Persona in Canalibus

by Petri Parvinen

Contemporary research on the efficiency and effectiveness of sales hovers above two key questions: adaptive interaction and value added.

Researchers and managers alike have noticed that the match between the customer’s and the salesperson’s personalities and interaction styles is more important than the salesperson’s personality or skills. “Lika bra leka bäst” (Swedish for “equals play best”). Sales management is more about matchmaking than about training or metrics.

Simultaneously, the salesperson’s role in value creation is changing rapidly. The pre-sales information and search function is dominated by online engines. Electronic word-of-mouth is reducing the salesperson’s role as the one capturing value in persuading to buy or in simply cheating the customer out of his money by promising more than one can deliver. The world will know.

Both of these issues are emphasized by the fact that customers grow increasingly lazy and intolerant towards regular product oriented sales and marketing. No, I don’t want that newsletter. Don’t push it. Take me off your list; you’re the third person calling today. Rather not meet. Couldn’t be bothered. Not interested. What’s in it for me? *sigh*

Research suggests that different people are fundamentally, even genetically, different in terms of how they prefer to be approached. Or, rather, what they’re prone to. Salespeople need to develop and assume approaches that create value for the lazy individual and enable both matchmaking and personalization. It’s about assuming stronger personas – derivatives of personalities. Enter the mothers, maids, janitors and handymen, shrinks, and engineers as salespeople. These personas are the key to efficiency, creating contemporary value and providing true solutions that can be cashed in.

The latest stuff in sales research deals with the changes in and differences of personalities in different channels. We all know how our behavior changes in Skype, online chats, emails, even phone calls. We have recently discovered that people actually react differently to different approaches depending on the channel they are in. In particular, the human has a specific role in multichannel persuasion. He or she MUST also be left with something to say. This beats e-commerce anytime. Persona in canalibus.


This article is from the August 2013 issue of Nordic Business Report. Read the full magazine here »

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