Is Your Customer an Extrovert, Introvert, Thinker or Feeler?

By rosalind newton enright, m.a.

It is said that a majority of salespeople are extroverts who find it relatively easy to sell to buyers who have an outgoing, gregarious buying style. These same salespeople may need to pay special attention to introverted customers – the buyers who make up a smaller percentage of their market. Here are some tips to help spot each customer type, as well as some strategies for selling to both. Although each type varies, they all have certain traits that overlap and complement each other.

Extroverts are…

more sociable. They like to talk, and may introduce themselves first. They express opinions readily and volunteer information easily. They generally have more expressive voices, with good voice volume and inflection. Extroverts are more likely to have good eye contact.

Introverts are…

generally quieter. They may wait for you to initiate the conversation. Their voices are softer, with less inflection. They have less eye contact. An introvert pauses while he thinks; he goes inside to check out the information he is receiving. This last point is crucial for a salesperson.

If you are an extrovert, and you decide the person in front of you is an extrovert, this should be easy for you. Just act yourself and you will probably develop good rapport with her. The trick is to match your opposite type, to be more aware of how someone may look at the world differently from you. One of the best ways to develop rapport is to match voice tone and volume. Fast talking New Yorkers don’t sell as well in the South, until they learn to slow down their tone and volume.

Match extroverts by having a louder voice, with more enthusiasm in it. They probably speak faster than introverts, so match their rate. Be friendly and make small talk. Be relaxed in your body language, and practice good eye contact. Respond quickly when they ask a question. Here is something crucial with extroverts: they think by talking out loud, so allow them to talk without interruption so they can establish a train of thought for themselves on your product.

Since most salespeople are extroverts, the more difficult matching is with the introvert customer. Slow down your voice volume, rate and voice variety. Be sure not to be phony, and not to mimic them, but move in their direction. Leave physical space around them; don’t crowd them. Since they need to go inside to process information, leave pauses for them to think (this is the killer for extrovert salespeople), and don’t interrupt them. Don’t use too much direct eye contact. Just let them be, and let the sales call take longer than you may be comfortable with.

Thinkers and Feelers

Since buying your product or service is a decision the customer makes, another valuable type difference of which to be aware is the way people make decisions. Some make them based on rational, logical criteria, and others make them based on feeling and personal value criteria. For instance, when a customer comes into a car dealership with a chart on how different cars stack up on price and options, or he is carrying a copy of Consumer Reports, you know that the decision he will make will be based on logical, reasonable criteria. On the other hand, I buy a car because of the comfort and luxury of the seats and interior. I decide based on how it feels to me. Another example of feeling criteria is when a person buys based on how others in his life will like it or be impressed by it.

How to Spot Thinkers and Feelers

This scale is different for men and women: 60 percent of men make their decisions based on thinking criteria, and 40 percent of men use feeling criteria. For women, it is 60 percent feeling and 40 percent thinking. Don’t make the mistake that all women are feelers and all men are thinkers. You may have a couple where the man is the feeler, and the woman the thinker.

Thinkers are…

interested in facts, prices and options. They may mention how they chose their last similar purchase (using research or Consumer Reports. They will seem more serious and businesslike.

Feelers are…

less interested in the price and the details, and more in how it looks and feels. Color, style, how it will fit with their current setup, who would like it, are all criteria important to feelers.

How to Match the Types

When a couple is purchasing your product, very often it is the woman who makes the decision. Determine which is the decision-maker for your product, and then match the type of that person.

For both types, here is the magic question: When you bought your last…, how did you decide to choose the one you did? They will then tell you whether they are thinkers or feelers.


Be brief and concise, businesslike and logical. List the pros and cons and do not ramble.


Be personable and friendly and explore their feelings about your product. Ask questions such as, “Do you like it?”, “Can you picture yourself using it?”, “Who else do you know who would enjoy it if you bought it?” If you have any testimonials from others, give those, because how other people view your product will be important to them. If you can possibly give personal guarantees on the service, etc., that would be relevant.

Your awareness of extrovert/introvert and thinking/feeling preferences can create a feeling in your customer that you are like him in the way you see the world, and that you are therefore competent to help him in his decision. Conversely, by walking in his moccasins, you may grant more validity to his way of seeing the world and consider him more competent than you might have. Others are not wrong; they’re just different.