The 4 Types of Buyer Languages

By Dana Severson

Have you ever been in a face-to-face meeting with someone where their mannerisms felt like they were screaming at you, "GET TO THE POINT"?

Or, how about with someone that's looking back at you with a blank stare, offering up a head nod every few moments to give you the impression that they're following your every word?

The beauty of human-to-human interactions is that in addition to verbal communication, we're able to use our innate senses to pick up on all of the non-verbal signs as well, giving us the ability to make on-the-fly adjustments in that way that we're communicating our message.

The challenge that many of us face however is that most of our communications and selling doesn't happen in person — it happens online.

But here's something interesting to think about ... what if there was a way to understand whether someone needs to you to "get to the point", or "slow down", without being face-to-face? In other words, what if you had the ability to pick up on someone's non-verbal cues without actually being in front of them?

Do you know what your love language is?

Several years ago, my wife and I decided to read, The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

If you're not familiar with the book, it puts forth the idea that everyone defines 'feeling loved' by someone in one of five different ways — receiving gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service and/or physical touch.

The big Ah-ha moment from the book is in realizing that just because you see receiving a gift from your partner as the way to your heart, it doesn’t mean that it’s also the way to your partner’s heart.

Our natural human behavior leads us to believe that the things that we see as positive, are the same things that others see as positive as well. This idea guides our actions unto others, bringing us to the conclusion that we’re doing the right thing.

And, this applies in business as well ...

Buyers have a preferred language as well ...

Not too long ago, a fellow marketer I know and respect sent out the following tweet:

Hmmm … I don't quite agree. 

As a marketer myself, I agree with Dave in that I prefer long-form copy as well. But then again, as a marketer, I also realize that there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to communicating your message to potential buyers and customers.

In the same way that we each have a love language, we also each have our own buyer language.

The style in which we communicate, the way we process our thoughts, our methods of making decisions … they are different.

Let me give you an example of what I mean:

For the past 5 years, my wife and I have been talking about moving. The biggest thing in our way was my wife’s aversion for “sleazy” sales pitches from agents. Meanwhile, I just saw them as … well, selling.

Last fall, we finally pulled the trigger.

The decision came as a result of my wife finally finding an agent that spent two hours with her, patiently answering questions without ever asking for the sale.

She has a buyer language and that language is vastly different than mine.

The 4 Buyer Languages

People buy things based on either Pain, Fear or Motivation.

  • Pain: Need something to solve a problem (i.e. software)
  • Fear: Need something to avoid a problem (i.e. insurance)
  • Motivation: Need something to improve mood, salary, sales, etc. (i.e. online course)

The way you sell your product or service needs to address the reason why people will want to buy your product, but that’s only half of the equation.

You also need to be able to describe the reason in a way that resonates with each individual buyer. This is where understanding the unique buyer language is critical.

Our individual personality type not only helps us understand ourselves better, but it can also be used as the answer to how we prefer to be sold.

All of us primarily fall into one of four personality types:

  1. Analytical
  2. Expressive
  3. Amiable
  4. Driver

Each of them holds the answer to the way in which we prefer to process information and make decisions — in other words, they define our preferred buyer language

Let's take a look at how each of them differs:

Analytical Buyer Language

If you’re in a face-to-face meeting, you’re not going to see many emotional expressions to give you an indication of whether you’re on the right or wrong track with this buyer type.

That’s because buyers that fit this category are usually deep in thought, processing the information that you’re providing them, asking detailed questions and not making emotion-based decisions.

Analytical buyer language needs to be concrete and fact-based, with very minimal fluff.

These buyers make informed decisions based on research, statistics and as much detail as possible.

Expressive Buyer Language

Compared to analytical buyers, expressive buyers fall on the complete opposite end of the spectrum.

Statistics, facts and details will bore this buyer to no end … they’re not buying from you based on the numbers, they’re buying from you because you’ve been patient and didn’t sell them with too much detail.

Expressive buyer language needs to be visual as much as (or more than) verbal. It should be big picture focused, enthusiastic but also concise.

These buyers value recommendations and testimonials from people they know, basing their buying decisions largely on feelings and intuition.

Amiable Buyer Language

Even more than an expressive buyer, amiable buyers make decisions mostly on relationships and emotions.

This is the language of my wife. Her decision on which house or car to purchase is largely based on the relationship she has with the seller.

Amiable buyers are friendly, agreeable and quick to make decisions, but first, they need to trust you.

Amiable buyer language needs to establish trust and at the same time show that you care more about your relationship with them than the revenue it brings to your business.

As long as you deliver on the promise you make, these buyers will be life-long customers and happy to spread the word to everyone they know.

Driver Buyer Language

Lastly, we have Driver-types. These buyers are highly intelligent and need very little information to make quick purchase decisions.

They are bottom-line focused and unlike an amiable buyer, they don’t want to make small-talk to start a relationship. They value their time and are as efficient as possible in arriving at a decision.

Driver buyer language should be concise (even bulleted) and almost be considered a check-list of addressing the reason why they should be buying your product or service.

Avoid the fluff and get to your point quickly and you’ll be able to sell to this buyer type at record speed. But be careful, because customer loyalty isn’t a characteristic they tend to possess.

Is there one language to rule them all?

As much as we would all love the simplicity of using one universal message to resonate with all of our potential buyers, it’s not the reality.

The good news is, you no longer need to be face-to-face with a buyer in order to understand or adjust the language you’re speaking to them.

In addition to gathering data about your visitors and adjusting your buyer language on-the-fly with RightMessage, there are some simple hacks you can use to identify the personality type of your audience that I’ll cover in an upcoming post.

In the meantime, why not grab a free trial of RightMessage and start asking your visitors which language they’d prefer?

The results will astonish you!