Sales professionalism 13

By:  Dr. M. Shehab

All rights reserved to the writer

Social style matrix

Adaptive selling


As we said before personal selling is the best tool of marketing communication that allow message to be adapted according the need of the customers.

Social style matrix is an approach developed by David Merrill and his colleagues. Through research, they revealed patterns of behavior or social styles that people use when they interact with others. Those patterns help to achieve better relationship. Two critical dimensions are used to understand social behavior.

1 – Assertiveness:

 It is the amount of effort people use to influence the thoughts and actions of others. Assertive people are very direct; they speak out what they think, make strong statements, and have a take – charge attitude. Non-assertive people are usually easy going and supportive. As a rule, assertive people assume the telling role while non-assertive people assume the asking role.

2- Responsiveness:

    It is the amount of effort people use to control their emotions when dealing with others. Responsive people show their emotions readily, they are friendly and informal. Non – responsive people have learned to control their emotions.

Profiles of the Social Style Matrix:

When combining these two measures, we get four different social styles that form the social style matrix.

New Picture

These social styles are:

1-    The Drivers:

 New Picture (1)

Control specialists, they tell and control, are task oriented and self-motivated and like challenges.

2-    The Analytical:

 New Picture (2)

System specialists, they ask and control, ask questions, gather facts and make logical decisions.

3-    The Expressive:

 New Picture (3)

Relation specialists, they tell and emote, are highly intuitive, go with gut feelings.

4-The Amiable:

 New Picture (4)

Support specialists, they ask and emote, are good listeners and build long-term relationships.


Identifying social styles:

 We can learn a lot about others by carefully observing them and their work place.

1- The Drivers:

ñ Technician background

ñ Achievement awards on walls

ñ No posters on office walls

ñ Calendar prominently displayed

ñ Desk placed so contact with people is across the desk

ñ Conservative dress

ñ Likes group leisure activities

2- The Analytical:

ñ Technical background

ñ Achievement awards on walls

ñ Office-work oriented

ñ Shows many activities

ñ Conservative dress

ñ Likes individual leisure activities

3- The Expressive:

ñ Liberal art background

ñ Motivational slogans on the walls

ñ Office with a friendly, open atmosphere

ñ Cluttered, unorganized desk

ñ Desk placed for open contact with people

ñ Causal outfit

ñ Likes group leisure activities

4- The Amiable:

ñ Liberal art background

ñ Office with a friendly, open atmosphere

ñ Pictures of family displayed

ñ Personal mementos on the walls

ñ Desk placed for open contact with people

ñ Causal dress

ñ Likes individual leisure activities.

Adaptive Selling

Salespeople or medical reps practice adaptive selling when they ask questions to learn about customers’ individual needs then tailor presentation to address these needs. They can also offer customer-specific solutions.

Medical reps can also read all signals and signs to learn about the customer and try to identify customer personality types and alter their own in order to accommodate.

In modem selling approaches adaptive selling is very important for medical reps to avoid sounding “canned” presentation. Medical reps must treat customers as individuals, rather than numbers, they must build credibility and trust

Medical reps must have a great knowledge of Customers (Business, Buying Situation, and Behavioral Style), Company, Product, Competitors to be professionals in adaptive selling.

They must be good listeners, creative thinkers and presenters. They must also be good communicators and have the ability to recognize cues.

 In the next article we will discuss how to sell to each style, what’s ego state?  how it affects your communication style?

I will be happy with your comments: