On the surface, the couple seemed easy to work with. Mr. Brown was employed in state government while his wife was a school teacher. Newly married, they found themselves expecting their first child. Putting their affairs in order seemed like a natural thing to do.

When the young agent made the initial visit, they greeted her pleasantly, albeit a bit formally. Mr. Brown shook her hand and introduced her to his wife. Accepting the agent’s suggestion, they willingly seated themselves around the kitchen table and enjoyed some light refreshments. They chatted easily about the incredible weather they were having and the accomplishments of the local sports team. The conversation had no dead air time and flowed effortlessly.

With these social amenities behind them, it seemed like a good time for the agent to ask questions about the couple and their objectives. Mr. Brown did most of the talking unless a question was directly asked to his wife. Mrs. Brown answered and smiled; then looked attentively at the materials the agent offered. Everything seemed to be going smoothly and yet when it came time for the next step, Mr. Brown balked. What derailed the close?

It is common for a buyer to display one personality style during the initial social period of a meeting, and another personality style when discussing business. How can the agent determine that this has happened? Listen for a change in the vocal qualities and observe shifts in body language.

From a moderate rate and volume, Mr. Brown slowed his speed and lowered his volume. He morphed from a Blueprint buyer to a Knowledge buyer. He became more thoughtful and was stuck on information offered midway through the presentation. At this point, he crossed his arms across his chest. Not identifying these changes, the agent continued with the delivery in the same manner. The more she continued, the less comfortable he became. They were out of rapport.

The best sales professionals shift themselves to match their clients and change as appropriate. In time, they do this automatically and unconsciously. Yet they often cannot articulate what they are doing, or even realize that they’re doing something “special.” The key to making more sales is identifying your prospects’ personality styles and matching them throughout the interaction.

Dr. Nancy Zare, the originator of the AlikeAbility™ System is offering a presentation in Waltham and Bellingham, MA that teaches business owners, entrepreneurs, and sales professionals how to identify and match personality styles. Contact her for more details.