The 4 Most Common Buyer Types In Sales (And How To Sell To Them!)

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

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One feature of modern, relationship-selling is that we need to understand about peoples’ preferred buying behaviour if we are to sell to more of them.

It is a fact that people buy differently. They can be known as buyer types. Some people prefer to buy quickly, others slowly.

Some people need a lot of information and detail, for others a sheet of A4 with bullet points is all the information they need.

Some buyer types make purchases on impulse; other buyer types take their time and try to avoid risk.

Some buyer types are very loyal; other buyer types will automatically choose the cheapest option.

Some can be quite intimidating to the point of being rude; others are quite passive and easily manipulated.

This makes selling a real challenge, and understanding different buyer types may help us.

To sell to all these different buyer types we need to be able to adapt our selling behaviour and make the buying process easy for each type of buyer we come across. You’re only going to be able to achieve this by asking some quality, probing sales questions so you can unearth what type of buyer they are and how they want to be sold to.

This applies to whether we sell to them face to face, virtually, through email, social or via the telephone.

Buyer Type Behaviour

To begin this process, we need to look at 2 aspects of buyer type behaviour; assertiveness and responsiveness.

People who are assertive are confident and know what they want.

  • They are not afraid to put forward opinions and are willing to listen to the opinions of others.
  • They are not afraid of conflict and will be more than happy to argue their case.
  • People who are highly assertive can be seen as being aggressive while people who lack assertiveness are often passive and get taken advantage of.
  • There are times when it is appropriate to be more or less assertive and we need to recognise when these times are.

Responsiveness means the extent to which people are willing to respond to us and our questions.

  • Some people are highly responsive and will give lots of information about themselves, their problems and needs.
  • Others are unwilling or unable to respond in this way and we see these people often as being negative or difficult.

There are four basic styles of behaviour and these are determined by the way, in which people relate to one another. Let’s look at four types of buyers in sales, and how we can deal with them:

The 4 Buyer Types

The Analytical Buyer

People who lack assertiveness and responsiveness are called Analyticals.

  • The analytical buyer distrusts salespeople because they lack precision.
  • Analyticals like to analyse and compare things.
  • They take their time and are wary of making quick decisions.
  • They deal in facts and like things to be objective rather than subjective.
  • They tend not to confident in social situations and hate small talk.
  • They avoid risk taking and like things to be put in writing and in detail.
  • They find salespeople to be intimidating especially if they feel under pressure.
  • Their main tactic for getting rid of salespeople is to stop replying to their voice mails.

How to deal with the analytical buyer….

  • Don’t push them into making quick decisions
  • Take your time – slow down
  • Take action rather than words to demonstrate helpfulness and willingness
  • Stick to specifics – analyticals expect salespeople to exaggerate
  • Their decisions are based on facts and logic and they avoid risk
  • They can often be very co-operative, but established relationships take time
  • Consider telling them what the product won’t do – they will respect you for it, and they will have spotted the deficiencies anyway
  • Discuss reasons and ask `why?’ questions

Let’s look another buyer type:

The Amiable Buyer

The amiable buyer is highly responsive, but not very assertive.

  • They are very friendly, good in social situations and prefer friendly relationships to conflict.
  • Many salespeople are amiable in their nature.
  • Amiable buyers lack assertiveness so will agree to appointments and meetings, but are they wasting your time?
  • They tell you what the competition are up to, but what are they telling the competition about you?
  • Look after your amiable customers.
  • They are loyal and unlikely to move to a competitor because that involves a certain degree of conflict and they hate giving bad news.
  • They are nice people to be around, but find difficulty saying no and in negotiations tend to give everything away.

How to deal with the amiable buyer…

  • Be their friend
  • Work, jointly, seek common ground
  • Find out about personal interests and family
  • Use personal assurance and specific guarantees and avoid options and probabilities
  • Take time to be agreeable
  • Focus discussions on `how’
  • Demonstrate low risk solutions

Here’s another different type of buyer:

The Expressive Buyer

The expressive buyer is highly assertive and highly responsive.

  • They are impulse buyers with low boredom thresholds and a short attention span.
  • They love to buy concepts and will make quick, if not always good, decisions.
  • They don’t want a lot of detail and will not read detailed proposals.
  • They are not good listeners and like brainstorming sessions.
  • They are confident and flamboyant, but not great when it comes to detailed thought and analysis.
  • In negotiations they start off strong but get bored and will often make a concession just to get things over with.
  • Expressive buyers generally tend to buy on the day.
  • Get some sort of commitment from them while you can.
  • Once you have gone they will be moving on to their next project and will have forgotten about you.

How to deal with expressive buyer…

  • Look for the flip chart in their office
  • Let them do the work. Ask open questions
  • Seek opinions in an area you wish to develop to achieve mutual understanding
  • Discussion should be people as well as fact oriented
  • Keep summarising – work out specifics on points of agreement
  • Try short, fast moving experience stories
  • Close them down today, get some commitment

There’s a fourth type of buyer that we can learn to know:

The Driver

The Driver is highly assertive, but not very responsive.

  • This is the typical negotiator.
  • Tough, uncompromising, doesn’t suffer fools gladly and determined to be in charge.
  • Drivers want to be in control and can appear to be aggressive if you don’t give them what they want.
  • They seem unfriendly at first and will impose time deadlines on meetings.
  • The Driver doesn’t want to be your friend, so the typical salesperson will irritate the Driver, who will often bully the salesperson into submission.
  • The Driver drives a hard bargain and wants to win.

How to deal with the drivers…

  • Be assertive. Use eye contact. Stand up for yourself
  • Plan to ask questions about and discuss specifics, actions and results
  • Use facts and logic
  • When necessary, disagree with facts rather than opinions
  • Keep it business-like, efficient and to the point
  • Personal guarantees and testimonials are least effective – better to
  • provide options and facts
  • Learn how to say no

How will we benefit from knowing and understanding these different buyer types?

Well, it will help us adapt to and negotiate with the person if we understand the type of buyer we are dealing with. Although it won’t always be easy to know which category a buyer falls under, knowing the main traits will assist us in developing our skillsets and working accordingly with their buyer type. This in turn will enable us to create an emotional selling proposition based on their preferences. It will have more meaning and relevance to them and for you it will help you to deliver exactly the right amount of sales logic vs emotion in the sale. Every buyer is different!

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Using Video Throughout Your Sales Process

So far we have talked about different buyer personas and how to sell to each.

Many of us have sold either face to face, through email, social media or over the telephone. One area that is gaining popularity each and every year is the use of video before, during and after the sales process.

If you think about it, on a video you can connect a lot better with someone on a personal level, you’ll see their body language and overall will build up a better sense of congruency and trust with your client.

If you can take your knowledge about different buyer types and couple it with using video then you can add a very powerful string to your bow in terms of your sales effectiveness.

It makes everything a little more personal no matter whether you’re speaking in detail or big picture. It just brings things to life.

Interesting research…

video sales research

This piece of research conducted by wyzowl illustrates that video is becoming more and more popular with sales and marketing teams.

63% of the organisations surveyed were using video in their sales and marketing efforts. This has increased to a lofty 87% by the end of 2019.


video closed rates analysed over 100,000 sales meetings to produce this piece of fascinating research.

They analysed sales meetings that used a webcam and those that didn’t.

The result?

Closed/Won deals 41% higher when a webcam was used throughout the sales process


video conversion

SalesLoft ran a pilot where sales reps used video within their sales process. Their sales reps would record static, personalised videos to use through the sales process. They could be to answer a question or to send along with a proposal.

The result?

The personalised videos resulted in a closing ratio of 75% which was far in excess of the current closing performance experienced by sales reps.


using video in email


Finally this piece of research hits home the importance of using video when prospecting via email and also throughout the sales process.

This research was conducted by

The results?

Open rates of emails improved by 19% by using the phrase “video” in the subject line.

Click through rates improved by 65% when there was a picture of the video in the actual email itself.

Unsubscribes reduced by 26% for those that used an autoresponder to send out the prospecting emails.

All in all it’s clear to see the positive impacts of using video during the sales process. Just make sure you couple it to the type of buyer that you are selling to.

Improve your sales performance

Take our Sales Courses Online and they will provide you with the sales techniques and strategies that you’re looking for. Our Selling Skills Training Courses are interactive and practical. If you’re in the retail industry please check your Retail Sales Training options.

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training

Sales DNA

Originally published: 16 April, 2019

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