Sales is likely one of the most competitive and challenging professions. It takes a certain type of personality to push through the difficulties of rejection and losses in order to reap the many benefits. For some, the sales ‘gene’ seems to be an innate trait bestowed upon certain individuals. Others can undoubtedly learn the trade with practice and mentorship. Whether you’re a natural or working on honing your sales skills, understanding how to truly connect with your client is the key to becoming a successful salesperson.

The well-known saying, “treat others as you’d like to be treated,” does not necessarily translate into sales. In sales, a better saying would be, “treat others how they want to be treated,” with “others” referring to potential clients. You can ease your client’s mind and make them feel more comfortable by assessing their social needs based on their primary communication style. While reading nonverbal cues, like facial expressions and body language, is not an option in many sales situations like talking to a client over the phone, understanding the different types of communication styles will help you decide how to communicate with your client in order to gain their trust and make the sale.

Both veterans of sales and newcomers to the profession can benefit greatly not only from being able to identify the different types of communication style but also from knowing how to shift the conversation and tone to work around the traits of each style.

Dominant (also referred to as “assertive”)

An individual with a “dominant” communication style is likely one to lead the conversation. While they may not necessarily be pushy, as this style’s name suggests, they are more focused on the big picture of a situation. They will be decisive, efficient, and sometimes intense, especially in a business setting, in order to achieve their desired results. A dominant communicator loves a challenge, and speaking to a salesperson may serve as a test of confidence. Therefore, when working with a dominant communicator as a client, you should maintain an air of confidence and get right down to business to get your message across. A dominant communicator will likely be very blunt and to the point, but don’t let this trait deter you; take their bluntness as an opportunity to counter and better explain your pitch. Come into the conversation prepared and confident about your topic to win over a dominant client.

Socializer (also referred to as “initiator”)

If your client has a “socializer” communication style, you are working with a real “people-person.” Also known as an initiator, a socializer communicator is upbeat, personable, and friendly; this individual is nearly always open to connecting and collaborating with new people. As a salesperson, working with a socializer communicator is a more casual and open experience than working with other communication styles. The best way to make a strong connection with this client is to go into each conversation with less of a business attitude and more of a personal, friendly attitude. Start your conversation by asking them about their weekend plans or how their family is doing to get your socializer client to really open up.

Passive (also referred to as “harmonizer”)

The definition of a “passive” communication style accurately matches the type’s name; an individual with this communication style values loyalty, stability, and cooperation. In uncomfortable or challenging situations, a passive communicator will stay level-headed and patient, often searching thoroughly for an answer. However, these communicators are less likely to voice their opinion if it strays away from the norm. When working with a client who is a passive communicator, you can build a relationship on trust by practicing active listening and reiterating important details that support your pitch. Keep a relaxed tone and avoid forcing your client into a decision too quickly to maintain a comfortable and secure relationship.

Analyzer (also referred to as “thoughtful”)

When working with a client that is an “analyzer” communicator, you may have to be more patient and persuasive than with clients of other communication styles. An individual with an analyzer communication style is known for being systematic and logical yet cautious and risk-averted. Working with an analyzer may lead to a longer process than when working with other communication styles, as they weigh every possible outcome when making a decision, so it is essential that you provide all details up front to get this client’s attention and trust. Delivering your information or service with verified facts is key to communicating effectively with this client.

Gaining the ability to determine your client’s communication style is a skill that comes with practice, especially if your only means of contact is via phone call. One technique to help you quickly gain this expertise is to analyze communication styles with everyone you connect with-;coworkers, family, and friends are excellent resources. It is also important to understand that the communication style definitions may blend into each other, and some people may display more than one style. However, if you can master how to identify and communicate with each type, your overall success as a salesperson will grow.