Four Different Buyer Styles

Here’s how to successfully pitch to each of them.

By Julie Hansen

Think back to your last four customers.  It’s likely they had different personalities.  Perhaps one was quite talkative and forthcoming, while another was quiet and guarded.  A third may have lit up when you were talking about the big picture and the fourth only showed interest when you got to the numbers.

Even customers in similar industries or roles can have dramatically different personalities.  And these personality styles—and how you react to them—can determine whether your meeting is successful or not.

The bottom line is this:  If you pitch the same way to each of your customers, you will leave money on the table.

Adjusting your pitch to your customer’s personality style doesn’t have to be as daunting as it sounds. Below are four customer personality styles based on Social Style Theory.  You’ll learn how to identify each style and what specific strategies are most effective when pitching them.

Four Buyer Personality Styles and Pitch Strategies

The Amiable Buyer

This is often the most confusing personality salespeople encounter. Amiable buyers are engaged, ask good questions, seem interested, even make promising statements—and then the deal goes nowhere. Why? Amiable types dislike conflict or disappointing others.

Here are some traits to look for: Amiable buyers are friendly and conversational, agree to meetings even when there’s no specific need, and often let the salesperson drive the meeting and have difficulty saying “no.”

Pitch Strategy for the Amiable Buyer

  • Verify needs, objectives, and timing. Reflect back what the buyer told you.
  • Watch for inconsistent body language and probe accordingly.
  • Make it easy for the buyer to disagree (“Some customers feel that this is something that they can put off…does that describe you?”).
  • Gain agreement on a specific, measurable call-to-action.

The Analytical Buyer

Like it says in the name, this buyer likes to analyze. Buyers in certain technical or financial roles often fall into this category, although you can find them anywhere.

Traits to look for:  These folks are detail-oriented, skeptical of vague statements and overzealous claims, and deal in facts. They like to analyze and compare. They are risk adverse and take time making decisions.

Pitch Strategy for the Analytical Buyer

  • Build your case logically and methodically.
  • Provide details and examples along the way.
  • Limit the hyperbole and stick to the facts.
  • Have sources ready. (These are the customers who will ask to see or want to double check your math!)
  • Use metrics and success stories to reduce perception of risk.

The Expressive Buyer

Many salespeople are also expressive personalities, which makes it easier for them to relate to this extroverted, outgoing buyer.

Some traits to look for here: Assertive and outgoing personalities, shorter-than-average attention spans—these are big-picture people. They can be impulsive and tend to make decisions quickly.

Pitch Strategy for the Expressive Buyer

  • Break your topics into smaller (two- to three-minute) chunks. A long monologue will lose this buyer right out of the gate.
  • Use a variety of engagement techniques (stories, questions, whiteboard, etc.) to maintain the Expressive Buyer’s attention.
  • Stay out of the weeds. Focus on the “what” not the “how.”
  • Summarize succinctly and often.
  • Get immediate commitment to the next step before you’re out of sight and out of mind!

The Driver Buyer

If you’re selling to a company, the higher you go in the organization, the more likely you are to find yourself seated across from a Driver. Direct and to the point, Drivers can be intimidating for inexperienced or unprepared sellers.

Driver traits to look for: They are assertive, and not afraid to state opinions or expectations. They place needs above relationships, are time-sensitive, and likes to be in control.  They are often a tough negotiator.

Pitch Strategy for the Driver Buyer

  • Cut to the chase. Start with what is of most interest to this customer—typically a key issue, an insight or benefit.
  • Focus on facts and results.
  • Be assertive. Stand your ground with a Driver or they will chew you up.
  • Use good eye contact.
  • Get comfortable with silence.


There are, of course, many variations of each style, but likely one of these personality styles will be dominant in your customer.

Learn to recognize what type of buyer you’re working with and use these pitch strategies to guide you to communicate more effectively and improve your chances for success.

Julie Hansen is a professional sales trainer, speaker, and author. She authored the book ACT Like a Sales Pro in 2011 and has been featured in Selling Power, Entrepreneur, and Sales and Service Excellence magazines. She can be reached at and

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