How to build a rapport with customers

How to understand different customer styles and build a connection that could lead to a sale

In the second instalment of Pure Beauty’s retail sales series, Nikki Taylor discusses how to understand different customer styles and adapt your own to build a connection that could lead to a sale…


The customer and brand relationship

Many customers will buy a brand they like, but you will find that some customers will be loyal towards you, the beauty consultant, rather than the brand or brands that you sell.

When a customer selects her consultant of choice there are many factors that come into play. Customers will often head towards someone they feel is similar to them, whether it be in age range or style. As a side point, this is why I firmly believe that both retailers and brands have a responsibility to recruit and retain older beauty consultants.

Once a customer has found their seemingly perfect match in terms of a consultant, how can you maximise your potential of a sale and why does this relationship sometimes break down? It is all down to building rapport with your customer, or as I call it, ‘personality selling’.


Personality selling

It does not matter what you are selling because whatever the situation, these skills for dealing with different types of customer will always come into play. I have even been told that some people find these skills useful for situations outside of work too.

The information I will give you will help you to identify the different customer styles and show you how to greet and respond appropriately to each one. I will show you how to recognise your own style and ultimately how to adapt your body language, voice and responses to build a rapport with your customers. Customer styles can be split into four groups and each group has a name and a colour – blue, green, red and yellow.


Blue customer – take charge

This customer style is very direct, confident and in control. They are very decisive, serious and often seem to be on a tight schedule. You may notice that they are impatient with small talk and will often interrupt, and as a customer they can be very demanding. The body language will include a controlled posture; they will often lean forward and will nearly always keep eye contact.

The voice will be authoritative and fast-paced, and they will often make statements as opposed to engaging in a full conversation. This customer is always focused on being in control and getting results from both her products and you as a consultant. This customer is loyal to effective products and good service.


Green customer – Tell me

This questioning customer likes information and is always asking for and seeking details before they buy. They will weigh up the pros and cons of all of the options available carefully.

This customer will often ask lots of questions and may seem distant or aloof in their interaction with you. The body language of this customer will comprise of few gestures and a controlled posture. They often will have very little eye contact with you. This is due to them comparing what you are saying with products they have at home.

Their voice will be deliberate and even in tone and they will always ask for details. This customer is focused on getting their questions answered, quality of product and service. She will be loyal to effective products and good service.


Red customer – Show me

This lady has a very tactile personality and is driven by emotion. The feel of the packaging and the smell of the product will be very important to her. She will have ‘show me’ body language with many gestures and a very open posture. She will regularly switch eye contact from you to the product.

Her voice will have an emotional tone and she will often be very descriptive. She is focused entirely on the product and its smell and feel. She loves quality packaging and is loyal to a product once she finds it.


Yellow customer – make friends

This customer’s style is easygoing and cooperative. These people like to talk about their life and family and want a relaxed and friendly conversation at the counter. They love advice but do not like to be pressurised and will often be slow at making decisions. Her body language will sometimes have lots of flowing movements and a relaxed posture.

She can often seem insecure and make little eye contact. Her voice will have lots of inflection and will often be slow paced. She will ask lots of questions and she is often the customer that will ask about products she has seen used by celebrities.

This customer is focused on relationships and is looking for reassurance and agreement. She is not brand loyal so she is the customer that will hunt you down whichever brand or store you work for.


Selling by colour

For blue customers you must be brief and allow for customer interruptions. When speaking to her about different products use words such as ‘results’ and ‘easy’ where appropriate, as that’s often what she’s looking for.

Ask her questions such as what type of make-up shades she likes to wear. When choosing testers ask if she wants to choose a lipstick herself or if you should select one for her. If you don’t give her this option to be in control she will not respond to your selection. When providing tips always make them practical. With this type of customer you should stick to the main points only.

With the green customer, you should always point out details and demonstrate your product knowledge. Use words such as ‘proven’, ‘system’ and ‘value’. When exploring what she needs you should ask questions about her current products as she will give you very detailed answers.

When choosing testers talk about comparing colours and choosing the best one for her. Remember this type of customer likes choices. With this customer, it is important not to make any general claims about a product as she will put it to the test. You should not be too personal with her as she is looking for a professional service.

Red customers want to smell and touch products. Always give them the product to hold and ask for their reaction. Use words like ‘feel’, ‘smell’, ‘enjoy’ and ‘touch’.

When you ask her what she’s looking for, also ask how the colour makes her feel. It is important to use emotional phrases when offering tips, such as “this is a great colour to make you feel uplifted”. Always demonstrate how the products work for this customer.

Yellow customers will be grateful if you take the time to engage in small talk and provide reassurance. Give your advice and always ask for this customer’s reaction. Use words like ‘together’, ‘enjoy’ and ‘special’. When exploring her needs, ask questions such as “Are you happy with your foundation?”

Choosing testers should be all about your relationship with her so select lip glosses together to see which one suits her best. She wants to feel special so give her tips that are just for her and don’t ever rush her or use pressurised selling techniques.


Adjusting your style

Within these customer styles you should identify with one as being your overriding style when you go shopping for yourself. The skill you need to master is adapting your style to suit your customer’s one.

For example, I am a blue ‘take charge’ type of customer so a yellow customer who wants to make friends and chat is my biggest challenge. However, I flex my style to meet the yellow customer halfway and often my ‘take charge’ style helps her to make a decision that a yellow customer matched with a yellow consultant would never have reached. They would probably have a jolly good chat that could last for hours, but we all know that doesn’t help productivity.


Nikki Taylor

This is a contributed article by Founder and MD of consultancy Taylor Made Beauty, Nikki Taylor. Nikki is a beauty brand expert for brands, distributors and retailers. Go to taylor-made-beauty.com for more information.

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