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Match Your Advice To Your Client’s Personality Type

We meet with a lot of people in our line of work, and we need to learn about them quickly and adapt like chameleons when presenting solutions to them. 

Client personalities typically fall into four distinct categories:  the driver, the intellect, the feeler and the amiable. If you tailor your advice to meet your clients’ personality types, you’ll have more fruitful interactions that expand your opportunities for success. To implement this concept into your practice, begin with an examination of the four personality types and categorize your clients accordingly.

The Driver

We’ve all worked with the driver or boss, the client who has plenty of their own ideas and wants those ideas to influence every decision. Let these clients take the lead and simply facilitate the conversation toward the right solution by asking probing questions.

If you are discussing life insurance, you don’t need to spend time telling them why they need insurance, because they already knew that when they sought you out. Acknowledge their drive and success and ask some questions along the way, such as “How much income do you want and how much do you want your family to have?” and “If you didn’t come home tomorrow, what would happen to your family?”

The Intellect

The intellect, or brain, wants to understand all facets of their plan, down to the dividends on the third line of the 12th page of the fourth illustration you gave them.

When you work with an analytical person who will dissect everything you share, less is more; otherwise, they will be compelled to read every detail. Placing 25 pieces of paper in front of them and asking for a business decision on the spot will make them uncomfortable. They process information better when discussions are conceptually based. Provide ample disclosures later on, but in early meetings the general concept of a policy is more relevant than the minute details.

The Feeler

When working with the feeler, lightly tugging on their heartstrings can go a long way.

Use phrases such as, “I’m sure you don’t want to leave your family. You said you would feel horrible about that.” Make your interactions and recommendations more palpable by breaking life insurance policies down to the day — “So what you’re telling me is you’re willing to set aside $15 a day to protect your family?” or “I need $100 a day from you, Alex, but I know that’s not a problem.” The feeler relies on emotions, how a plan or situation would look and feel, and if they can comfortably envision that solution in their life.

The Amiable

Finally, there’s the amiable, or the drifter. Many advisors mistakenly think the amiable is the easiest client to work with but, in my opinion, they present the most significant challenges.

When you sit down to begin planning, they have that deer-in-the-headlights look. You lead with a product, break out a brochure and say, “You should put away $500 a month into this plan.” They may not object and they may even return the application, but it feels too easy. 

Ninety days later, you see your client canceled the policy so you contact them to ask what happened. They may say something like, “My uncle said $500 a month was too much for insurance. He’s paying $99.” Now you have to backtrack, try to repeat the process and explain the value proposition.

Amiable clients don’t want to upset anyone — you or their uncle — so sometimes they do nothing. The sooner you can identify this personality type, the sooner you can adjust your sales methodology to offer solutions that fit their needs. It seems counterintuitive, but you should take the most time with amiable personalities to ensure they understand the value proposition of a product such as life insurance and why they should follow through with your recommendations.

If your prospects do not have a plan in place, it’s simple to exceed their expectations. You don’t have to be perfect;  you just have to help them become more confident than they were without a plan. Approach your clients based on their needs and personality type, so they know your relationship and advice fit their unique situation. Remember, we don’t sell products; we simply identify problems and create solutions.

Eszylfie Taylor is the founder and president of Taylor Insurance and Financial Services in Pasadena, Calif., and creator of The Taylor Method, his sales training system for financial advisors. He is a 15-year member of MDRT. In 2015, he was the recipient of NAIFA’s Advisor Today Top 4 Under Forty award. Eszylfie may be contacted at [email protected] .

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