can help you investigate the customer’s thought process, spot any concerns that you can negate, and help build their confidence in what you’re offering. Many indecisive customers just need to build a little trust in your brand to take the leap.


12. The Demanding

Finally, demanding customers. The demanding customer type asks for special treatment beyond what is standard – and often beyond what is possible. Accustomed to a “the customer is always right” approach from other businesses, demanding customers may not even realize that their demands are unreasonable. They are used to getting their way and often become angry when that doesn’t happen. Demanding customers are some of the most frustrating you will face.

How to handle:

Whether you’re facing a demanding consumer in your store or a demanding investor in a business pitch, the key is to be upfront and transparent. Manage expectations by outlining what exactly you offer customers. For example, bumping the customer up to a premium plan or product may be possible, but creating a custom plan and catering to their every whim sets a very dangerous precedent. With firm boundaries in place, use empathy and problem-solving skills to help the customer find a different solution. If they’re still unreasonable, it may be time to walk away.


The Takeaway: Be Flexible

To successfully deliver a pitch or sell your product, you need to be flexible. The content may be the same, but the delivery should vary significantly. Personalising your pitch can improve engagement and success.

Keep in mind that people rarely fit into neatly defined boxes. You’ll come across demanding experts, indecisive novices, analytical bargainers, and endless other combinations. Use our 12 customer profiles to formulate a plan for your pitch, then tailor it to the individual. Refine and improvise on the go, using your knowledge of how to handle different customer personalities to your advantage!


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Loyalty programs to build customer retention  How Small Businesses Can Use Loyalty Programs to Build Customer Retention



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