Category: Selling to Different Buyer Personas


The 4 Personality Types of Buyers & How to…

I’d only been driving my dad’s car for two weeks before it exploded into flames on the highway.

This is not an exaggeration.

After the auto shop confirmed there was no way I could drive the car again without paying for more repairs than it was worth, I went car-shopping.

I was prepared to spend a good chunk of change for an extremely reliable vehicle (you can understand my trepidation). And I wasn’t going to be too picky — I needed a new car ASAP. Those two factors meant I was an extremely good prospect.

Unfortunately for him, the first salesperson I talked to used the wrong approach. He didn’t ask, “Why are you getting a new car?” or even specific questions like “Do you care about fuel efficiency over style?”

Instead, he tried to steamroll me into buying a “cute” car. He didn’t give any facts or figures about its reliability or tell me about its safety features. He just said things like, “I think you’ll love driving around in this car.”

His pitch would’ve worked on a different personality type, but not mine. So he lost out on a multi-thousand dollar commission.

If you want to consistently win deals, you can’t sell how you’d like to be sold to. You have to adapt your strategy to the buyer’s personality type. Let’s dive into the four main types of personalities and what you need to know about each.

Types of Buyers & Their Personality Types

1. Assertive

Assertive personality types are goal-oriented, decisive, and competitive. They care more about results than personal relationships. They might not send you a holiday card, but if you deliver on your commitments, you’ll maintain a healthy business relationship. Assertives care deeply about the bottom line.

People with assertive personality types are also relatively impatient and controlling. They want information — fast — so they can make a decision and move on.

Assertive personality traits:

Assertives usually speak in declarative sentences and ask few questions, so if you notice your prospect says things like, “I’m looking for a new sedan,” rather than, “Can you show me your sedans?”, you’re probably dealing with an Assertive personality type.

Their volume is also a little louder than average, and they use animated, confident body language.

How to sell to them:

  • Professionalism is always important, but especially so when it comes to Assertives. Always make sure you’re prepared for a meeting with an assertive personality type. If you don’t know the answer to a question, let them know you’ll follow up instead of trying to give a halfway correct answer.
  • Assertives appreciate efficiency. Don’t waste their time repeating facts or building up to your point — cut to the chase.
  • Emphasize how your product will solve their business’ problems. Cutting-edge features won’t impress Assertives unless you can demonstrate why they will be useful to their organization.
  • Take advantage of their competitive streak and show them how your product will help their company compete with others in their industry.
  • Steer clear of personal opinions and testimonials. If you’re citing a successful customer, talk about the ROI they saw rather than how much they loved the product.
  • Since Assertives aren’t great listeners, keep your statements short and to the point.

2. Amiable

People with amiable personality types value personal relationships and want to trust their business partners. They like the excitement of new challenges. Amiables will enthusiastically dive into finding creative or unexpected solutions — but on the flip side, they probably won’t do a ton of research before meeting with you. That means you can guide them through the purchasing process.

Unlike Assertives, Amiables don’t make decisions quickly. They want to establish rapport with the people they do business with and will likely seek out the help or approval of multiple team members. Expect a longer sales process than usual.

Amiable personality traits:

Amiables are great listeners and might ask more personal questions in an attempt to get to know you outside of your professional role. They will be friendly, calm, and patient during meetings. Conversations with Amiables are generally laid-back and informal.

How to sell to them:

  • Pitch a vision. Help them visualize the outcomes their business could achieve with the help of your product or service.
  • Take time to build rapport. Amiables will need to feel safe in their relationship with your company before they’ll be comfortable doing business with you.
  • Bring up examples of similar clients who have successfully used your product. Flesh out the story — why did client X come to you? What tipped them toward your product? Which features were most important? Details like these are convincing for Amiables.
  • Take the role of an expert and walk them through the decision making process. Instead of overwhelming an amiable with information, help them through the process and act as an advisor.
  • Give them personal guarantees. Since Amiables are risk-averse, promising them your company will refund their purchase if they’re not satisfied or they can cancel at any time will calm their anxieties and make them likelier to buy.

3. Expressive

Expressives are also sometimes called “humanists” for a good reason — like Amiables, personal relationships are very important to this personality type.

Expressives tend to make decisions factoring in their emotions, and are often concerned with others’ well-being. Whether it’s their employees or their customers, the expressive personality type will want to know how decisions they make affect the people around them. They tend to be people-pleasers, but don’t be fooled — expressives often have powerful personalities and use them to convince others of their strongly held convictions.

Expressives are creative, outgoing, spontaneous, and rely on their intuition. They value mutual respect, loyalty, and friendship. Don’t make offhand commitments to Expressives — reneging on an offer could spell the end of your relationship.

Expressive personality traits:

Expressives tend to be very enthusiastic and colorful. Like Amiables, they’ll want to bond with you and feel connected on a personal level, but like Assertives, Expressives are sure of their beliefs and speak more in statements rather than questions.

How to sell to them:

  • Present case studies. Expressives want to be reassured that you’re looking out for them, and what better way to prove your track record than to show stories of how your business made an impact on other peoples lives?
  • Emphasize an ongoing relationship. If your company offers exceptional customer service or maintains long-term partnerships with its clients, now is the time to shout it from the rooftops.
  • Don’t focus too much on facts and figures. Data is important, but an expressive will ultimately want to know how their buying decision affects their business on a human level.
  • Summarize along the way. You want to continually get their buy-in, so ask questions like, “So, we agree that you can use Templates to automate the prospecting process?”

4. Analytic

Those with an analytical personality type love data, facts, and figures. As no-nonsense people, they’ll look past a flowery pitch and get straight to the facts. Be prepared to field a lot of detailed questions, and don’t be surprised if it seems like an analytical prospect already knows you — they will research you and your business before meeting.

Analytics stick to their deadlines, but they do not make decisions quickly. They care about thoroughly vetting and understanding the options available to them, and won’t jump the gun on a decision. They are more logical and cautious than any other personality type — but once they make a decision, they won’t reverse it

Analytic personality traits:

Analytics are less expressive than other personality types. They are concerned with facts rather than emotion, and likely won’t spend time getting to know you on a personal level. In conversation, Analytics are serious, direct, and formal. They might not use expressive gesturing in meetings, but you can be sure they are listening intently.

How to sell to them:

  • Never rush an Analytic. Be prepared for a longer selling process, as Analytics will take as much time as they need to gather all the facts they feel are necessary to make a decision.
  • Assume they are prepared and have done their research. This doesn’t mean you should skip over introductory information, but you can expect to spend less time talking basic features, and more discussing custom, personalized solutions for their business.
  • Avoid making high-level claims. Always provide data when you make an assertion, or risk losing credibility. Overhyping your product might make Analytics suspicious that you’re using flowery language to mask flaws.
  • Provide as much detailed information as possible. Instead of saying “Our product drives growth for many companies,” say, “Our product increased sales in 13 Fortune 500 companies by 25% or more year-over-year.” You can offer more information than they ask for without risking them becoming overwhelmed — in fact, they’ll probably welcome it.
  • Don’t try to force a relationship that’s not there. Analytics might become annoyed by those they feel are overly flattering or obsequious.

Keep in mind that most prospects will be a mix of these personality types and won’t fit neatly into one of the four categories above. However, once you’re familiar with these core personalities, you should be able to tailor your selling strategy to fit any situation you come across.

More of a graphics person? Check out the infographic below, made by Visme for HubSpot, for a visual take on the four different personality types and how to sell to each one.

Need more practice selling to different types of buyers? Enroll in HubSpot’s Inbound Sales Course to learn how to deliver a personalized experience to your buyers regardless of their personality type.


What Is Industrial Selling?

Business to Business, or B2B, sales occur between companies that sell products or services to other companies. This could look like a technology company selling marketing software to other companies and wholesalers selling products to supermarkets.

While there are specific shared characteristics between all B2B sales, the industries they take place in require different levels of understanding and preparation on behalf of the salesperson.

Industrial Sales are a type of B2B sale marked by characteristics that aren’t always significant in traditional B2B deals. This piece will give an overview of industrial sales, outline its unique attributes, and give salespeople an understanding of the skills and tools they can use to successfully close this type of deal.

Businesses that purchase industrial products are incredibly dependent on them, as they likely make up a significant aspect of their day-to-day processes. For example, a manufacturing company that creates their products using an assembly line can’t move on to the third step of its production process without having the necessary equipment to complete step one. Because of this, industrial sales are more high-stakes and complex than run-of-the-mill B2B sales.

The industrial sales industry is also a very specific market. The products that are sold can only be used by specific businesses since they’re usually parts and raw materials that are used in the large-scale production of goods. These goods are later distributed to other businesses that sell to consumers.

For example, office supply stores and paper mills both sell paper. The difference between the two is that paper mills purchase raw material, like timber, to produce the paper that is later sold to wholesalers who provide office supply stores with paper. An office supply store has no reason to purchase the raw material needed to create paper.

Characteristics of Industrial Sales

Since industrial sales occur within niche markets, there are various characteristics that differentiate them from other types of sales.

Fewer Customers

A significant differentiating factor of industrial sales is that the customer base is considerably smaller than other B2B markets. There aren’t as many companies in need of industrial machinery as businesses in need of social media management tools.

Since there is a smaller customer base, competition is higher. For example, there are over 100,000 restaurants in the United States, but there aren’t over 100,000 car manufacturers. In fact, there are only 15. Thus, selling machinery used in automobile manufacturing is more competitive, as there are only 15 possible companies that could make use of the product.

Considering that industrial customer bases are smaller and the competition is high, it’s essential to have a comprehensive understanding of who your customers are. Salespeople can’t afford to lose prospective customers from being uninformed, especially when there aren’t many to begin with.

Creating detailed buyer personas can help you identify and target the right businesses.

In brief, buyer personas are representations of your customer based on relevant data and research. The HubSpot Make My Persona tool can guide you through this process.

Complex Purchasing Decisions

Industrial sales are also higher stakes than traditional sales. The value of the products being sold is higher because these products are often critical factors in constructing a businesses final product. For example, an airplane manufacturer cannot create its final product without the necessary parts and machinery. Still, these products need to be of high-quality so that there is no risk involved in using them in their build.

Since the products sold in industrial markets bear significant importance in day-to-day processes, these deals require complex purchasing decisions as businesses need to conduct product assessments to ensure that they’re the best fit.

You may be in conversation with multiple stakeholders that will assess the quality of the goods they’ll purchase, like the business’ purchasing manager, the business owner, and sometimes an engineer. If the products require technical knowledge, you may need to work with a technical engineer to assist with those elements of the sale.

A Focus on Customer Retention

Industrial sales contracts are often long-term, as businesses don’t want to redo the complex process of buying and purchasing the parts and machinery to facilitate their day-to-day operations. If the product works for them, they’ll want to continue using it and renewing their contracts with you.

As a result, industrial sales require an increased focus on customer retention. Using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform, like Sales Hub from HubSpot, can help industrial salespeople retain and delight their customers.

After-Sales Follow Up

Regardless of industry, salespeople know that following up with leads after deals are closed is extremely important, but it is a significant pillar of industrial sales. Since contracts are long-term, after-sales follow-up can look like establishing a consistent communication schedule, where you present yourself as a resource to the companies you work with.

As mentioned above, Sales Hub users have various tools to work with that can help with this process. For example, a sales automation tool can automate your follow-up schedule for emails, calls, and meetings to ensure that you never take too much time between reaching out to your clients. The image below depicts an automated sales email sequence.

When Sales Automation is combined with the Lead Management Software tool, you’ll get an overview of how many times you’ve reached out to your clients. This is especially valuable because long-term contracts may be difficult to keep up with if they occur over significant periods.

Industrial Selling Skills

The skills needed to succeed in your role as an industrial salesperson are similar to those required for typical sales processes, but there are key areas to focus on.

Be Consultative

Since industrial markets are smaller, taking a consultative approach versus a sales-to-sell strategy is extremely important. You want these businesses to feel like you’re providing them with valuable solutions to their pain points, not just trying to close a deal. Understanding the issues they have will help you present products and services as comprehensive solutions to their problems, and you’ll need to know how to communicate this with them.

Be Specific With Target Markets

The emphasis throughout this post on how small the markets are should make it clear that it is a significant factor that affects industrial sales. Because of this, products are sector-specific. For example, while they’re both factories, you wouldn’t sell automobile machinery to an ice cream manufacturer.

Industrial salespeople need to narrow their focus and take the necessary time to understand who they’re selling to. The buyer personas you’ve created will help with this, as they’ll provide you with the information needed to understand your target markets, tailor your brand messaging, perfect your product pitch, and reach out appropriately.

Persistence and Patience

The two P’s of sales skills are just as important in industrial sales as they are in all others: persistence and patience. However, the complex purchasing decisions that create a longer sales cycle require industrial salespeople to be significantly more patient and equally persistent.

Your buyers want to make sure that the products they purchase from you will improve the quality of their day-to-day operations. They can’t afford to suffer setbacks from product malfunctions, and they want to take the time to make sure this won’t happen. Giving these businesses the time and space that they need to conduct their sales test is extremely important.

Make sure you’re patient throughout this process but don’t disappear entirely. When they reach out with questions, be persistent in your ability to provide answers and necessary information.


Industrial sales end in long-term contracts and relationships between sellers and buyers. Continue to communicate with those you’ve closed deals with, but make sure this communication is personalized. Knowing how to cater to their specific needs is crucial, and buyer personas will help with this.

If you know that there are certain things that a business has trouble with, consider scheduling timelines in which you’ll follow up with them to check-up on how things are going. You can do this via call, email, or in-person meeting.

The Email Tracking tool from HubSpot notifies you when a customer has opened an email you’ve sent them, helping you follow up with them immediately, so they know you’re ready to help. You can use the same tool to personalize the conversations, so the company feels like you’re looking out for them and caring for their specific needs. Personalization also encourages customer retention, which is a pillar of industrial sales.

Perfect Your Strategy

All-in-all, industrial selling involves providing businesses with the materials they need to manufacture and create their products, from airplane parts to raw materials. The items you’re selling to them allow them to complete their day-to-day operations, like assembly line tools.

Salespeople involved in industrial sales will be successful in their role if they take the time to understand the business pain points, personalize their contact methods, and present themselves as a continuous resource.

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