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Customize Your Presentation Style

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By John Boe

RISMEDIA, May 24, 2011—Warning: The information you are about to read will dramatically change the way you see yourself and how you relate to other people.

In his book, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, author John Gray asserts the idea that men and women are so basically unlike one another in their emotional needs and communication styles, it’s as if they were born on different planets. In my opinion, this gender-based approach to explaining personality differences is grossly inaccurate and tremendously misleading. In other words, if you attempt to adjust your sales presentation based strictly on your prospect’s gender, you’ll more than likely miss the sale!

If men and women are so basically different in their communication styles, why is it that they use the same nonverbal communication gestures to express emotions? The answer is simple gender, like skin color, doesn’t have anything to do with personality traits. It’s human nature for people to attempt to categorize others based upon factors such as race and/or gender. Unfortunately, this shortsighted and overly simplistic approach only serves to foster stereotyping and limits our understanding of an individual’s personality style.

Twenty-four hundred years ago, Hippocrates the father of medicine, was the first to theorize that our personality style was not controlled by external factors such as astrological signs or birth order, but rather genetically influenced from birth.

Through his observations, Hippocrates proposed that we are born into one of four primary temperament styles; Choleric, Sanguine, Phlegmatic, and Melancholy. Over the past twenty-four centuries, there have been many temperament theories advanced and a wide variety of evaluation instruments, but essentially they have maintained the four temperament styles that Hippocrates identified.

Hippocrates determined that our temperament style is revealed through our energy level, appearance, preferences, and general outlook on life. Just ask any parent and they’ll be quick to tell you that their children have maintained their temperament style from day one. A Choleric is born aggressive/impatient, a Sanguine expressive/emotional, a Phlegmatic passive/harmonious, and a Melancholy analytical/worrisome. Each of these temperament styles requires a different marketing approach and presentation style.

Selling to the Choleric:
• They ask “what” questions. Keywords: Results, Speed, and Control
• Warm up quickly and use a bottom line, just the facts approach
• They may intimidate you with outbursts of anger
• Give them options so they can be in control
• Stay big picture and avoid details – pie chart
• Expect a quick decision

Selling to the Sanguine:
• They ask “who” questions. Keywords: Exciting, Fun, and Enthusiastic
• Warm up quickly and use an entertaining, fast-paced approach
• They may become emotional or talk too much
• Give them compliments and ask for their opinion
• Stay big picture and avoid details – pie chart
• Expect a quick decision

Selling to the Phlegmatic:
• They ask “how” questions. Keywords: Family, Service, and Harmony
• Warm up slowly and use a low-key, harmonious approach
• They may withdraw if they feel “sales pressure”
• Give them respect and show interest in family members
• Use a step-by-step, detailed presentation – spreadsheet
• Expect them to procrastinate because they dislike change

Selling to the Melancholy:
• They ask “why” questions. Keywords: Logical, Safety, and Quality
• Warm up slowly and use an analytical, detailed approach
• They may become aloof or sarcastic
• Give them accurate and detailed information
• Use a step-by-step, detailed presentation – spreadsheet
• Expect them to want to “think it over” because they are frugal and would rather research than make a mistake and appear incompetent

John Boe presents a wide variety of motivational and sales-oriented keynotes and seminar programs for sales meetings and conventions. John is a nationally recognized sales trainer and business motivational speaker with an impeccable track record in the meeting industry. To have John speak at your next event, visit www.johnboe.com or call 937-299-9001. Free Newsletter available

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