Speaking to your prospects in Klingon? Part 3 of 3

Customer Acquisition
Part 3 of 3

How to influence buying behaviour

Will an understanding of the Buyer Group Colours make a difference to you or your business? Yes, if you choose to modify your communication style depending on the type of prospect you attract. And because you have no control whatsoever over the personality types visiting your website or talking to you at a networking function, your communication must address each type separately.

What that means on your website, for example, is that it makes sense to have all four kinds of communication in easy reach.

A short action video will appeal to Orange; a concise, results oriented overview for Green, linked to a detailed services rundown for Gold. And for Blues, personal photos and genuine testimonials from happy clients.

Get rid of acronyms and buzzwords. Prospects have never heard your industry jargon. Are you sharing valuable information and educating them, or talking down to them and making them feel stupid? It’s often a fine line between the two for the more sensitive Buyer Group Colours, but they’ll never tell you. In both spoken and written forms, tone of voice changes everything. Be careful about the words you choose – is it a “cost” or an “investment?” Are you an avoidable expense or providing a bankable return?

When face-to-face with people, effective sales communication starts with knowing your own strengths and weaknesses. If you don’t know your own colour, losing interested prospects is an expensive way to experiment. Customers will deal with you if they trust you. Credibility is crucial, although different for each of the colours. Most colour groups will not change their mind after saying no. If you find yourself fighting to make a point, stop. The battle is over.

What to say 

If you’re having trouble picking the personality type, just ask. The easiest way to read your prospect is by simple observation backed with an A/B choice question. You probably ask many of them now, but perhaps aren’t evaluating the answers in terms of gaining an insight into buying pattern. For example, when arranging a meeting, a Gold Commander will specifically tell you she has 15 minutes, whereas a Blue Ambassador will not commit to such a tight timeframe. Gold and Green will always have you make an appointment so they are prepared, while Blue and Orange will not want to be tied to a specific time, rather a range.

Q: Should we make an appointment or would you like me to drop by this afternoon?
A: Blue and Orange are almost always flexible in this area, as people are not an interruption but often a welcome break from paperwork.

Q: Would you like me to go through the details and specifics or give you the big picture first?
A: Gold wants all the details. Orange and Blue may ask, but it’s unlikely they’ll be listening. Green wants the overview, but be prepared for searching questions.

Q: Would you prefer I email the information to you or would you like me to go through it with you in person?
A: Green wants the opportunity to judge your response in private; Blue wants to get to know you.

Q: Price aside, what do you value or look for?
A: Staff impact – Blue; efficiency – Green; flexibility – Orange; improved processes – Gold; bottom line impact – Green, etc. Every answer reveals a colour type and is a clue to how your prospect buys.

Getting started

From accounting to operations, structure to scheduling, HR to IT, almost every business or organisation functions as a Gold environment. So it’s safe to start with the assumption you’re communicating with a Gold person until you see or hear clues that inform you otherwise. Ask questions. Communicate with each colour on its own terms. It’s not a matter of being phoney or false, but of giving people due respect in terms they understand and value.

Remember that successful sales conversations are not about what you sell, but about what your prospects want and value. This is both the greatest challenge and opportunity for your communication efforts. Every question can actually help you get closer to your prospect’s own “language” and away from that nasty Klingon. 

Steve Osborne

director at

Marketing, advertising and design consultant with many years experience in small business marketing strategy; brand advertising; packaging and identity design. Expert in developing creative campaigns to attract new prospects for professional and service-based businesses. Deep and broad experience with digital and traditional media channels; sales and general business acumen