In this article I cover four main personality types. I will explain how those personality types view websites and make decisions, and how to craft a website to sell more effectively to each. This idea has been thoroughly explained and proved by FutureNow, owners of the marketing blog GrokDotCom.
Four Personality Types
No two people are identical. Everyone has talents, unique abilities and nasty hang-ups. There are, however, four personality types to which one can effectively market. Those personality types were tested over and again in design, copy writing and advertising, and experiments have proven that it is possible to raise conversion rates when these factors were applied appropriately. These personality types are not new, but were identified centuries ago.
Many of the great philosophers who have dabbled in theories about personality have identified four dominant temperaments. In 370 BC, Hippocrates identified them as Sanguine, Choleric, Phlegmatic, and Melancholic. Carl Jung (1875-1961) called them Feeler, Thinker, Sensor, and Intuitor. More recently, David Keirsey identified Idealists, Rationals, Guardians, and Artisans.- Waiting For Your Cat To Bark
Myers Briggs classified those personalities as SJ, SP, NF and NT. Ken Evoy calls them boss, empathizer, mixer and ponderer, while Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg dubbed them Methodical, Spontaneous, Humanistic and Competitive.
Each type is distinct. For purposes of description, and to help keep their natures straight, I’ll categorize them with a mix of David Keirsey and Myers Briggs:
The Guardians SJ
The Artisans SP
The Idealists NF
The Rationals NT
Guardians need to be prepared. Guardians LOVE hardcore data, facts and logic. They also love details, precise numbers and a lot of solid proof. Guardians neglect “personal touches” and are turned off by disorganization. They look for mismatches, so stating negatives about products and services is better that hiding them. In fact, if you do not state the negatives, Guardians will think that something is wrong and continue looking, while if you do so voluntarily, they will appreciate it and give you kudos.
Do not even think of hyping to Guardians. It will kill the sale. They love to think and talk in terms of specifics. Do not try to sell to this personality type – it will not work. They sell to themselves, through detailed examination, review and comparison.
Guardians are neither assertive nor responsive. Think of a shy computer programmer guy (one who loves his job). Guardians are also cooperative and have a business-like attitude. Logic motivates them. Guardians distrust persuasive people (especially sales people).
When selling to them, stick to the facts. If you have hard numbers or data to support your claims – offer it. You can see great examples of hard evidence in the form of case studies offered by many businesses. (Check out Bazaar Voice case studies as an example).
You must take definite actions if you want to demonstrate willingness to help. Words will not be enough to convince; they’ll just go in one ear and out the other.
Artisans usually love extremes and must live in the moment. They have great sensing abilities, making them extra effective in situations that require quick, immediate action. Impulse and action mean everything to Artisans. They are flexible, engaged and energetic. They are very responsive and great communicators.
The worst thing for an Artisan is to miss out on life. Artisans also LOVE attention and having many people around them. They are anxious to develop and maintain relationships, making them very effective in sales fields.
Artisans want to have fun, and a lot of it. They need everything right now and in the moment, sometimes with disregard for the future. You will not motivate Artisans if you promise future benefits with no yield for today (depending on your offer and industry, of course). They are also VERY creative and self expressive. There’s no need to get into details, as those will quickly bore this personality.
Artisans are highly assertive and very responsive. They place more emphasis on relationships than tasks and can be very dramatic. This personality likes to work with a very flexible schedule, reaches decisions instantly, has a very short attention span (do not bore with details) and loves to take risks.
When selling to Artisans, talk about people and facts. Short and fast stories that relate other people’s experiences people can do wonders. Sometimes you will get an “impulse buy” — which can quickly turn into "buyer’s remorse" and a request for a refund. Talk about the present, but mention the future.
Idealists put others before themselves. Caring and taking care of friends, family and other people is a priority for them. Relationships are everything to Idealists; they trust an established friend a lot more than the “new guy.” Idealists are very slow to reach a decision, but once there, assuming the buying experience is pleasant, are likely to give you repeat business. They are very loyal.
Idealists make a lot of bad decisions, however, and are suspicious of new ideas. Build a relationship with Idealists above all. If you do, they will reward you with the utmost loyalty and repeat business.
Provide them with TONs of guarantees. Offer an unconditional money back guarantee. Testimonials, stories and reviews do WONDERS for this personality type, so be sure to collect a lot of DETAILED FEEDBACK from your past and existing customers. Feature it prominently on your site.
Idealists always give to others and may neglect themselves. Do not sell to them, as your words will fall on deaf ears. The opinions of other “regular” people and a relationship-based approach are key here. Get to know who they are and lay everything about yourself out in the open. Show how you work hard for others and your community.
Idealists are not assertive, but are very responsive, depending on others for many decisions. They make perfect customer care people. Everyone is a friend to them.
When selling to Idealists, find out about their personal interests, their family, and tell a lot about yourself and why you do what you do. Be very patient and give them plenty of time to decide. Don’t take advantage of their “easy” personality, and don’t forget to answer the “how” question.
Those are the “bosses” and “cold-blooded” types who will do anything to achieve their task. They are ready to put it all on their abilities and go for it. Rationals are very assertive and know their worth. They do not tolerate any waste of their time, and put that time to good use. They are highly effective, motivated individuals.
The greatest reward for a Rational is to achieve a goal they have set out to accomplish. Rationals enjoy being in control of the situation, are very goal-oriented, have clear visions and reach decisions very quickly. They are excellent planners, devoted to the task. Rationals are irritated by inefficiency. They are very persuasive, but not responsive, making them hard to live with in a marriage. They care about their image and want the best there is in all aspects of life.
The biggest fear for Rationals is loss of control.
Rationals have huge egos, do not listen to advice and order people around. They know it all, so don’t even try to coach this personality type.
They are decisive and determined. Rationals control their emotions and are often in a hurry. This personality type is very stubborn, tough and impatient.
When selling to Rationals, ask specific questions and discuss results, time frames and the bottom line. Focus on hard facts and logic. Don’t make promises, but rather show proof. Be business-like and to the point. Never invade their personal space.
As you might expect from seeing how differently the four personality types approach the world, they tend to ask different questions when they try to reach a decision.
The Guardians SJ -Guardians focus on HOW questions. Some examples:
How does it work?
Can you give me a guarantee?
What are the details?
Artisans SP - Artisans focus on WHY and WHEN questions:
How quickly can I achieve my goals?
Can I customize your products?
How will my life be better?
The Idealists NF - Idealists focus on WHO questions:
How will I feel using your product or service?
Can I trust you?
Who used your product or service?
Rationals NT - Rationals focus on WHAT questions:
Why are you better?
How can you help me more productive and cutting edge?
Who are you? Show me your credentials.
Selling to Four Different Personality Types
In the next article I will cover how to sell to each personality type on your website. The elements that will be covered include copy writing for different types, how to structure content for the four types, how to design for different types, what should be featured to speak directly to each type on the home page and more.
If this concept is new to you, then you may want to do some research. You can use search engines or explore Myers Briggs theories to learn about four types as well as 16 personality classifications. I find 16 classifications complex to comprehend and develop content for, so I stick to four personalities. Of course, if you’re a Guardian SJ type, you’re quite welcome to find out more on your own.