(The TYPE Reporter, Excerpts from Vol. 4 No. 4 September 1989, written by Susan Scanlon, and information gathered from Susan Brock, a licensed consulting psychologist, and the workshops Ms. Brock created on Flex Selling.)

Be like a friend, and like a friend, make it clear that you are there for them, and they can go to you anytime they need help with the product. Don't act as if the only thing that matters is the product and its merits. Engage briefly in small talk to get to know a little bit about the human being and let them get to know you. You can compliment something about them or around them that deserves complimenting. Smile, and match their warmth. Don't be afraid to ask personal questions, or use personal pronouns like "you", "we" and "our." When appropriate, arrange for meetings in casual settings, like over lunch, where the conversation can be more informal. Be prepared to describe the objective merits of your product; they'll want that, but after they feel friendly and comfortable with you. Then, when selling your product, be aware that Fs are concerned with what other people think and need. Take the needs and opinions of the other people that they mention seriously.

Sell SFs the service

Treat loyalty as important, yours and theirs. Let them know that when they buy your product, you'll be loyally available to answer their questions or service the product. If they have been patrons for awhile, let them know that you value their loyalty. Be careful about putting down the competition if the SF client has been using them for years. They will feel a sense of loyalty toward them, and will need to defend them. Instead, tell them that the competition is good, but demonstrate that you are even more in tune with their personal needs, and more willing to go the extra mile for them. SFs tend to go beyond what is expected of them in a relationship, and they prize that quality in others. If you do something extra for them, like get it delivered in time for a special event, or help them in some way that you don't get direct financial rewards for, they will see that as a sign of your loyalty, and give you their loyalty in return.

Treat their network as important. When they talk, listen for the names of the people they mention and remember them. Point out the appeal of your product to those people as well as others the client values. For example, "This stove has its controls out of reach of children." Try to find a way that you are connected to their network: "Oh, you deal with Harris and Brook. I've been working with them for twelve years." Tell them stories about or give them testimony from other people whose similar needs have been met by your product or service, especially if it's people they might know, or have other things in common with.

Stress simplicity. Don't get into the big picture or the theoretical side of your product. SFs see that as showing off and over-complexifying things. For example, don't explain the workings of a computer and how it's going to change the future when all they want to know is what buttons to push to call up a record on a current client. If there are three basic steps, don't give them all the substeps. Unless they ask for more, tell them only the essential information they need to gain immediate practical benefit and minimal disruption.

Let them do it. Whenever possible, let them try it, see it, hear it, get their hands on it, say it, or taste it. Take things a step at a time and provide examples, demonstrations, or the real thing for every important point.

Sell NFs their own dreams

Do what counselors do. Help them find the answers that lie within them. Get them to imagine out loud. Ask them "what if" questions like "What if you could have the ideal office, computer, car, etc., what would it look like?" Let them fantasize and idealize. Listen carefully as they delve into and discover their own needs. Then help them articulate what the core element of their dream is. "It sounds like most of all you want an office that is conducive to conversations. Is that about right?"

Also, like counselors do, take their doubts and hesitations seriously. Help them articulate what bothers them, and don't go ahead until their questions and concerns have been addressed.

Brainstorm with them. Next, point out the ways that your services might make their dreams come true. NFs love to hear that their fantasies are possible, or that at least the most important elements of them are possible. But do it as a suggestion. For example: "As I was listening to you, it reminded me of an arrangement like this…"
The word "suggestion" is emphasized because NFs want to have a hand in the original concept, and enjoy the process of people bouncing ideas off of each other, each idea making the ideal more clear, and its realization more possible.

Don't play games with them. NFs don't like to play games because games mean winners and losers, and NFs prefer cooperative efforts. They want to think that you are both on the same team working together to accomplish something. Be honest about yourself and your product. It's unlikely that you'll fool them anyway because they're very good at sensing insincerity.

Don't try to make your points in sequence. NFs think associatively, that is, they go on a "that reminds me of this" kind of path and it's best to let the conversation flow unstructured, giving information when the conversation leads right into it.

NFs get annoyed if they hear you following a numerical outline in your head, although they don't mind sitting back at the end of the conversation and summarizing. Wait till the end, and together you can apply logic and order to the information that was covered.

When selling to SFs, let them know that when they buy your product or service, they are also buying knowledgeable, friendly people who are eager to help them.

"We take real pride in making sure once we've sold something and delivered it, that it's also functioning. It's no good unless you're happy with it. So if the service person you call can't help you right then and there, they'll get back to you within a half hour or, at the latest, at the end of the same day."
When selling to NFs, consider yourself part of a brainstorming team, bouncing ideas off of each other.

"As we've talked, I've found myself toying with a novel idea…"