Dissecting Buyer Personalities for Fun & Profit!

Welcome back, everyone!

Over the last couple weeks we talked about the four dominant personality types (DISC) and how to reach them on an emotional level using the “AIDA” formula.

For this week I had planned on taking a look at questions you need to ask your clients that will help you understand who they are, what they do, who their competitors are, the benefits of their product or service, and who their target audience is.

But as they say (or at least used to say…) in the newspaper business, “Hold the presses!”

Due to a couple great questions that were raised pertaining to DISC and AIDA, we’re going to hold off on examining that client questionnaire and instead stay on the current topic for another week…or as long as it takes. (Remember what I said early on … I’m just steering the ship, it’s you guys that tell me the direction we go in!)

So let’s tackle what I consider the tougher of the two questions first:

In regard to the four primary types of buyers (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Compliance), Chris asked how we’re supposed to tell which personality style we are dealing with, short of testing them.

Great question, Chris, and thanks for taking the time to post it.

What I do is try to build a profile of the ideal buyer from any and all information I can collect about him or her. This can come from a number of sources, including the questionnaire I referred to above, interviews with my client, past marketing materials, forums and blogs, online surveys, and the information that’s found on a buyer data card, if one is available.

Buyer data cards, by the way, will often provide information beyond a prospect’s gender, age, marital status and income. You may also learn about his political affiliations, net worth, and perhaps some of his beliefs and views. Sometimes you’ll even get data on other products he buys, how often he buys them, and how much he spends. This is all great information when it comes to figuring out what makes the buyer tick on an emotional level.

A lot of determining what personality style your buyer is comes down to good old common sense. For example, let’s say you’re selling a new business accounting software package that promises to save accounting time and make money for the business.

You could conceivably target your promotion to the owner of the company (Dominance) who wants to see bottom line results, or the MIS techie (Compliance) that’s going to implement the new software. You might even target a company’s purchasing director (Influence) who would then make his or her case to the company owner.

I would think all roads ultimately lead to the owner here, however, who will want to explore anything that gives his or her company a competitive edge and that saves money. So with that in mind, I’d craft a results-driven campaign that targets business owners and that focuses on solving the logistical problems of managing the day-to-day operation of a business.

Is that to say you can’t appeal to the techies and buyers? Absolutely not! But you’d have to taylor your approach to each of them in a different way than you approached the owner.

Remember, people want to buy from people they like, people they feel speak their “language,” and people they feel are like them. Get on the same page with your target buyer and you’re halfway there!

Speaking of selling beauty products…

Well, we actually weren’t speaking of selling beauty products, were we? But since “online sales architect” posed a great question, let’s start talking about them now!

Specifically, the question was “How would you use this (meaning the DISC theory) in a situation such as selling beauty products in an online catalog?

Assuming the readers of this catalog are consumers looking to purchase beauty products to use in the home, I think this is a clear case of appealing to the Steadiness group (by far the largest of our DISC categories…) who first looks for loyalty, benefits, and traditional procedures. Knowing this, we can then detail a step-by-step process (within the constraints of the catalog’s space, of course…) that guarantees value and the desired results.

The flip side of the coin here might be a beauty product catalog targeting corporate buyers, such as for Macys or Lord & Taylor. In that case we’d switch gears over to the Influence or perhaps the Compliance modes.

How might the copy then be changed from that of the Steadiness consumer group?

Well, you’d still need to list the benefits of the product, but you might not focus as much on end-user benefits as you would focus on study group results, pricing structures, quantity discounts, and other factors that might influence a large scale buying decision.

Again, understanding these four basic personalities, and knowing which one (or ones!) that you’re writing to will go a long way toward making your copy as effective as it can be, and thus helping you to become a wealthy web writer!

Let me know what you think, and as always…

Good health and good writing!

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Published: July 29, 2009

3 Responses to “Dissecting Buyer Personalities for Fun & Profit!”

  1. Thanks for the clarification and responsiveness. It's great to know there's a new forum for online copywriters. There hasn't really been anyplace to go since Michael Fortin's Copywriter's Forum shut down.


  2. Each author is classifying prospects on different criteria and giving different classes. Perhaps each of them contains some truth.

    Jawaharlal Jasthi 36

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