How to influence a potential customer that you’ve never met

Digital Transformation Digital Proposals
Secretary contacting a new customer

If you’re currently putting together remote sales proposals, then — as we’ve discussed before — you’ll want to make sure that your content comes across as personalized and authentically as possible.

The good news is that the two go hand in hand — so the more you can do to convince your target audiences that you’re speaking to them, the better your message is ultimately going to be received.

Another important factor to bear in mind is who is going to be evaluating what you send over in your tender response or buying communication. Different personality types have very different preferences in terms of communication. Thankfully, there are some well-established models for helping to categorize your potential recipients and understanding these can lead to better results.

Understanding more about who is reading your proposal will help you communicate in a more impactful manner. In this post, we’re going to look at personality types through the lens of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) © system. Here are the main personality types you should keep in mind. And how to write to them in a way that will get your message across.

The Myers Briggs © dichotomies

The 16 personality types under the Myers Briggs paradigm are based on four basic dichotomies which form the distinguishing letters for each personality type.

Those are:

One of the most fundamental personality differences that springs to most people’s minds when they put people into ‘boxes’ is that between extroverts and introverts. Extroverts draw their energy from being surrounded by and interacting with other people. Introverts, on the other hand, are more comfortable with the solace of their own inner world. For them, being in social situations with large amounts of unfamiliar faces can be draining — whereas extroverts thrive on this kind of experience and are energized by it.

People process information and make decisions in different ways. Those on the sensing side of the scale prefer practical information, facts and details and they focus on the present day. Those who are more intuitively minded prefer concepts, theories and high level ideas, with a focus on the future.

Decision-making is another area where people differ markedly one to the other. Thinkers prefer logic and analysis. Somebody who makes decisions by feeling focuses instead on their personal values, relationships and how they are affected by the world around them.

People also organize their world in different ways. The ‘J’s’ of this world prefer structure and control. Those with a preference for ‘P’ favor flexibility and spontaneity.

How to communicate for each group

Whether your sales team is trying to sell to a buying committee of several different personality types or is just laser-focused on winning over one individual, assessing that person’s personality can be a strategic advantage in communicating with them to win influence.

The good news is that microsites are the perfect medium for communicating simultaneously with people with different personalities: creating iterations, and tailoring copies to individual members, are both readily achievable with a few clicks.

When doing so, these are some guidelines as to ways to communicate best with each of these groups.

A team office communicating with different perosnality types. Communicating with different personality types can be improved by adopting different approaches.

Extroverts / introverts

Extroverts will tend to be more engaged by interactive content than by static resources like documents or ‘wall of text’ style resources. They tend to experience the world in a less linear fashion than introverts. Building rich content experiences with lots of graphics and embedded objects might be a great way to pander to their energy.

Conversely, those on the more introverted side of the scale might be easily overwhelmed by interactive content that prompts them for input. To them, this can feel like a social interaction with an unknown person — which they are likely to find draining and negatively stimulating. These individuals prefer to take home resources and mull over them. They are interested in sitting with information and slowly processing it in order to try extract the deeper information. For this group, consider offering key resources as downloads. PDFs and even podcasts are popular choices.

If you know that different personalities are in charge of different functions in your buying audience, then you might consider developing different pages or sections of the microsite for each function.

Sensing / intuition

How people prefer to process information is key to how they make decisions. Those who are biased towards sensing enjoy facts and live in the here and now. For them, direct on-site and detailed resources are the most effective means to communicate with them. Show them milestones, project charts and action plans – they like to know how you’re going to get from A to Z.

Those who are biased towards intuitive ways of processing information respond well to headlines, executive summaries, concepts and analogies. They need to understand the bigger picture before they are prepared to engage with the detail so create layouts that draw them to the key points of your message.

Again, you can adopt both strategies in the one website to cater to both sets of buying audiences.

Thinking / feeling

Those biased towards the thinking side of the scale take decisions based upon rational information — such as balance sheets and profit and loss accounts. Show them pricing tables, forecasts and bottom line impacts.

On the other hand, those who experience the world through feeling are less swayed by logic and analysis and more influenced by ‘softer metrics’ – such as impressive personal biographies which might instill confidence in particular resources and team members.

Judging / perceiving

It’s also important to think about how the information you present is going to be carried over into your readers’ day-to-day lives. Those with the Judging preference prefer structure and control.

If you’re trying to build a content experience that works for these types, make sure to include timescales for delivery and clear plans to get there.

Perceivers on the other hand enjoy the freedom of being able to do things, and take decisions, on the fly. For this group, don’t forget to include things like contingency plans. While perceivers like the liberty of being less constricted, they also like to have a backup plan if things don’t pan out as expected.

Speak to your buyers

It’s important to take into account the unique personality of your buyers when communicating with them.

The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) © system is just one of several that can guide how to target potential customers.

Whether you prefer to work through a formal personality categorization framework or just trust your intuition, you can build better and more personalized content experiences when you know who you are marketing to. Use some of the tips above to better guide your microsite building.

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