How To Hit It Off Right Away With A Prospect

Business handshakeAnn Landers and Dear Abby (Abigail Van Buren) were both extremely famous advice columnists for decades.

From marriage to divorce, gay rights to abortion, the two columnists had a knack for giving out advice that turned their (pen) names into what some consider cultural icons.

What most people did not know, however, was that the two were twin sisters.

And they could not stand each other

Despite all the advice they doled out  about relationships, the two could not find any common ground. And if these two sisters could not connect with each other, then isn’t it understandable if we fail to connect with our prospects too.

It’s normal to lack chemistry with some people, right?

After all, not everyone wants to do business with us. We’ve all been through those sales calls, and site tours where you know the conversation is not heading where you need it to go.

It’s not that the prospect has any problem with the hotel. It’s that you just can’t find a way to connect with the prospect.

Their personality and ours just lacks chemistry

So what should we do when we are in this position? Well, most of us just get the meeting or phone call over with as soon as possible and move onto the next prospect.

But what if I told you that there is a way to connect with just about everyone. And that there is way to speak their language so the prospect understands you better. And that if you used this technique, your prospect would instantly like and trust you more.

So what’s this little secret?

It’s all about understanding the other person’s temperament

Temperament is who we innately are. It’s our most basic characteristic as a person, and it defines how we act every day. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, observed that there are four distinct temperament styles over 2400 years ago. These are:

  1. Aggressive (Choleric)
  2. Expressive (Sanguine)
  3. Passive (Phlegmatic)
  4. Analytical (Melancholy)

These four temperament styles are inherent in all of us and they affect our character traits, personal preferences, and our general view of life itself.

While we like to think that we can change anything about us, our temperament is something that we are born with. Anyone reading that has children will know that each child comes with his/her own temperament right from day one.

So how does this help us?

While there are many factors that influence our ability as a sales manager, the most important one is our ability to identify our prospects temperament. Knowing the person temperament style would help us present information to prospects in a manner that is most suitable to them.

As an example, if you are sitting across someone who has an aggressive temperament, the last thing you want to do is go into every detail. Because you would know that aggressive personalities want the bottom line. They are not interested in the details, they are more about understanding the overall picture. Knowing this would help shape the way you talk to them on the phone, how you deal with them during the site tour, and during the actual event.

As you can see, being able to identify a person’s temperament can be tremendously beneficial when it comes to connecting with a prospect. And once you understand the characteristics of each, you’ll be able to frame your conversations, site tours, sales proposals, and anything else related to sales in a way that is more palatable to your prospect, regardless of their temperament.

Let’s go into each of the four temperament styles and how to approach each one when selling to them. Take note that this not about being deceptive with your prospect. It is about adjusting our approach so we can relay information in a way that they understand better.

Selling to the Aggressive Personality

  • Self confident, self-sufficient and very independent minded. They tend to tell, not ask so make sure you let them do a lot of the talking.
  • Tend to leave little room for negotiating.
  • They are slow to build relationships because results tend to be more important than people.
  • Many get visibly upset quickly and they use this to intimidate so expect this during your meeting or sales call.
  • Very bottom line oriented people so skip the fluff during the site tour. Just show them what they are interested in seeing.
  • They like a sense of control so ask them ahead of time what they would like to see in a site tour, or what they want in a proposal.
  • Stay big picture and avoid most of the details. They are looking to make a decision quickly and most will hand off the detail work to someone else.
  • They need almost no analytical data. They rely more on their sense of your competency to deliver results

Selling to the Expressive personality

  • Receptive and open to others and build relationships quickly.
  • Expect to be entertained when talking to them as this is their thing.
  • They are more on the aggressive side so they don’t ask; they tell you what they want.
  • Get to the point fast but make sure you go about it in an entertaining way. Add some jokes or some light humor when talking to them.
  • Ask for their opinion often.
  • Stay with the big picture and stay away from details.
  • Quick decision maker.
  • Expect them to be late. They often forget about time as they are highly social.
  • They fear being unsuccessful so make every attempt to let them know that you will ensure the success of their event.

Selling to the Passive Personality

  • They tend to ask as they are not comfortable telling you what to do
  • Their major weakness is being a doormat so don’t treat them as one.
  • Very loyal so if you can get their business once, they will stick around a while so long as they feel that you are fulfilling their needs
  • Don’t go fast. Whether you are negotiating a room block or during a site tour, take things slowly.
  • They value service over price
  • Don’t pressure them with high pressure sales tactics. They will lose interest and will “shut down” opting to cut short your conversation.
  • Very family oriented so make sure to show interest in theirs and talk about yours.
  • If you’re doing a site tour or negotiating something, give them step by step solutions to each problem.
  • They lose focus easily so pepper your conversation with some light humor.
  • They will procrastinate, so you’ll have to do multiple follow-ups to win their business. On the other hand, once you have their business, they won’t go anywhere fast.

Selling to the Analytical Personality

  • They tend to be a perfectionist and if you are disorganized, they will sense it and cross you off their list.
  • They are determined to make the right choice and will analyze using spreadsheets to justify everything.
  • You can win them over with your display of service and quality. Also, show them any kind of hard data on your service record. If you have a good Tripadvisor rating, then show it off to them.
  • When communicating, be very structured with dates, and times. Not only do they think like that, they like to do business with people who have a similar need for structure.
  • They tend to love systems so show them the steps you take to ensure that their event will be successful at the hotel.
  • Build up slowly with a focus on how your hotel provides quality service at a fair price. They are not as price sensitive as much as they are quality sensitive.
  • They will take their time in evaluating your proposals. Expect them to put your hotels proposal details on a spreadsheet and do a side by side comparison of all their choices
  • Fears taking a risk, making a wrong decision and being viewed as incompetent.
  • Tend to want to appear smart

The four different temperament styles above can be spotted relatively quickly. Take a look at the image below and you should be able to spot yourself relatively quickly.


Within your first phone call or meeting, you should be able to narrow the prospect into one of the temperament styles. Once you get a better sense of the kind of person they are,  it’s time for you to adjust the way you sell to them.

But everyone does not fits into a specific temperament style

Much like the many shades of gray, most of our prospects will be a mix of two separate temperament types. You might run into someone who has some qualities of one and other qualities of another (e.g. expressive and passive).

But there will always be a dominant type that will seep through. If the person is slightly analytical, but is extremely aggressive, then talk to them with the more dominant temperament of the two.

We’ve gone over a lot so let’s summarize shall we

Selling can be difficult when you don’t connect with a person. But that does not mean that we have to throw our hands up and walk away. Knowing the other persons temperament can help us understand their “language”, allowing us to adjust how we present information.

By adjusting our approach based on the prospects temperament style, we will be able to convey information in a way that our prospect expects, and appreciates. And that will help us connect to more prospects.

Unless, they are identical twins, of course 🙂

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