There are 100 Billion Customer Types. Go Figure.

There are 100 Billion Customer Types. Go Figure.

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at

Selling is not about defining the type of buyer you’re facing. There are a millions of types of buyers.

Ever see those “four types” of buyer things?

  • The Driver
  • The Amiable
  • The Idiot
  • The Big Idiot

The Big Idiot is someone who thinks there are four types of people, and you can somehow pigeonhole them into characteristic categories that will make them buy. Bogus.

I’ll give you three words that will let you absolutely identify every type of buyer in the world in 5 minutes:

  1. Look (around the office)
  2. Question (the right questions)
  3. Listen (with the intent to understand)

There. The Gitomer Method of identifying more than 100 million buyer types reduced to three words. These are the methods used in determining customer characteristics. Oh yeah, there’s one more thing you need to do to get it right every time…


Selling is knowledge combined with experience. The knowledge you gain about your product, your selling skills, and your attitude. Experience teaches you how to implement the knowledge you’ve gained. It’s a science, remember? Trial and error.

Of course there are some absolute rules that can never be broken don’t argue, don’t lie. But, most are shades of gray… How much pressure do you apply? Someone will say none, someone else wrote a book called hardball selling it comes with a bat. Your amount of pressure is up to you!

There are no such things as buyer types only buyer characteristics. No two buyers are alike.

Individual traits that make up a personality. Don’t categorize them, understand them. I’m way more interested in their philosophy than their characteristics. But I can only get to their philosophy if I recognize (and understand) their traits. If you’ve uncovered their “type,” but you’ve said something that they’re philosophically opposed to, you’re dead.

Why do customers buy?

  • To solve a problem.
  • They need it.
  • They think they need it.
  • To get a competitive edge.
  • To save money or produce faster.
  • To eliminate mistakes or people.
  • They want to feel good.
  • They want it to show off.
  • To change a mood.
  • To solidify a relationship.
  • They were talked into it.
  • It sounded too good to refuse.
  • They got a great deal (or thought they did).

How many of these characteristics apply to the buyers you face?

  • The tire kicker
  • The unqualified
  • The arguer
  • The liar
  • The talker
  • The no talker
  • The logical
  • The emotional
  • The hidden objection
  • The indecisive
  • The procrastinator
  • The “think it over”
  • The friendly won’t commit
  • The unfriendly
  • The impolite
  • The “ounce of power”
  • The knowitall
  • The impulsive
  • The cheapskate
  • The price only buyer
  • The Yankee
  • The good ‘ole boy
  • The faithful
  • The bragger
  • The corpse

These characteristics are identified one by one BUT many of these can be combinations. For example, the good ‘ole boy, tire kicker, price buyer, think it over there’s a prospect that can make a Yankee salesman go looking for that UHaul trailer for a move back north. Or how about the Yankee, unfriendly, knowitall, unfriendly it’s enough to make a southern salesman want to go rent him one.

Here are a few guidelines that will work on any type of buyer:

  1. Never argue.
  2. Never offend.
  3. Never think or act like you’re defeated.
  4. Try to make a friend at all costs.
  5. Try to get on the same side of the fence (harmonize).
  6. Never tell a lie.

There’s a theme here. A common thread that connects all these situations. One word makes all these types conquerable: HARMONIZE. If you listen to buyers and watch their actions, they will tell you how to react. They will tell you what to say, and what not to say. They will lead you to the sale.

There are billions of “Customer Types.” Want to sell them all? You can do it in five words: Look, Question, Listen, Harmonize, Practice.


Want a copy of 15.5 Proverbs from The Sales Bible? Sales gems that inspire earnings. Just go to, click Access GitBit in the upper right corner, register if you’re a first time user and enter the word, PROVERBS.