How To Segment Your Best-Paying Clients With The Enneagram Model
Henry DeVries Contributor, May 28, 2020, 09:00am EDT
Matt Schlegel, who uses personality models as one of his ways to get at the heart of his client’s needs, was able to provide further advice. Schlegel has spent the last 13 years refining methods for reaching clients better, working in a business development role for two consulting practices. He recently published a book, Teamwork 9.0—Successful Workgroup Problem Solving Using the Enneagram, on teamwork based on his understanding and practice of the Enneagram model.
Schlegel had these tips about segmenting your clients to provide the best service:
Starting Point: Ask questions.
“What problems are your clients trying to solve? Listen carefully. Based on their answers, they will reveal their Enneagram type. Type 1 may say, ‘I am not getting the accurate and complete information that I need to make timely decisions.’ Type 2 may say, “My team is working overtime every week and meeting goals, yet we get no acknowledgement for our extraordinary efforts.” Each Enneagram type will frame a problem from their type’s perspective. It may be the exact same problem, but you will get nine different answers! Versing yourself with these nine perspectives informs you of your prospect’s type during these early conversations.”
Pain Avoidance is Key.
“People are much more sensitive to pain and loss, than pleasure. Once you understand your prospect’s type, you will understand the pain to which they are most acutely sensitive. For instance, Type 3 fears failure, while Type 4 fears being considered common or ordinary. Being able to speak about your service in a way in which your prospect perceives they will avoid their distinct pain will ensure that they pay close attention to your offering.”
Point Out the Positive Benefit.
“The flip side of pain avoidance is positive benefit. Pain and benefit are two sides of the same coin, and each Enneagram type has a distinct coin. Used together, they deliver a powerful message to your prospect. For Type 5, who values information, you may say, ‘In order to avoid missing critical data during your analysis, our solution provides you with all the facts so that you can present well-informed presentations to your board.’ For Type 6, who wants predictability, you may say, ‘Our solutions remove human error, so that you get reliable results each month.’ Knowing the Enneagram type of your prospects allows you to formulate the most impactful message.
Develop Pattern Recognition.
“After a while using the Enneagram, you will discover that certain Enneagram types migrate to certain roles in the company. This pattern is extremely useful when preparing content appropriate for your prospect. For instance, I find that Type 7s relish roles in marketing. Type 8s frequent leadership roles such as COO and CEO. And Type 9s fill service roles such as IT and customer service. Understanding these patterns can give you clues that help you tailor your business development messages appropriately.”
Personality models like Enneagram are helpful tools for the real task: understanding our clients. Like anything, it takes a lot of practice to develop the skills, but using something like Enneagram as a model will allow you to start thinking about your clients differently.
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