Every sale, particularly the more complex involving multiple decision-makers requires the salesperson to understand the powerbase of influencers and decision-makers – both overt and covert.
As salespeople, we need to uncover this powerbase and understand the level of influence each has, know our current relationship with these individuals and what we need to do to develop the weaker relationships.
In my latest book, The Wentworth Prospect, my co-authors, John Smibert, Jeff Clulow and I explore the various archetypes and personas of those we are likely to encounter on the buyer’s side, and how people-mapping can put us in a better position to build strong relationships that will, in turn, help us deliver the best outcome for our prospect/client.
But why is it important to understand the archetype and persona of the individuals in our prospect’s evaluation or decision-making process? And what are archetypes and personas?
Loosely translated, ‘archetype’ comes from Greek meaning ‘original pattern’. In the early 20th century, in an effort to understand the motivations behind human behaviour, Swiss psychologist Carl Jung defined 12 archetypes. He believed that every human being fit into one of these descriptions. These 12 archetypes have been massaged and in many instances reduced in number by others using the principles of defining an archetype to meet their specific situation.
Put simply, an archetype is a way of defining an individual’s motivation. What are their goals? What drives their decision? Are they a Mercenary, focused on ‘what’s in it for me?’. Are they an Inquisitor, focused on integrating our proposal, us, our company? Are they a Champion, focused on getting the job done? Are they are a Messenger, focused on controlling information? An Accomplice, focused on helping others? Or perhaps a Sage, focused on communicating the idea?
In sales, developing this understanding of an individual’s archetype helps us align better with an individual. An understanding that allows us to develop more targeted individual value propositions. To know what to highlight. To know what stories to tell.
A persona, on the other hand, is how individuals present to the world. We each have distinct and identifiable personas. Think of DISC which defines 4 ‘personas’ (Dominant, Influential, Steady and Conscientious) or Myers-Briggs which defines up to 16 personas. Personally, I like to think of individuals like animals. What personas or traits do they mirror of a Lion, a Monkey, a Dog or an Owl?
These translate sImilar to DISC personas, but I find animals so much easy to relate to individuals. The dominant, controlling Lion. The energised, influential, persuasive Monkey. The steady, cooperative Dog and the wise old Owl. Or maybe they are a combination.
So, in sales, understanding personas and archetypes helps us to create reliable and realistic representations of the key players. We should be constantly analysing the individuals we are dealing with. We need to think about both archetypes and personas to understand and be able to focus on what are the motivations, values and drivers behind the Owls, Lions, Dogs and Monkeys we are working with.
#b2bsales #buyerpersonas #salestraining