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Understand the Four Buyer Types (& How To Sell To Them)

Story time...

A few months ago, I was in what I thought was a minor car accident that, but due to where I was hit, caused my car to have to be totaled - and so, I had to buy a new car.

Ugh! The irritation.

In true Kelly fashion, I did my research, knew exactly what car I wanted, and went to a local dealership to talk with their sales team about the car I had my eye on.

When I got there, I was greeted by a salesman who introduced himself and asked me what I was in the market for. I explained that I had been in an accident and needed to buy a new car quickly, the car I was looking to purchase and that I was ready to close the sale that day and drive home in my shiny new ride.

He kindly proceeded to walk me around the lot, show me all of the potential makes and models, tell me about the various features of each of the lines of cars and what would make most sense for a mom of two. While I explained that I had done my own research and knew what I was interested in - it felt as though that information had gone in one ear and out the other - as he proceeded to tell me about the features of a large SUV that I had no interest in buying.

About 10 minutes into the conversation, I graciously stopped him, explained that my kids are 18 and 19 years old, and that, while it was perfect for me when my kids were younger - that ship has since sailed and I’m not interested in driving an SUV. I told him how I had done my own research, was confident in my decision and wanted to move forward with the car of my choice.

Again, he started rambling off statistics about why the SUV in question was a better choice - and that’s when I stopped him dead in his tracks, thanked him for his time, and drove to a dealership 40 minutes away that had the same car. Within a few hours, I sealed the deal, purchased the car and drove home with my new purchase that evening.

marketing buyer persona

Not understanding your audience kills

Ok. Not really - but it will affect your business GREATLY!!

Unfortunately, because that salesman didn’t understand the power of buyer types, he lost on a $$$ commission and the opportunity to have me as a customer (and referral source). He tried to sell me on the emotional value of a car, how it would help my family and how the luxurious features of the SUV would make me feel. While they were all valid points, that information did nothing for me - except (if I’m being honest) annoy me, because the features and emotional triggers he was showcasing weren’t speaking my language.

What he didn't recognize is that I am a data-focused buyer that did my research well before I even existed in his world. I knew every make and model from this company's current line. I knew the exact features and benefits I wanted and needed, and the ones I didn’t - and wasn’t willing to compromise.

To build a brand & business with beauty AND brains - you need to understand your audience, their personalities, their needs, wants & pain points, how you fit into their world, and yes, their buying habits - and then you need to meet them where they’re at consistently.

In this article, we’re diving into the 4 main buyer types and uncovering how to meet them where they are with the information they need to make a decision about working with you.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • Why understanding your buyer types is so important.

  • A detailed breakdown of the 4 buyer types (and how to recognize them).

  • Ways you can identify your most engaged buyer types in your audience.

  • How to sell to each of the buyer types.

Why understanding buyer types is essential to your business.

Before we talk about the 4 buyer types, let’s talk about why it’s so essential to your business to recognize them, understand their desires and motivations, and most importantly, how to sell to them.

Every potential client or customer you’ll come in contact with will approach buying your products or services a little differently. Some are straight shooters, ready to pull out their credit card and buy, no fluff needed. Some want to emotionally connect with you, your business, or the meaning behind your products, services or offerings before they’re ready to invest. Some need to know every detail, fact and ROI, and will fact check it before they decide to work with you. And some will follow you for sometime, take in everything your posting, showcasing and giving away, silently, before coming into your circle and hitting purchase.

Each of the 4 buyer types are motivated by different things to make a buying decision. You need to be marketing and selling to each of these buyer types in a different way to meet them where they’re at and speak to them. You need to be activating what excites them so that they want to binge your content, pull out their credit card and buy from you. If you don’t, your content, marketing efforts and sales pages will go over their head and they’ll move on to your competitor who is speaking to them.

Remember, people buy from people. People want to feel innately understood and seen in order to make a buying decision. They want to know you understand their pain points, their needs, and can deliver on what you’re offering to make the choice to work with you. Brands that overlook this and don’t recognize the 4 buyer types in their audience can and will struggle to connect with their audience and convert them to paying customers.

Understanding the 4 main buyer types, their motivations and how to best serve them is crucial to making sure your business remains profitable and that you maintain a steady stream of clients ready and willing to purchase all the things you’re offering. Let's dive in...

target audience definition


The Assertive Buyer

The Assertive buyer is goal-oriented, decisive and methodical. They’re confident, know what they want, care about the bottom line, and want you to give them the information quick and straight - and they’ll make the decision on whether or not to work with you. They’re poised and polished, love a to-do list, are naturally detailed and organized, and are allergic to risk or disorder. They care more about factual information and results than feelings or emotions.

Assertive buyers are strong, smart and strategic. They want information fast so they can make a decision and move on. The Assertive Buyer will want a step-by-step plan broken down with a timeline. They have a goal in mind and want to see how you’re going to keep up your end of the deal to get them their desired results as quickly as possible. They’re concerned with how the solution you’re offering will help their business’ vision, goals and objectives, and how it will help their company in the long run to achieve a strategic competitive advantage. They are more risk-adverse so make sure to include things like a guarantee or promise on your products or services.

They want facts and they’ll want to see the data to back up those facts. Assertive buyers tend to have high BS radars, and will want to see a well-articulated, logical plan wrapped up in a clear and concise bundle for them to skim through.

The Assertive Buyer will also want to know everything you’ll need from them to work together. Communicate clearly every piece of information you need from them to get started. Quality and clear communication will speak directly to this buyer so make sure to be detailed in your communication on your sales or product pages, and when interacting with them.

Questions they may be asking:

  • What is the total cost of their investment in you?

  • What is the ROI?

  • How does this fit into their overall budget?

  • What can they expect to receive from working with you? (Think ROI here)

Because they are results oriented, they will want to see reviews and testimonials that showcase the ROI.

How to tell if you’re working with an Assertive Buyer:

  • They’ll want to be in control of the sales conversation.

  • They tend to speak in declarative sentences and ask few questions, so if you notice your potential client or customer saying things like, “I need a new website that can XYZ,” rather than, “I’d like to redesign my website, can you show me some ideas?”

  • They are decision-makers so they will want the facts to make a decision quickly, without fluff.

  • They’re focused on data, facts, and what’s included - think “the stack.”

How to sell to an Assertive Buyer:

  • While preparedness and professionalism is always must, this is especially important when it comes to an Assertive Buyer. If you don’t know how to answer a question, let them know you’ll follow up instead of giving them a hypothetical answer.

  • Assertive buyers appreciate efficiency, so don’t waste their time repeating facts or hyping up your point. Cut to the chase and keep it simple.

  • Cutting-edge features and the latest technology won’t impress the Assertive Buyer unless you can demonstrate why they will be useful and valuable to their business.

  • Use their competitive nature to your advantage by highlighting how your product, service or offering will help their business compete with - and dominate their industry.

  • Personal opinions and raving testimonials won’t do it for them. Use portfolio pieces that can show successful client projects, and highlight the ROI instead.

  • Keep statements short and to the point - remember the 80/20 rule. 80% listening, 20% talking (with factual, cliffs note version information only.)

  • Clearly communicate a guarantee or quality assurance you offer.

The Analytical Buyer

Analytical buyers tend to love data, facts, figures and be extremely detail oriented. They make money decisions in large part based on logic, facts, quantitative evidence and analysis. They are sassy and strategic. They love numbers and facts and want the facts and all of the information to make a buying decision. They are no-nonsense people who will look past the emotional pitch and ask a ton of detailed questions to get the information they need. They’re realists. Logical thinkers and allergic to fluff.

They look at every detail and will analyze every piece of information before they make a decision. They’re motivated by data, analytics, statistics, and deliverables. They’ll want an itemized list of everything included in your service or offering before they even consider you as an option.

Analytical buyers thoroughly vet their prospective options before contacting them. Don’t be surprised if they already know a ton about you and your business when you meet, they’ve done their homework and will know all the facts about your and your biz before your meeting. They don’t make quick decisions, but once they do, they’ll be sticklers for staying on schedule and sticking to deadlines.

Analytical buyers tend to be less expressive than the Assertive Buyer type and are concerned with facts rather than emotion, and likely won’t spend much time getting to know you on a personal level.

Questions they may be asking:

  • A detailed list of everything included in your product, service or offering.

  • What kind of calls or communication will there be, via what platform and how often?

  • What is the timeframe?

  • What is the price including everything? Are they payment plans available?

Analytical buyers tend to be less expressive than the Assertive Buyer type and are concerned with facts rather than emotion, and likely won’t spend much time getting to know you on a personal level.

How to tell if you’re working with an Analytical buyer:

  • They tend to be serious, direct and formal.

  • They listen intently and ask a lot of direct questions.

  • They aren’t overly enthusiastic or as expressive as other buyers, but rest assured they are taking in every fact and data point you’re sharing.

  • They may come to the table or call with their own research and findings that they’ll cross-reference with you (so know your stuff.)

How to sell to an Analytical Buyer:

  • Give them all the facts and information ahead of time. Think all those statistics, a break down of every bit and piece included in your service/offering on your sales pages here. List it out - think lists and grids.

  • Include price anchoring (the Starbucks test.) Think, “You could skip your weekly coffee for 1 month and purchase XYZ instead.”

  • Give them “the stack.” A list of everything that’s included, all specs, deliverables, etc. and ultra-clear pricing.

  • Assume they’ve done their research, know all the facts and be prepared to talk about ways your services or offering can help them.

  • Never rush them to make a decision. Be prepared for a long sales process as they will need to gather all of the facts and analyze each piece of information before making a decision to work with you.

  • Avoid high-level claims and ideas - always provide data and factual information to avoid risking losing any credibility with them. Overhyping or elaborating on your services or offerings may make them question whether or not you’re masking flaws.

  • Don’t try too hard to force a relationship or get deeply personal with them. Analytical buyers will become annoyed by people who come across as trying too hard, pushy, or overly flattering.

The Amiable Buyer

Amiable buyer types are our whimsical visionaries. They are conceptual, imaginative and future-focused, and value personal and trusting relationships with their business partners. Thinks creatives and artists. They are thinking about the dream, a little spontaneous and impetuous risk-takers. They love surprises and are activated by emotions, so they’ll dive head first into projects without doing a ton of research before deciding to meet with or work with you. They love the excitement of a new challenge or project, although they’ll rely on you to guide them through the purchasing process.

This buyer type may not make a quick decision but will need to make sure it feels right to them before moving forward. On the flip side, if an Amiable Buyer comes across a social media post, blog or piece of marketing material that speaks to their emotions and activates their motivations, they may be an impulse buyer very quickly.

Amiable Buyers are great listeners, and because they are all about relationships, they may ask you more personal questions in an attempt to get to know you outside of your professional role. They tend to be friendly, calm, patient, and kind hearted during meetings.

They are imaginative thinkers and are allergic to inflexibility and rigidness. They love visuals so supplementing copy or data with infographics, imagery, diagrams and visual elements will speak to them. Highlighting testimonials, customer reviews and client case studies that highlight the way you made them feel, it will speak directly to this buyer type.

Questions they may be asking:

  • Personal questions to get to know you on a more personal level, like if you're married, have kids, where you live, etc.

  • Can you show them past projects you've worked on that are similar in market, industry or project scope. Here, they're wanting to see what you were able to accomplish for someone similar to them.

  • They may want to meet with you several times to compare services or offerings to one of your competitors. By nurturing this relationship and allowing them the opportunity to meet with them multiple times, you'll win their business.

  • Can you guarantee an emotional outcome for them?

Because the amiable buyer is all about feelings and emotions, social proof will go a long way with them. Highlighting testimonials, customer reviews and client case studies that highlight the way you made them feel, it will speak directly to this buyer type.

How to know if you’re working with an Amiable Buyer:

  • They’ll tend to ask more personal questions about you, your family, hobbies, etc., in an attempt to get to know you on a more personal level.

  • They’ll talk more about how your products, services or offerings make them feel, or the feelings they are looking for.

  • They’ll ask a lot of, “What do you think I should do/need?” questions, needing you to guide them along the journey.

  • They’re great listeners and will be inspired and interested in how your product, service or offering helped a client or customer in a similar way.

How to sell to an Amiable Buyer:

  • Pitch a vision. Help them visualize the outcome them or their business could achieve with the help of your product, service or offering.

  • Showcase the reviews, testimonials or case studies from similar clients who successfully used your products, services or offerings. Explain what it is about your offerings that helped them successfully achieve their goals.

  • Showcase data & facts with visual elements like beautiful imagery, infographics and diagrams.

  • They don’t like rigidness or inflexibility so highlighting how your product or service can be tailored to fit them or customized to their needs or wants is key.

  • Always be future-pacing with them. For instance, in your email marketing, tell them what will happen when they purchase or download your offer in the next 5 months, then what they can expect in the next 5 months and paint a picture of what life COULD BE like with your product or service.

  • Fun & imaginative copy will speak directly to them.

  • When writing copy, you want to lean into the problem, agitation, remind them what want, and solution style copy to paint the big picture for them.

The Expressive Buyer

Expressive Buyers are very focused on relationships. They are the charmers. The winsome and passionate decision makers. When it comes to money, they are all about spending and buying. The tend to make decisions factoring in their emotions and are often concerned with the well-beings of others and how their decisions will affect not only them, but the other people around them. They are very humanistic and empathetic thinkers. They are naturally great coaches and listeners, and hate hidden agendas and will connect fiercely to shared values.

Expressive buyers are not interested in technical details, facts, or figures. They want to know how your product or service will benefit them personally and emotionally. They also want to see the big picture and how your offer fits into their vision and goals. They tend to be spontaneous buyers and can make a quick decision without putting too much thought into. They aren't interested in detailed proposals, and tend to have low boredom thresholds, so capture their attention and get some sort of commitment when you can. Never make promises or commitments that you can’t fulfill as not fulfilling your obligations or offers to them could end your relationship or partnership.

Expressive Buyers tend to be creative, outgoing, spontaneous, rely on their intuition, and value mutual respect, loyalty, friendship. They love stories. Sharing stories like case studies or testimonials that paints the picture of the big before and after’s of working with you will go a long way with them. Don’t be afraid to talk about yourself with them. They love personal anecdotes, stories and finding out more about your family, your team, and how you got into business. They’ll be the first to read your entire about page to see if they have anything in common with you so make sure to tell stories.

Questions they may be asking:

  • How will your product, service or offering benefit their business in the long run? They're focused on the emotional & social aspect here - so don't give them statistics.

  • How quickly can the project be completed or product be delivered?

  • They may want to explore different options or opportunities available to make sure they are getting the right service or product for their business. Showcase different laddered approaches you can use to fulfill their needs.

Never make promises or commitments that you can’t fulfill with an Expressive as not fulfilling your obligations or offers to them could end your relationship or partnership.

How to know if you’re dealing with an Expressive Buyer:

  • They tend to be upbeat, enthusiastic and colorful.

  • Similar to the Amiable Buyer, they’ll want to bond with you and feel connected on a personal level.

  • They are confident in their beliefs, convictions and motivations, and they’ll tend to speak more in statements rather than questions.

  • They are all about emotions and feelings so they will focus on how your product or service can make them feel.

How to Sell to Them:

  • Show off testimonials and case studies. They love stories and they’ll want to be assured that you’re looking out for the best interest of them or their business, so showcase how your product, service or offering made an impact on other people’s lives. Think before and after’s.

  • Emphasize long term, ongoing relationships with your clients. Talk about your exceptional customer service.

  • Tell your story, showcase your personality, talk about your family and how you started your biz. They’ll want to find shared values so highlight your personality here. Remember, they’re going to check out your About page so including things like a favorites list or core values will speak volumes to this buyer. You may even consider creating a welcome, about or sales video to really get to the emotional side of your business.

  • Don’t focus too much on facts and figures. Data is important, but the Expressive Buyer will want to know more about how their buying decision will affect their business on a more emotional and human level.

  • Summarize what you’ve discussed along the way. You want to get their buy in and continue to ramp up their enthusiasm to work with you, so asking questions like, “So, we agree that XYZ can really help you achieve XYZ?”

In Summary

While most of your audience will be a mix of these buyer types and may not fit perfectly into one of the four, once you’re familiar with these buyer types, you’ll be able to tailor your marketing and sales strategy to meet your ideal audience right where they’re at.

Start figuring out your most engaged buyer types by talking to your past clients and customers. Ask them what made them want to work with you and how working with you helped their business or personal brand. Align this information with the 4 buyer types. Along side that, go through your social media data and analytics and see what posts got the most engagement. Was it posts that were more centered around factual information, lists and data collections? This could be more Assertive or Analytical buyers. Posts centered more around how you emotionally made a past client feel, desires or how your product, service or offering can affect them on a more personal, emotional level may be geared more towards your Amiable and Expressive Buyers.

Combine these findings to identify who your most engaged audience is, double down on posts that resonate with them, and start to draw in the other buyer types by speaking directly to their core motivations.

Want more help understanding your ideal audience and converting them from followers to buyers?

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