Know These 4 Personality Styles to Better Serve Your Customers

Know These 4 Personality Styles to Better Serve Your Customers

How lessons from a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst can help improve your sales and service numbers.

By Dave Foy, vice president of fixed operations at Quantum5

The auto industry accounts for approximately 3% of the total gross domestic product of the United States. In 2020, there were 286.9 million cars in the country. Today’s new car contains about 30,000 parts 2,000 components; and 10 million lines of software code; put another way, a new car is a computer on wheels. In fact, it is projected that, on average, electronic systems will account for half of the total price of a new car by 2030.

The wonders and promise of technology aside, dealerships are still in the people-pleasing business. And as complicated as today’s vehicles can get, people can be even more complicated.

With one in four American drivers planning to car shop in 2022, how can your staff be expected to effectively communicate with every new prospect or current customer, especially when dealing with so many challenging personalities?

Four Social Types

Let’s face it, data mining can only dig so far. At some point, when nurturing a customer relationship, you will need to communicate with that person directly, either face-to-face or by phone, text or email. The real beauty is, through such conversations, customers will often reveal to you how to sell to them as well as how they want to be treated. The key is to train your sales and service teams to recognize the four main social types (Analyticals, Amiables, Drivers, Expressives) and show them how to adapt their approach to successively communicate with each type.

These four social types were first identified and classified by legendary Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung. He added two modifying attributes: Assertiveness (how quickly does the person interact with their environment?) and Responsiveness (is the person more interested in tasks or people?).

  • Analyticals
    Analyticals are thinking-oriented. They control their emotions while working toward goals and maintaining interpersonal relationships. They live life according to logic, principles and facts. They prefer contact by email and text. Pitch saving face. Best communication strategy: evidence-based, short, accurate and to-the-point.
  • Amiables
    Amiables are relationship-oriented, supportive, likeable, warm and approachable. They embrace teamwork, are cooperative and slow to react. They prefer email and phone. Follow-up with support testimonials and guarantees. Pitch saving relationships. Best communication strategy: relationship-focused.
  • Drivers
    Drivers are action-oriented and spend their time “telling.” They are competitive and disciplined about time and prefer a do-it-my-way style. Drivers move quickly and take risks based on facts rather than emotion. Pitch saves time. Best communication strategy: short and to-the-point.
  • Expressives
    Expressives are connection-oriented, stimulating and personable. They openly display their emotions. Expressives react quickly and take risks based on opinions rather than facts. Pitch saves effort. Best communication strategy: quick stories and helpful emails.

Adapting Conversations to Fit Each Customer Type

Although the destination may be the same for all customers, getting there can take different routes. That’s why your staff must be trained to recognize social types and adapt their approach, as needed, to ensure a positive outcome.

Keep these tips in mind when working with prospects and customers:

  • Communicating with Analyticals. Be precise with your answers and remain calm during interactions. If meeting in person, dress more formally. Avoid casual chit chat. Stick to facts and figures. Explain the risks of each alternative to Analyticals, and encourage them to ask for information. Be well-prepared.
  • Communicating with Amiables. Focus on building a personal relationship with them. Create a safe environment where they feel comfortable sharing doubts. Do not force a decision and, instead, create mutual agreement along the way. Explain the risks associated with each option. Amiables tend to be risk-adverse, so make sure their decision has minimal risk.
  • Communicating with Drivers. Focus on results.Be direct. Make eye contact. Be confident of your answers. Don’t beat around the bush. Give minimal options (two). Ask for a decision and, above all, be organized.
  • Communicating with Expressives. Be personable and make the interaction fun. Talk about people and experiences. Ask about their dreams. When possible, incorporate real testimonials into your conversation. Try to create a balance between their visions and results. Start with their vision and move toward a goal.

Advocate for What Matters Most to the Customer

Today’s customer still wants what every consumer expects: accurate information, respect for their time, and a frictionless and gratifying dealership experience. In the words of Teddy Roosevelt, and often reiterated by leadership author John Maxwell: “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”

By making an effort to know and understand what matters most to your customers, you are telling them how much they matter to you.

Car shoppers may be attracted to the technology, but they will stick around for the relationship.


Dave Foy is the vice president of fixed operations at Quantum5 as well as the host of the Fixed Ops Mastermind podcast, you can reach him at [email protected].

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