chapter
2
How to assess the character
of your prospect quickly and
accurately
How to make these judgements
The most common reasons why people misjudge the
characters of others
You must look into people, as well as at them.
Lord Chesterfield (1694–1773), correspondent
It is natural to assume that other people see things the way we
do. However, if you present a group of people with a straight-
forward piece of information, they usually have very different
reactions to that information. (Think how journalists, presented
with the same information, report it so differently.) Imagine the
sales advantage you would have if you knew in advance how
each individual prospect would react to a given piece of infor -
mation. It is very easy to gain that advantage. Here’s how.
The need to judge others quickly and correctly
There are many methods by which you can understand a
person’s character. Most of them work by checking for particular
traits in that person’s character, because when such a trait is
identied it is usually possible to predict how that will react
in specic situations. The chief failing of these methods is that
psychologists have now identied nearly 5,000 personality traits,
Part 1
Sales meetings and sales proposals28
and one human simply cannot run that many checks in the rst
few minutes of meeting another human. There is just too much
information to process in too short a time and too many colours
in the spectrum.
What you need is a quick, easy-to-use method that gives you a
reliable and accurate diagnosis of a person’s character when you
rst meet them and, fortunately, there is just such a method. It
works by concentrating your analysis on just two of those 5,000-
plus in uences that affect human character, and the reason it’s
effective is that those two in uences are the ones that most
affect human character. This method involves you judging where
a person’s character sits on two scales. Once you have judged
the correct position on each scale, you will understand approx-
imately 80 per cent of their character. That is all you need do.
Here are those two scales:
The rst scale determines the degree to which someone is
introverted or extroverted (Fig. 2.1). Psychologists see this as
the single most signi cant measure of human character. You
have to judge where on this scale a person sits.
Mid-point
Introversion Extroversion
Figure 2.1 Introversion/extroversion
The second scale determines the degree to which someone
is task-oriented or people-oriented (Fig. 2.2). Psychologists
see this as the second most signi cant measure of human
behaviour. (Task-oriented people tend to be logical, objective
and analytical. The people-oriented tend to be more
emotional, subjective and personal.) Again, you judge where
on this scale the person sits.
292
How to assess the character of your prospect quickly and accurately
By combining the two results you can then place the person on
the following chart.
The building blocks of modern psychology: the four
main ways people behave
Mid-point
Task-oriented People-oriented
Figure 2.2 Task-oriented/people-oriented scale
People-oriented Task-oriented
Introvert
Extrovert
Carer Analyser
Socialite Achiever
Figure 2.3 The four main ways people behave
This method of de ning character was rst developed by
Hippocrates (460
BC–377 BC). He was the rst to notice that people
nearly always behave in one of four ways (Fig. 2.3). Despite its
age, no better method for quickly de ning character has yet been
invented. Indeed, this part of his work is still the building block
for most modern psychology.
The reason this test works so well is that it allows you to put the
detail to one side and concentrate on the big picture. You only

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