Selling to Individual Social Styles

Have you ever been in a meeting where you and the other person just didn’t vibe? It was almost like you missed a memo on how to interact with this individual. You may have thought to yourself, “Wow, this really isn’t going well. What did I do to them?”

In reality, it was probably nothing that you did. It could be that you didn’t adapt to that individual’s social style. You may not be connecting with people because you don’t understand the complex social styles that exist. Understanding them in a business environment can be vital to you closing or losing a sale, simply because you didn’t “speak their language.”

The four social styles that exist are Drivers, Analyticals, Expressives and Amiables.

As mentioned before, anything to do with social styles is complex. This is a brief overview of the social styles and cues that you can pay attention to in your next sales meeting so that you can “speak their language” and build rapport.

It’s important to mention that the styles discussed below are categorized by two dimensions: assertiveness and responsiveness.

Assertiveness is the “degree to which people have opinions about issues and publicly make their position clear to others.”

Responsiveness is “based on how emotional people tend to get in social situations.”


Drivers are high assertiveness and low responsiveness. This means that they are quick to state their opinion. They may appear confident and steadfast in their decisions. Despite being fast with their opinions, they are slow to address emotional concerns. Ina business setting, Drivers are all about the bottom line and are quick to make decision based on it.

How to Sell to Them: sell with the bottom line and how it will benefit them.


Analyticals are low assertiveness and low responsiveness. Analyticals are less likely to be forthcoming with their opinions and are low on the responsiveness factor to emotions.

How to Sell to Them: tangible evidence, facts, and logic.


Expressives are high assertiveness and high responsiveness. They are interested in power and politics and are quick to make decisions. They are also the most likely to change their opinion or decision.

How to Sell to Them: use their personal status and accolades. Also, use demonstrations of products or services.


Amiables are low assertiveness and high responsiveness. This means that they are all about close relationships, teamwork and cooperation. Since Amiables are thoughtful their decision-making process is slow and concise.

How to Sell to Them: with a personal relationship.

Looking for the Cues

What do these styles look like? To sum it up, this Exhibit 5.5 from the textbook in the Professional Sales course at Washington State University Vancouver (aka, WSUV), lists the cues of the social styles in an easy comparison format.

While it takes some time to learn and understand the styles, over time it becomes second nature. Understanding these social styles will help you in your next sales meeting.

Rebekah A. Dull, BA
Digital Strategist
Consulting | Marketing | Websites

Course: Professional Sales
Course Number: MKTG 379, Ronald Pimentel WSUV