Do our personalities affect the way we shop?

Bill McAneny's picture
Published on Fri, 05/16/2014 - 10:06 by Bill McAneny

ShoppingWe all know there are differences in personality types and that this manifests itself in all sorts of ways: from the way we interact, to the types of activities we like and the sorts of work environments that work best for us. So does it work with our buying patterns and is it easier to sell to an ENTP than it is to an ISTJ?

Hmm interesting! There is no doubt that those who are selling believe that different personality types require different approaches. My bank manager told me recently that they had all been on a course, using the DISC profiling system to work out the most effective ways of packaging a sales pitch to specific types. And I have seen some call centre organisations that use a quick assessment process to figure out what personality type they’re dealing with so they can better placate them when they are complaining or upsell to them (presumably once they have been placated!) I have also seen sales teams being taught Transactional Analysis so that they can excite and ‘hook’ the Child, or use a common sense approach to influence the ‘Parent,’ “well you’d be crazy not to.” So there is something in this theory.

And there’s no doubt if you are selling to (say) an ISTJ then you would gather all your data, focus on the factual benefits, make sure you have covered off all concerns and then leave them to make up their minds. But if you’re selling to an ENTP you’d focus on excitement, a “this is great, no-one else has got one” approach and catch the wave of their immediacy. This is not (to reference previous blogs) to suggest all ENTPs are the same, but they (we) do tend to get excited by the new, the novel and therefore want it now, especially if we are the first to have it. Even with online sales, if you’re dealing with an ISTJ you might say “have you checked to see if you need this too,” the operative words being ‘checked’ and ‘need.’ But with (say) an ENFP it would probably be more beneficial to say “you deserve a treat,” focusing on the more emotional aspects, with the key words being ‘deserve’ and ‘treat.’  Indeed each approach would probably turn the other personality type off.

So I guess as in every other aspect of life there is a strong probability that our personality types determine how we shop and the sorts of approaches and messages that are more (or less) likely to make us purchase. And one universal truth for all types will probably be: ‘we all love buying, but we dislike being sold to’ so if it is the right approach it is more likely to hit the mark.

So, how do you like to shop? Do you think your personality affects what you choose? We'd love to hear your views and stories in the comments.

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