Sensory Perceptive Cues to Understand Your Customer
Do you find that you are more sensitive to a colour’s contrast than your friends are? Do you feel like you’re more aware of the tick tock or subtle changes in temperature? Don’t worry, there’s nothing wrong with you! Each one of us has a distinct way to relate to or understand the world around us.
VAK, which stands for Visual, Aural/Auditory and Kinesthetic, are different sensory perceptive modalities through which we understand our world.
For example, people who rely primarily on visual cues, tend to buy clothes depending on the colour combination or patterns, whereas people who emphasize on the texture and fitting would be relying on their Kinesthetic cues.
David A Kolb was one of the earliest learning theorists who found that individuals have a preferred learning style through their dominant sensory perception.
From a sales perspective, it’s highly recommended to keep your customers’ learning styles in mind to foster effective engagement and establish good business orientation.
Naturally, your next question is, “How will I know the customer’s learning preference?”. To answer this, it is important to look for certain cues in their demeanour and communication patterns. Some commonly observed patterns are listed below.
Characteristic features of a person who predominantly uses the visual mode:
- Fast talkers
- Loud while in conversation
- Use words and phrases such as ‘see’, ‘watch’, ‘point of view’, ‘focus’, etc., anything that draws attention to an image
Business orientation: They will be more receptive towards engaging when the interaction involves using visual aids such as charts, pictures diagrams, etc. They believe in first impressions and dress appropriately according to the situation. They might form an opinion on your product/idea based on the projections you present to them. In a nut shell, they will buy the concept if something visually appeals to them.
- Distinctive features of an auditory person:
- They are soft spoken and slow in their speech
- They enjoy music, rhythmic beats
- Use words such as, ‘listen’, ‘ring a bell’, ‘sounds good’, or ‘rhythm’, more often. They might frequently use fillers such as ‘ah’, ‘umm’, in their conversation
- Easily distracted by noise
They are known to filter out outside noise by playing music to concentrate better.
Business orientation: They are good listeners and learn best when they listen to someone explain the subject to them.
They base their opinions more on what they hear than what they see, hence you can make good use of words to captivate them to your discussion and facilitate business.
Striking features of a Kinesthetic individual:
- ‘Feel’, ‘Try’, ‘Experience’, are common words from a Kinesthetic individual
- They are people who learn quickly by relying on the sense of touch
- They like to experience and learn
They can be good at sports, performing arts or any task which involves physical movement
Business Orientation: They prefer trying out things before forming an opinion on them. They usually communicate at a slow pace. They respond well to demos or trial runs as this enables them to get a hands-on experience.
There are two other less-popular sensory perceptive modes:
Audio-digital, refers to those individuals who would like to “make sense” of a concept by reasoning out the rationale behind it.
- They are very formal and conservative
- They fear being illogical
- Their voice is generally a monotone with few intonations
- They appreciate concepts that have depth rather than relying excessively on the visual attributes
- They need structure to understand and articulate things
- They like to be looked at as dependable hence, they tend to verify and fact-check information
Reading/Writing – These are individuals who like to learn from their meeting sessions and written material. Some commonly observed aspects about them are that they enjoy reading and writing.
Business Orientation: To explain things or to convey a message to them, it’s best to have a written version of it for them to read.
It’s best to use all the above-mentioned strategies in appropriate context.
When you meet a set of people, it’s recommended to greet everyone with a handshake (of course to a limited audience size!) and provide a crisp presentation with pictures, data, handouts, and verbally explain the topic at a moderate pace.
Disclaimer – Do not generalize individuals by the presence of just one of the above traits. This will help maintain an unbiased approach.
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