How to Negotiate With Any Personality Type

To negotiate successfully, understand each potential client needs a different negotiation style. Which negotiation approach you use depends on your client’s personality. Below, we’ve outlined four basic personality types and the best ways to negotiate with each.

Type 1: The Choleric

Choleric people, sometimes known as “drivers,” are “bottom line” people. They like to get things done as quickly, efficiently, and correctly as possible. They make quick judgments and are usually right, and they want things done their way. When negotiating with a choleric, logic is your best friend. Present the facts and explain why the deal makes logical sense. Focus on results – what’s in it for the choleric if he or she agrees with you? Be assertive; choleric people can become inflexible if you disagree with them, but you may need to do so to get the deal.

Type 2: The Sanguine

Sanguine people, sometimes called socializers, love people. They’re the ones who will laugh at your jokes – and tell their own – and share stories. With a sanguine, focus on what your idea or product will mean for relationships. Will the sanguine’s company like it? Will it benefit people? Is it fun? Use stories and experiences to keep this person focused; otherwise he or she may drift. Present facts optimistically and show the sanguine how he or she can use your idea or product in creative ways.

Type 3: The Melancholic

Melancholic people are often called clinicians because they analyze everything, sometimes too much. They love order and want everything perfect. This type of person wants to know the details and feel secure. Successful negotiation with a melancholic depends on details. Present both the positives and negatives of your product or idea, and give specific reasons why they need it. Allow them time to think through a decision, and show interest in building deep rapport.

Type 4: The Phlegmatic

Phlegmatic people are known for being amiable. They like to do things the easy way without ruffling feathers. They can be agreeable and sensitive to a fault, and they like working in groups and building personal bridges. Never make a phlegmatic feel patronized; this person has an iron will and will shut down if you do. Instead, be patient and build rapport. Keep words and body language open. Focus your discussion on how the product or idea works. Emphasize how negotiation benefits both parties, and stay away from too many statements about “my” product or “my” services. Otherwise, the phlegmatic might feel railroaded.

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