How to Handle Different Types of Buyers


Just as there are different personality types, buyers can also be categorized into different buyer types as well. Some buyers love to negotiate, others hate anything that could resemble confrontation. Some buyers analyze every aspect of a purchase, and others throw caution to the wind and prefer to buy on impulse.

It is interesting to examine how the different types of buyers correlate with their respective personality types. As many good sales people know, the greatest success comes from being able to read and understand your buyer. This skill requires a grasp on personality profiling. While no two humans are alike, experts have concluded that all human behavior can be explained by each person’s unique blend of personality traits.

Personality profiling goes back as far as the Greek physician Hippocrates (c. 460 – C. 380 BC). He divided humankind into 4 basic personality types based on their balance of introversion vs. extroversion as well as their need for control vs. allowance for chaos. All personalities can be described using some combination of these 4 basic types.

While modern methods of describing one’s personality are more complex, they all have their base in Hippocrates observations. Following are explanations of the four basic buyer types as they fit into this framework of the 4 personalities. If you start to recognize each of these buyer types, you will be in a better position to sell them a vehicle.

The Emotional Buyer

This buyer is generally very passionate. They have come to your dealership because they decided recently it was time to feel better about what they are driving. Price is not the main focus. Vehicle features such as color, style, and options are what drive this buyer. Decisions are strongly influenced by the way they feel emotionally.

The emotional buyer can be a salesperson’s best friend, as long as you can give them what they want. You will recognize this buyer by the types of questions they ask, and their reactions to the vehicles themselves. Look for high levels of excitement, and a focus on the look and feel of the vehicle.

The emotional buyer is not generally concerned about other people’s feelings so much as they are their own. The emotional buyer is often synonymous with impulse buyer and will often be attempting to trade a vehicle with negative equity (due of a previous impulse buy).  Refrain from judgement, and do your best to help them “scratch their itch” and you will sell them a vehicle.

The Amiable Buyer

This buyer might be described as content, or easy going. They generally know what they want, but they are friendly, flexible and very accommodating. They respect your time and expect that they will be treated fairly in return. They want everyone to win.

You will recognize this buyer by the ease of conversation, and the ease of the transaction. Amiable buyers are often sales people themselves, or hold positions that require them to get along with a wide variety of people. The amiable buyer is willing to negotiate and willing to be flexible. Be friendly and flexible in return and the deal will go smoothly.  

The Analytical Buyer

This buyer could be described as robotic, and possibly lacking in personality. The main focus of the analytical buyer is to get the best value for their dollar. This buyer values research and preparation. The analytical buyer is the polar opposite of the emotional buyer. Nothing about this transaction is emotional to them.

You will recognize this buyer by their immense preparation. The analytical buyer will likely know more about the vehicle than you do. They will ask you technical questions that will make you scratch your head. Don’t be nervous. You don’t need to know all of the answers, but you do need to acknowledge the preparation they have put in.

Do your best to understand the reasoning behind the questions they are asking. If you can match vehicles and features to their underlying concerns, you will have success selling to the analytical buyer.

The Alpha Buyer

This buyer is in charge. Period. The alpha buyer is the polar opposite of the amiable buyer. Also, like the emotional buyer, the alpha buyer is very passionate, albeit much more calculated. This buyer uses intimidation and strong negotiating tactics to get what they want. While they do care more about their own cause then anyone else’s, they are not completely heartless. It just seems that way.

You will recognize this buyer by a strong handshake, great confidence, and a sense of bravado. This buyer will often play hard to get, and will mention deals at other dealerships in an effort to strengthen their position. Expect lots of threats to walk if they don’t get what they want.

You can win with this buyer by allowing them to take the lead. Resist the temptation to go toe-to-toe with them. Allow them to feel like they are getting the upper hand and you will come away with your dignity and a decent commission.