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DEAA - the guru mantra for successful selling

How well we sell our ideas and our solutions to our clients is what finally determines how successful we become in our business. All of us work hard on perfecting our sales pitch. But we know there cannot be a one-pitch-that-fits all approach to making sales pitches. How then should we figure out what pitch works best for which customer?

There is a costly way which is the trial and error way - costly because experience gained from making inappropriate pitches costs us many lost clients, many lost opportunities. There's a better way to approach this problem - one which leans on a popular psychology lesson on social behavior.

Sell Well Grow Well introduces you to the DEAA framework that will guide you to make just the right pitch for each type of customer, and thus maximize your sales.

There are many classifications of broad behaviours that are used by psychologists to understand human behavior. In this article, we will look at four broad types of social behaviour that will help you to understand your clients and know how best to interact with them. Understanding each of these 4 personality types will give you insights into where you should push, where you should back off, where you should use data, where you should use an emotional appeal, how to effectively handle the same objection from different personality types and how to prepare your pitch to make it resonate with the specific client you are about to meet.

The DEAA framework

The DEAA framework suggests that all of us can broadly be put into 4 categories in terms of how we behave socially and by extension in business dealings. There are two parameters on the basis of which these 4 quadrants are drawn up:

  1. Are you a task oriented type or a people oriented type

  2. Is your natural inclination to tell or to ask


  1. Driver - These are clients who is assertive but not responsive. So when you talk to them, you find that they are decisive and determined and their emotions will be controlled. So they will not necessarily show huge verbal responses to your pitch. Because they are task orientated, rather than people orientated, they place high value on efficiency and effectiveness. They like to be in control and often in a hurry. So they will be impatient and can be tough to negotiate with as they are stubborn and inflexible. They are also not good listeners.

  2. Engaging with them - Since they are task oriented, it is important to use facts and logic in your sales pitch. It is not necessary to talk for a long period of time. Instead, be business-like, efficient and to the point. As they are not people orientated, personal guarantees and testimonials are least effective. Instead, provide options and facts based on current financial market conditions. Be assertive when it comes to handling objections but remember to disagree on facts rather than opinions. Since they can be stubborn and inflexible, they are unlikely to change their mind and disagreeing with their opinion will be counter-productive for you. Do not invade their personal space and keep a physical distance.

  3. Expressive - These are clients who are socializers, the life of any party. They will be assertive and also responsive. They are very intuitive, impulsive and make spontaneous decisions. Because they are very responsive, they are reactive to situations. So they can be very dramatic and emotionally expressive. They are the sort of people who are easily loved because they are very enthusiastic and can be very flexible. They are creative, talkative with strong persuasive skills.

  4. Engaging with them - Because they place more importance on people than tasks, your conversation should be people orientated with the goal of making a connection. Seek their opinion in an area you wish to develop to forge a mutual understanding. Remember they have a short attention span and so it is important to keep summarizing and work out specifics on points of agreement. While you can use stories or experiences in your sales pitch, remember to keep it short and fast moving. Discuss the future as well as the present and look out for the impulse buy. Since they are more likely to make spontaneous decisions, they can come in looking for one investment but be open to discussing and deciding on another. If there are objections, make sure to deal with it in a friendly and disarming way.

  5. Amiable - These are clients who are supporters. As they are usually dependent on others, they will be very responsive to your pitch but not assertive. They are often respectful, willing and agreeable. They are the kind of people who is everyone's friend because they are soft-hearted. They are emotionally expressive and can be over-sensitive. So be careful with how you word delicate topics. They are usually low risk takers and like security. They are not normally goal orientated.

  6. Engaging with them - They need to feel that you are working with them and so seek common ground. Find out about their personal interests and family. Be patient and do not push as that will overwhelm them and make them feel at a disadvantage. Instead empower them with personal assurance and give them low risk options. With objections, take time to be agreeable by expressing empathy and clarify the nature of their concerns. Don't take advantage of their good nature - because they are so supportive and a group builder, they will have a good circle of friends. Hearing their soft-hearted friend was pushed on to a high-risk product will only impair your reputation.

  7. Analytical - These are clients who are very clinical and are neither assertive or responsive. They will be self-controlled and serious. They tend to distrust persuasive people and so remember to temper your persuasion. They are motivated by logic and facts and will not make decisions quickly. They like things in writing and detail and are very precise, orderly and business-like. Facts on a powerpoint presentation will be a good method to deliver your content. They can be critical, aloof and skeptical - so be prepared to face minute and detailed questions in order to satisfy them. They tend to be excellent problem solvers which means they will analyze the financial products in different angles before reaching a conclusion.

  8. Engaging with them: Because they distrust persuasive people, it is extremely important to not oversell as they expect sales people to overstate. So stick to facts and specifics and take action rather than words to demonstrate helpfulness. Become less responsive and less assertive yourself in order to show that you are not the typical pushy sales person. They can be co-operative but you need to establish a relationship with them which takes time. Since their decisions are based on facts and logic, they will tend to avoid risk, unless a clear risk mitigation strategy is in place. Consider telling them what the product cannot do and they will respect you for it since they would have arrived at that conclusion even without you telling them due to their excellent problem-solving skills. In order to help them make a decision, it is good to discuss reasons and ask "why" questions. So be prepared to spend time with them - and ensure you have done your homework on your proposed solution really well.

Next steps

If you think the DEAA framework can help clarify for you how to modulate your pitch for each customer type, take out your client list now and put each client into one of the 4 quadrants based on your understanding of their behavior. When putting together your pitch for any new solution you want to take to your clients, make sure you have four versions of this pitch ready - one for each quadrant. Deliver the appropriate pitch to each client and you will see many more conversions happening, and also happening a lot faster.

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