Game of Thrones Guide to the 3 Types of Buyers

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game-of-thrones-season-premier-wallpaperIf you think you have it hard in your sales position, imagine what it would be like to be a sales guy in Westeros. One wrong statement and you’re being thrown into a dungeon or worse, beheaded. (For those of you not watching the HBO series Game of Thrones, that’s the land where most of the action takes place.)

This is also true in business-to-business sales, where one bad meeting can kill a deal.

To be successful in any sales context, you need to understand the personality of your buyer, and what they’re looking to get out of a purchase. Inspired by Game of Thrones, we’ve put together this guide to help you better understand the different types of buyers and what motivates them.

The Rational Buyer

Aidan_Gillen_as_Petyr_BaelishFirst, the rational personality buyer is always weighing the scales and calculating the pros and cons of each decision. He or she is looking at the ROI analysis in detail before the purchase, and ruthlessly choosing the higher value options. Very much like Petyr Baelish a/k/a Littlefinger. Baelish is continually playing one side against the other to get his advantage; taking no emotion into account to achieve his goal.
So how do you make a sale to this personality type? Well, your presentation better be crisp, your numbers all adding up and your focus on delivering specific benefit.

I remember one sale that we made to a large telecommunications company, who turned out to be a rational buyer. We were replacing an existing system that was costing his company millions of dollars each year in support costs. Any time we started talking about the advantages of the new system over the old one, he got really cranky. We tailored our approach to him to be focused very specifically on cost reduction.

For rational buyers, focus on numbers and how it will benefit their bottom line.

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The Visionary Buyer

Daenerys_Targaryen_with_Dragon-Emilia_ClarkeNext, the visionary buyer has one eye glued at all times to the big picture, so your sales pitch needs to show them how they get there.
Daenerys Targaryen’s vision is clear from the start of the show: restore her place as the rightful queen of Westeros. Unlike Baelish who can be swayed by a tempting business case, Daenerys’ focus is unwavering.

In some sense, selling to the visionary buyer is easier, if your product or service can help them advance their vision. Once that happens, you’re usually in. If not, no amount of voicemails will make them call you back.

For this buyer, you have to identify them and their vision, and then strategize how you fit in.

The Emotional Buyer

QueencerseiSomewhere in between the rational and visionary buyer, lives the emotional buyer. This type of individual has strong feelings about issues, but doesn’t need to put them into a spreadsheet. They can also be swayed perhaps a bit more easily than the other two buyer types, but are also prone to changing their mind halfway through the sales process!

I remember working with our sales team on a deal with a large financial services firm. Our key contact got very comfortable with us very quickly because she felt that we were a great cultural fit for their organization. We obviously had a good solution, but it was the intangibles that she greatly valued.

In the Game of Thrones universe, this type of buyer is represented by Cersei Lannister. This former Queen makes decisions impulsively – sometimes for the better, other times they don’t work out so well.

How do you sell to the emotional buyer? Stay connected, keep in good contact, and pour on the charm. Also keep in mind that as easy as it may be to have earned this buyer’s business, it can be just as easy to lose it.

Is it Good to be the King?

In most sales situations, you’re not just selling to one person, and often they’ll have personality types that are opposed. You need to keep this in mind when you’re crafting your pitch and communications. It is important to make sure that the right parts of your approach are being heard by the right person.

When you are contacting decision makers, look for the signs of their personality type early on. Is the person interested in finding out the exact figures that you can offer them, do they talk about their ultimate goal and where they are headed, or do they show signs of caring more about improving their culture and how they feel. Take notes and use these cues to respond to your buyer appropriately. In doing so, you will be like the successful royal family on Game of Thrones; achieving victory of your kingdoms by playing your cards right.

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Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adam Honig
Adam is the Co-Founder and CEO of Spiro Technologies. He is a recognized thought-leader in sales process and effectiveness, and has previously co-founded three successful technology companies: Innoveer Solutions, C-Bridge, and Open Environment. He is best known for speaking at various conferences including Dreamforce, for pioneering the 'No Jerks' hiring model, and for flying his drone while traveling the world.

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