9 MSP Selling Rules — For 9 Types of Buyers

By Stuart_R_Crawford
In MSP Coaching
July 19, 2013

Stuart R. Crawford / Stuart Crawford

MSP Sales RulesAs an MSP sales professional you’ve likely been trained to seek out prime prospects and convince them to try your services.  But in IT sales, as with any type of sale, you shouldn’t use a one-size-fits-all sales pitch. You need to “speak your buyer’s language.”  In other words, you need to adapt to their style of communication.

Everyone’s different, with different natures and personalities. Your sales training probably didn’t teach you how to prepare for the many buyer personalities you’ll encounter.  But if you apply the same sales technique to everyone you meet, you’ll only close 25% of your potential deals.

To increase your success you must to learn how to deal with as many as nine different buyer personalities and a multitude of preferences for how they’d like to buy. The first thing you need to do is to recognize the nine different types of buyer personalities:

  • Decisive
  • Collaborative
  • Technical
  • Relationship
  • Skeptical
  • Gradual
  • Warped
  • Analytical
  • Innovative

If you can identify your buyer’s personality you can apply the sales pitch that works best and is most appealing to their nature. This way you’ll win more sales.


This personality is proactive, results-driven and wants to win. Decisive is assertive, solves problems and takes action. He or she could also be demanding and want things done in a particular way and within a specific timeframe. If you know this in advance, you won’t be put off or insulted. It’s just Decisive’s nature to be this way.

When selling to Decisive, you should be decisive as well, and show that you’re willing to take some risks to help Decisive succeed. You’ll win Decisive’s respect. Conflict won’t be an issue; Decisive thrives on conflict. Decisive doesn’t do well with collaboration or consensus. The answer to is to present your sales pitch clearly, confidently and decisively.


Collaborative is the exact opposite of Decisive. He or she likes to work with others to solve problems. Collaborative is diplomatic, flexible, adaptable and tactful. Collaborative will always show you respect, even if he or she disagrees with you. Conflict isn’t an option; it’s an uncomfortable place for Collaborative.

When selling to Collaborative remember that consensus building is a priority. It may take more time to understand exactly what Collaborative wants. He or she won’t want to assume or push; you’ll need to delicately pull information out of Collaborative, and take other teammate’s opinions into consideration as well in order to please Collaborative. Patience is the key with Collaborative, but if you are tactful, respectful and listen, you’ll eventually get Collaborative to buy if you have something worth selling.


Technical prides him or herself on knowing more than you do about IT. They often use Google searches to research alternative solutions that they think are better than what you’re promoting.  Technical wants to prove that he or she knows what will work and how to use it.  As a child you would have called this person “Smarty Pants” because Technical seems to “know it all” and basically wants to put you down with their “intellect.”

When selling to Technical it will take all of your many sales skills and lots of patience to navigate the vast amount of information thrown at you, and to do this without insulting his or her pride. Stay calm, listen, thank Technical for the advice and do your best to maneuver forward, carefully, to sell what you know will work for their business.


Relationship loves to relate to others; he or she is a social being and likes to interact, engage and work with teams. Relationship looks at the big picture, and is creative and enthusiastic when problem solving. And he or she loves to talk! Just ask Relationship questions and he or she will be your best friend.

When selling to Relationship listen to his or her ideas first and keep technical details to a minimum. Promote Relationship’s enthusiasm in the problem solving and solution (a buy from you) presented, and you’ll give him or her a reason to exist. Listen, listen, and listen, no matter how boring the discussion. Relationship loves to talk about other things that have nothing to do with business, and if you try to stop this, you’ll lose a sale. Patience and relating is key to winning a sale from Relationship.


Skeptical is the opposite of Relationship. Skeptical is introspective, reserved and a critical thinker. It will take a while for Skeptical to develop a sense of trust with you. Don’t try to get close; Skeptical may keep a distance by emailing rather than speaking on the phone. Don’t be insulted; this is just his or her way of interacting. Skeptical doesn’t want embellishments and he or she won’t do a lot of talking like Relationship does. But once you earn Skeptical’s trust, you’re “in” and you’ll have an opening to sell. Skeptical is realistic and makes decisions based on reality. But don’t be pushy; respect Skeptical’s nature and need for space. You’ll need to put in a lot of time in with Skeptical, so be prepared.

When selling to Skeptical don’t be insulted by his or her lack of responsiveness or gestures.  Skeptical isn’t demonstrative and can be hard to read.  Skeptical won’t want to share much at meetings, and if you don’t respect this he or she could quietly block your sale.  If this happens, you’ll never see it coming. Don’t push, be patient and hopefully Skeptical can ultimately be convinced.


Gradual is a bit like Skeptical because he or she is slow and steady, and you need to be as well in order not to overwhelm Gradual. Gradual can get distracted by too many tasks or options because he or she will want to ensure each thing gets done, albeit gradually. Gradual prides him or herself on being gracious, a team player and someone who can be depended upon.  Gradual is service oriented, patient and empathetic.

When selling to gradual, take your time, but proceed in a forward direction. Unless Gradual is urged to ultimately make a decision, he or she will take forever to do so. Patience is the key. You might decide the time you need to invest with Gradual isn’t worth the sale. If you do proceed, remember that this will likely be a long and lengthy process.


Warp is the opposite of Gradual; Warp wants everything done yesterday! “Warp Speed” is Warp’s “call name.” Fast isn’t fast enough. And Warp likes change; he or she makes decisions quickly and in most instances, spontaneously. Warp like’s to jump in and get it done; then move on to the next task. Warp has a strong sense of urgency and is usually working on multiple projects at once.

If you want to sell to Warp you must ensure he or she doesn’t get bored.  Warp likes to make decisions on the big picture without many details. Be fast, flexible and adaptable because Warp is a change agent and thrives on “stirring the pot.”  The key is to not get caught off balance, to move quickly and try to keep a step ahead of Warp. But this will be difficult because Warp can change direction on you in an instant.


Analytical is just the way you would imagine. Data is important, past success is an indicator of future success; metrics are Analytical’s “Bible.” Analytical will turn the data around and inspect it inside and out, like a Rubik’s Cube. Analytical is cautious and wants to ensure he or she has looked at every angle of a problem or solution before making a decision.

When selling to Analytical be sure you’ve done your homework and you have all the data to prove it.  Don’t push analytical or criticize him or her for taking too much time and asking so many questions. Patience is the key with Analytical, and proven facts to back your sales pitch.


Innovator doesn’t like boundaries, rules, data, past successes or anything historical.  Innovator likes to test boundaries, make his or own rules, solve problems creatively and try new things. Innovator is like a three-year old testing and trying everything he or she encounters. Innovator is creative, intelligent and likes to brainstorm new ideas.

When selling to innovator, don’t push the details. Join in on a brainstorming session with Innovator.  Talk about the “what if’s” and the potential possibilities of a solution. And when you’ve decided on one that’s a possible fit, bring Innovator’s thoughts into reality and show him or her how your solution is a match.

When considering these nine different personalities, it’s important to realize that none of them are right or wrong.  They’re just they way they are. It’s you who needs to fit their mould and not vice versa. To be a great MSP sales professional, know to whom you’re selling and what approach appeals to them. Recognizing this and being able to adapt to their buying style will make selling more fun, and help you make the sale.

Looking for a proven MSP sales strategy?  Download Ulistic’s 17 step sales & marketing process.  Read what your peers say about this proven & highly successful sales strategy. Click Here.

Read More