Published August 14, 2006

4 Kinds of Customers and How to Keep Them Happy

The study of people and personality usually tries to boil people down into easily identifiable types. The make up of each "type" will depend on who is doing the dividing and how they're dividing them up.

Generally speaking, people are either introverts or extroverts, and they are either big picture or detail-oriented. These 2 spectrums create 4 groups of customers. This is one excellent way to divide up your customers into 4 "groups" but it is certainly not the only way. However, this way will help you in prospecting, sales, and follow-up communication.

  1. Detail-oriented extroverts:

    • Prospecting: They will want to know the process of the sale and when prospecting, you will likely want to interact with them on details like specific numbers when outlining the benefits.
    • Sales: During the sale, you will want to communicate with them regularly to make sure they are getting what they expected. You will also want to manage their expectations because they will be highly likely to complain if the post-sales numbers don't match the pre-sale pitch.
    • Follow-up: This group is surprisingly hard to satisfy but because they are extroverts you will want to go the extra mile to make them happy- because if they're not happy, they will tell 10+ of their closest friends how dissatisfied they were.
  2. Big-picture extroverts:

    • Prospecting: In many cases, these people are "buzzing" and they need sound-bytes to hear. Your sales pitch should be short, heavy on benefits, and heavy on the end result or the picture of what will happen when they purchase your product.
    • Sales: During the sale, they will want to communicate a lot and will likely take a lot of your time. Often, these people are considered "dreamers" or "visionaries" so it's likely that they will come at you with all kinds of ideas. They simply need a sounding board and will respect you more if you don't come across as a "yes-person".
    • Follow-up: Follow-up will be appreciated but you need to keep it short and make sure the picture they had in mind before they bought has turned into reality. Again, because they are extroverts, an unhappy customer will tell many people. However, this person will likely tell more people when they are happy (than any of the other types mentioned in this article).
  3. Detail-oriented introverts:

    • Prospecting: This person could be the most difficult person to prospect to. Occasionally, their personality could come across as disinterested or even abrasive, but often they are just shy.
    • Sales: During the sale, occasional communication is appropriate but keep it brief and don't expect them to contact you.
    • Follow-up: Make sure the numbers line up according to what they anticipated. You may need to contact them more frequently than any of the other types for any additional sales.
  4. Big-picture introverts

    • Prospecting: This is a fairly rare group and they will probably seem like philosophizers. Stick to the same kind of images you used with the big picture extrovert but you may need to hold up your end of the conversation a little more.
    • Sales: During sales, very little needs to be done on your part- this is an easy group to work with; occasional communication is important.
    • Follow-up: You'll need to take the initiative to make sure that you follow-up with this group but they are generally easily to keep as a satisfied customer than the detail-oriented group.

What's more, this system doesn't JUST work for customers; you can incorporate it into your business and use it to help employees relate to each other, to superiors, to subordinates, and to vendors.