For the next month and a half I will be working from the Philadelphia area where I am originally from so I decided to discuss the various personalities of customers and potential customers from various parts of the country and the world. Where I now live and work in Southern California people are very much different than they are in the East coast. In the East Coast things are not sugar coated and people tend to say what’s on their mind where in the west coast not so much, people are much more laid back and conservative in what they’ll say and how they say it. This really is an issue in a national and global market place where you’re dealing with different people from different places. When you are dealing with a customer from Philadelphia, New Jersey, New York and just about any place in the east coast, the conversation has a completely different tone than it would from someone from Los Angeles as it would be from someone from the Midwest or someone from London, and a good salesperson needs to have the ability to adapt their personality to their customer or potential customer.
As I discussed in last week’s blog, The Necessity of Selling Yourself, you’re not selling a product or service, you are selling yourself, and that really comes into play with the personality that you are exercising with a potential customer. If you have a customer from the Bronx, New York the way that you talk to them is going to be very much different than if you were to talk to someone from London; in New York, personalities are much rougher, people say what’s on their mind, they’re not as sensitive as they are in other parts of the country or the world. In London they are very proper, their attitude and personalities are much different, and the conversation with them needs to be on a professional level where talking to someone from the East Coast of the United States the conversation has an entirely different tone.
Years ago I worked for a large fortune 500 company in their collection division and I was responsible for collecting past due accounts and I would deal with people from all over the country. I remember one time I was talking to a guy from Texas and I was cursing while on the phone with him, using profanity and when the call was over someone asked me why I would talk to someone like that, why would I use that type of language , and I said to them because that’s the kind of language they were using. I wasn’t cursing at them, I was cursing with them, I was using profanity in my language, not directed at them, and I managed to collect the money that was due. While I worked there I used different personalities when talking to various people, I talked in a language that they understood. Whether I was talking to an old woman from North Carolina or a surfer from California or someone from New York, and everyone in the office thought it was humorous, and as funny as it may have been it was effective because I had the highest numbers in the office because I adapted my personality to the person on the other end of the line.
While that was collections and not sales, it really was sales because I believe that everything is sales, and as we discussed last week you have to sell yourself. There is a lot of competition in the marketplace in just about every vertical and there are a lot of choices, a lot of options where a potential customer can go and so like I said you have to sell yourself. So I have always adapted my personality to whoever I was talking to and I am not suggesting that you have to have a different accent with everyone that you talk to, because obviously unless you are a voice over professional that’s probably not possible, however you can still adapt your personality to that of the person that you are talking to. You need to use interpersonal skills when talking to someone, and it’s not just about talking the way they talk, it’s about understanding how they think, you need to have the ability of learning and learning quickly about what people want. I have the ability to understand someone’s personality within a few seconds of a conversation and granted I did not learn this skill over night, it was developed over years of talking to people, however anyone can apply this to some degree by simply listening to what the other person is saying. My grandmother used to say that God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason and that reason is you are supposed to listen twice as much as you talk. So at the end of the day you just need to listen to what the other person is saying.