Not Selling to the ‘Whole Buyer’: Using the HBDI Quadrants

Not Selling to the Whole Buyer – comes from the Free Guide – Are You Making Mistakes As A Supplier When Selling  To The Big 4 UK Supermarkets?

The Mistake

At MBM we have been using the HBDI model for over a decade. Similar to Myers-Briggs, Thomas International, or other psychometric tests you may have heard of, HBDI ® helps us understand ourselves and others better. The mistake many Sellers make in not selling to the ‘whole buyer’ is that they sell to people in the way that they want to be sold to. For example, looking at the HBDI ® model below someone with a preference for the blue quadrant prefers facts. Think ‘pub quiz’ and a mate who always seems to know the answers (facts). The Seller would create a presentation full of numbers and graphs. The receiver (Buyer) might be a red, who is more concerned about the impact on the Shopper, the Staff in-store and needs to touch the solution.

The Consequences

Two people trying to reach a conclusion but one is talking Dutch and the other French! The salesperson fails, not because the ideas are poor, but because they tried to sell the ideas in the wrong language i.e. they did not sell to the whole buyer.

HBDI circle split into four coloured red, yellow, blue and green and labelled with the HBDI quadrants

This profile, if understood, will help in your journey to sell to the whole buyer

How to Avoid Not Selling to the Whole Buyer

As the guys at HBDI ® say, ‘Sell to the Whole Brain’. By selling to the whole brain all preferences are catered for and then when the Seller starts to recognise which colour they are selling to, they can adapt their ‘sell’, and then the magic happens!

  • Blue Quadrant –  Facts; Include the facts that support the sell. This quadrant is probably the most overused in the UK Grocery Industry at present.
  • Green Quadrant –  Form; Include a plan of what happens when. Probably in an excel format. Month by month.
  • Red Quadrant –  Feeling; Show the impact on the people. If products are involved or equipment, bring
    the product to be held.
  • Yellow Quadrant –  Future; A presentation that   focuses on what the ‘end game’ will look like and the impact on the bigger picture. For example, the category impact and the 12-month performance.

When you have finished creating your presentation, ask yourself – ‘How does this appeal to all 4 colours?
We have been using the HBDI ® tool for over a decade to help Directors to build their teams on team building days. The advantages of HBDI ® is that it helps people to understand themselves better, other people better, and provide a perspective on why people do what they do.


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