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Business Development: Looking For Traits in Prospects

My friend, Nicole, loves to try new things – new restaurants, new adventures (like bungee jumping!), and the latest iPhone. I can’t always keep up with her; sometimes I just want to go back to Bad Daddy’s because I love their bean burger. My friend John, on the other hand, loves routine and almost every time we go to lunch we end up at Bricks for their pizza and salad combo. He’s lived in the same condo for 15 years and… still carries a Blackberry!

Which of these two prospects would be most receptive to purchasing your new product or solution? While John may be open to new products or solutions, his personality indicates someone who is comfortable with the familiar. However, Nicole has personality traits that indicate high receptivity and early adoption. Whether your prospect already has a similar product and you’re presenting a competitive option, delivering a solution that’s an upgrade to their existing product, or enticing them to something that’s entirely new, chances are higher that Nicole is going to be more willing to consider your pitch.

Change – Is Your Prospect Open or Closed for Business?

The Narrative Big Five Trait of Change is one of four sub-traits of the Openness category – openness is the degree to which an individual enjoys variety and new things. Change is comfort with varying from the routine.

When we look at personality differences, and particularly in how we define those in the Narrative Big Five, Nicole is someone we would see landing on the far right of the Change scale, where John might land towards the far left. People scoring in the middle of the Change sub-trait will change if they are convinced of the value of the change.

The Nicole’s of the world “seek the new” whether that relates to items or adventures, they are a veritable fountain of the new and different. They often get bored with the status quo.

The John types, who land on the left end of the personality spectrum of this sub-trait, enjoy routine and predictability. These far left folks will most likely find discomfort in changing something that they are comfortable with.

Then there are the individuals that fall in the middle of the spectrum who will change if they see that there is value in the change and, if allowed, they typically will wait for others to try or make the change first.

Based on the above example, sales people often find the most success when they’re able to identify prospects who fall in the middle to right-side range of the Change spectrum.

Identifying those Receptive to Change

  • Do they like to go to new restaurants?
  • Have they lived in the same house for 20 years?
  • Do they go to the same place on vacation each year or many different, new places?
  • Do they get the latest iphone right away or let others work out the bugs?

Selling Strategies

  • Prior to deep sales conversations, develop and leverage questions that help you identify a prospect’s receptivity to change.
  • Focus sales efforts, where possible, on prospects that fall in the middle to far right of the Change spectrum.
  • When selling to far-left prospects, plan to spend more time answering questions and diving deep to help the change resistant to understand the challenges your product or service will help solve, while leveraging fact and statistically based data to underscore your assertions.

Where do you fall on the Change spectrum?