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Checkmate: Selling an analytical customer

By Brian Barfield

84262103-mainLast time, I shared with you three keys to successfully sell a ‘demanding’ customer. Now, we move on to selling the ‘analytical’ customer. In order to successfully sell these clients, you must bring your A-game to the table. Here’s how.

The analytical customer can take many shapes and forms. You might come across the intellectual, who knows a lot about jewellery. On the other hand, maybe you’re selling to the jewellery novice, who needs to be informed. These customers are total opposites, yet one thing remains consistent when you sell an analytical customer—it is their thirst for knowledge.

These clients require a tremendous amount of focus and mental energy to meet their needs, which may be why many sales associates shy away from selling an analytical customer—they simply do not have the skill or patience.

The first skill needed to finding success with an analytical customer is product knowledge—it is critical you know what you’re talking about. Make sure you take the time to learn about everything you sell. For those of you just starting out, I encourage you to turn over an analytical customer to someone who is more familiar with the product in the store. The old saying of half of something is better than nothing certainly rings true here. You will not find success with an analytical customer without the proper product knowledge.

After the more skilled associate steps in, make sure you stick around. Soak up the information your colleague is sharing and learn something new. The next time the opportunity arises, you may be ready to sell on your own.

Have you ever played the game of chess before? It’s is a fun game, but can be very exhausting. The mental thought process needed to be successful is tremendous. You often find yourself anticipating your opponent’s moves in order to defeat them. Which brings us to the next skill needed to sell an analytical customer: vision. Selling an analytical customer is very much like playing chess. You must have vision and anticipate every move they could possibly make. By being prepared, you may find yourself calling checkmate more often than your analytical customer.

One important thing to remember is that the customer is also playing mental chess with you. Be careful not to focus solely on anticipating their moves. You must also be careful of your own. Make sure you do not give your customer the advantage by playing too conservatively. In other words, do not be afraid to use your skilled pieces and attack. By this, I mean the selling skills you have obtained so far like compliments, serving your customers, creating obligation, etc. Use your full arsenal of weapons until your analytical customer ‘surrenders’ by making a purchase.

The final skill I will share is one I struggle with myself: patience. To successfully sell an analytical customer, you must have plenty of patience. Not every sell will have to be a marathon, but you must always prepare yourself. It is important to keep in mind the analytical customer requires specific questions to be answered to feel satisfied enough to buy. Take a moment and think of an area in which you might feel vulnerable. Whenever I take my car to be repaired, I assume they are going to rip me off. I feel this way because I know very little about cars or the maintenance required. I want them to show me exactly what they are fixing so I feel comfortable in proceeding with the repair. It is much the same way in closing an analytical customer. They must feel comfortable that their questions are answered completely.

In closing, keep in mind that knowing your product, having vision, and being patient are three important keys to finding success with an analytical customer. Next time, we will finish the four customer types with the ‘simple-minded’ customer.

This article is based on the book, “Modern Day Selling: Unlocking your Hidden Potential,” by Brian Barfield. For more information, visit his website at or e-mail him at

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