When selling a product or service, you should better understand the type of customer how he or she is thinking. Since people are different, there can be no universal patent recipe for it. However, there are some interesting concepts of categorizing potential customers more quickly and to respond effectively to their specific motivation. A relatively well-known and popular concept is the 4-colour model by Frank M. Scheelen. It distinguishes four different personality types: red, blue, yellow and green people. We have briefly summarised for you what distinguishes the individual types and how you should best encounter them in order to convince them of the advantages of being your customers. Best of all, there are new ways of doing the work automatically. But let’s start with the four different types of customers.

Customer types based on the 4-colour model

Customer types based on the 4-colour model by Frank M. Scheelen (in German)

The blue customer

Blue customers are the classic rational thinkers. They are very disciplined, organized and reflective – and they make their decisions. This means that a blue customer expects from you the most comprehensive information possible about your product or service in order to carefully weigh up its advantages and disadvantages. For him, facts stand clearly above his personal relationship with you. Provide this type of customer with sufficient details and give him enough time to think them through. But be careful: blue customers like to try to postpone decisions in order to weigh them over and over again. So work actively towards a decision without exerting too much pressure too quickly.

The green customer

Even customers of the green type need time to process their arguments. However, this is not so much due to a high need for analysis, but rather because they tend to be risk averse. Although green customers are friendly, cautious and largely reliable in their statements, they prefer to stick to the tried and tested and the familiar. Accordingly, it is difficult for you to convince them of a new product or service provider. Listen attentively and find out what risk your counterpart is trying to avoid – in order to then make targeted arguments that give him more security in this respect. Since this type of customer places a lot of value on the opinions of others due to his own decision-making difficulties, it is also worthwhile to find out who is a potential co-decision-maker – in order to win them over to your offer as well.

The yellow customer

The yellow customer type is completely different. He loves the new, the extraordinary and can quickly be inspired by an idea. With his creative nature, he likes to take it up and is also able to infect others with his optimism. If you meet yellow customers with the same openness and cordiality, you will quickly find a common level. But this enthusiasm is both a blessing and a curse. Because it also makes it very easy to distract a yellow customer. Despite initial euphoria, many projects are not implemented later. So it’s worth it for you to invest a little time and build up a trustworthy relationship with this customer. Because the relationship level is very important for him. He also likes to talk about private matters. Conflicts are not his thing. Use your good relationship to keep the enthusiasm of your yellow customer alive for a long time and finally get your deal.

Der red customer

On the relationship level, you will in turn reach the red customer less. In its dominant, controlling way, this type of customer will try to consciously provoke and challenge you. Demonstrate determination in this case and stand up to him confidently – but give him the satisfaction of feeling a little superior to you. If you manage this balancing act, he will give you the chance to convince him of your product. Because the red customer type is quite open-minded towards something new – as long as you can sufficiently demonstrate what positive results he can expect from it. Do not hold him up unnecessarily with personalities or exaggerated friendliness, but argue clearly and goal-oriented. If you then find a clear and precise answer to each of his questions, it can also suddenly go very quickly with the conclusion.

Please note: Colour changer

However, it is not enough to categorize your counterpart according to customer types and then always accept this scheme as given in the future. Under stress the type of your customer can suddenly turn into the exact opposite. The blue becomes yellow, the green red and vice versa. In every conversation situation, pay attention to the essential signals of your customer again and adjust to them individually.

This example shows that concepts such as Scheelen’s 4-colour model can of course only ever depict the complexity of human personalities and decision-making processes in a highly simplified form. Obviously, the situation in which you meet your potential customer also plays a role. However, it can be a useful orientation aid when it comes to quickly assessing the behaviour of your counterpart and selecting your very basic discussion strategy. A talented salesperson’s tool is to refine these individually with the right incentives.

Example: Zalando and Deutsche Bank

At Implisense, we started in 2018 to automatically classify public marketing assets such as tweets, press releases or job advertisements of millions of companies to find out dominant personality types according to the 4-color model. In the following, we would like to give you two examples of well-known companies from Germany that are among the market leaders in their segment. The numbers in the sections indicate the absolute number of recognized 4-color keywords for the respective companies.

Datenanalyse der angesprochenen Persönlichkeiten

A direct comparison of the two graphs immediately shows that the red and blue portions clearly dominate at Deutsche Bank. At Zalando it is the green and yellow shares. Two market leaders, but very different models. The companies consciously – or unconsciously – communicate certain ideas about themselves and the customers they want to reach with their communication.

Currently various marketing departments in Germany evaluate these analyses in order to monitor their own communication with regard to the communication of competitors. Furthermore, these continuously ascertainable findings via API should also be used to consider 1:1 communication, e.g. in mailings or account based marketing. In this way, the concept devised by Frank M. Scheelen may help more people to address the issue correctly and be better understood.

Tip: Note the customer type of your contact person in your CRM system. In the future, you will already know at the beginning of your conversation which signals you should pay more attention to. Automated classifications can also be automatically imported into your CRM with the Implisense API on a daily basis.