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How to sell your services to the 5 different types of decision makers

I’m diving deep into the world of selling services by exploring how to sell to the different types of decision makers. This episode is packed with insights and real-life examples that will help you tailor your approach to different clients and customers.

Why focus on different types of decision-makers? Well, think about it: if you’re a logical thinker, you might assume everyone makes decisions the same way. But the reality is, there are five distinct styles of decision-making. Understanding these styles can make a huge difference in how you pitch your services and close deals.

The Harvard Business Review conducted a study in 2002 that identified these five decision-making styles. To bring these styles to life, I’ve interviewed five business owners who embody each style. They’ll share their last service purchase, their decision-making process, what they look for on sales pages, their email and social media habits, and the type of content that influences their purchasing decisions.

How to sell your services to the 5 different types of decision makers

1. The charismatic decision maker

This type of decision-maker is easily excited by new things. They make quick decisions but can also lose interest quickly. They’re about 25% of the executives in the study, making them a significant group. They’re likely to buy quickly and are relatively easy to convince.

Meet Anna, the charismatic decision maker

Anna Dearmon Kornick is a time management coach, host of the Top 1% “It’s About Time” podcast, and author of “Time Management Essentials.” She’s a quick decision-maker and doesn’t like to get slowed down by analysis paralysis. She recently hired a virtual assistant when the VA sent an email to her inbox at a time when she was looking for someone to hire.

Anna’s decision-making process involves looking for upfront pricing and evaluating whether the service matches her needs. She prefers email newsletters that offer a ton of value and spends most of her time on Instagram, where she engages with content from business owners she likes or knows.

For Anna, the most influential content is seeing the results others have achieved. She values a proven track record and a sense of urgency in making decisions.

2. The thinker

This type of decision-maker reads extensively and needs a lot of information to make a decision. They’re one of the toughest to persuade and make up about 11% of the executives in the study.

Meet Stephanie, the thinker

Stephanie Judice owns a podcast agency and primarily works with female coaches, consultants, and course creators. Her most recent purchase was a group coaching program, which she enrolled in after carefully considering her options.

Stephanie is a slow decision-maker who buys on the last day after thoroughly researching and processing information. She reads sales pages from start to finish, jotting down notes and questions along the way. She values upfront pricing and appreciates sales emails that answer common questions.

Stephanie’s social media habits have evolved, and she now prefers Instagram and Facebook for their community aspects. She engages with content from coaches and programs she’s interested in, focusing on videos to get a sense of the personality behind the brand.

For Stephanie, testimonials, FAQ sections, and videos are the most influential content when making a purchasing decision.

3. The follower

These folks make up about 36% of the executives in the study and are all about trusting their own past decisions or recommendations from trusted sources.

Meet Olivia, the follower

Olivia Fox, a resume writer and founder of The Resume Fox, is a follower. Olivia, like many followers, takes her time to make decisions.

She recently booked a copywriting strategy session after weeks of contemplation. Olivia’s decision to book the service was influenced by her relationship with the copywriter and the need to strategize with someone while learning.

For Olivia, recommendations and reviews from trusted sources weigh heavily in her decision-making process. She values testimonials and reviews that speak to specific outcomes she’s looking for, like brainstorming and collaborating.

When it comes to browsing sales pages, Olivia looks for services that align with her goals and outcomes. She immediately goes to reviews to see if others have had the same positive experiences she’s looking for. A specific testimonial about brainstorming ideas sealed the deal for her, highlighting the power of personalized, outcome-focused content.

Olivia’s email and social media habits reflect her preference for trusted sources. She follows a core group of business owners for tips and recommendations, avoiding unnecessary scrolling.

Testimonials and before-and-after stories are the most influential content for Olivia when making a purchase decision, as they provide tangible evidence of a service’s value.

4. The skeptic

This person is highly suspicious of every single thing they have to establish trust. In order to move forward with the decision, they are the most difficult to sell to.

Meet Taylor, the skeptic

Let’s talk about Taylor Oliver, a commercial and lifestyle photographer, and content creator. Taylor embodies the skeptical decision-maker, teetering between impulsiveness and a deep-seated distrust of online offers. She recently invested in a 12-week online course after attending a free webinar and being impressed by the tangible value it offered.

Taylor’s decision-making process is cautious, often starting with free products or webinars to gauge the value of a service. She’s skeptical of fluff and looks for real, actionable insights. What ultimately pushed her to purchase the course was a 14-day money-back guarantee, providing her with a safety net in case the course didn’t meet her expectations.

When browsing sales pages, Taylor skips to the details, looking for specific information about what she’ll get for her money. She wants real, tactical information that reflects the price being asked. Her email and social media consumption habits are focused on her business, researching competitors, and ideating content for her clients.

Taylor values video testimonials and candid reviews over written ones, as they feel more authentic to her. A money-back guarantee is a significant factor in her decision-making process, especially when combined with the ability to preview and access some of the product before committing fully.

5. The controller

Controllers thrive on facts, logic, and analytics. We pride ourselves on being logical, sensible, detail-oriented, analytical, and objective. Controllers make up just 9% of executives from the original study, making us the smallest group of decision-makers. But hey, I’ve always loved being unique.

Meet Felter, the controller

I recently purchased an ads group coaching program. While I had taken similar courses before, what drew me to this program was the added support.

The decision-making process for me was fairly straightforward—I had a mental price point in mind, and if the program fell under that threshold, it was a yes. However, deciding between paying in full for a bonus strategy call or opting for the payment plan proved to be the real challenge. In the end, I chose the payment plan, reasoning that I could always purchase the strategy call separately if needed. As a controller, my decision-making process often involves a cost-benefit analysis.

When browsing sales or service pages, I tend to skim through the content, focusing on the features and quickly estimating their value to gauge if the price is fair. I have a strong aversion to overinflated discounts and always double-check the math to ensure transparency.

When it comes to email, I am easily distracted by the unread count and try to maintain a disciplined approach to checking my inbox. I aim for inbox zero but usually scan through emails quickly, looking for anything of interest.

On social media, particularly Instagram, I struggle with comparison and tend to mute accounts that trigger negative feelings. I prefer consuming stories over scrolling through feeds.

For me, content that leads to a purchase is rooted in logic and hard facts. I look for clear outcomes and benefits, often having to deduce them myself. However, I’ve learned that not all decisions need to make sense on paper, and sometimes taking a leap of faith can lead to unexpected results.

The podcast for service providers, coaches, and freelancers

marketing strategy, online business growth, and work-life balance

Obsessed with Skilled and Fulfilled already

I got a sneak peek of Skilled and Fulfilled and I already love it. My favorite episode is episode 2 where Felter shares things she has learned in therapy and how they can be applied to business. Felter is honest, raw, hilarious and full of insight. She doesn’t shy away from talking about the hard parts of business which I love. I can’t wait for the rest of season 1!

– Morgan Sloan, Apple Podcasts

featuring:

Anna Dearmon Kornick
Time management coach and host of It's About Time

featuring:

Stephanie Judice
Podcast agency owner

featuring:

Olivia Fox
résumé writer and founder of Resume Fox

featuring:

Taylor Oliver
Photographer and content creator

featuring:

Lauren Felter
Brand and web designer

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