A Few Good Opinions

Some may have trouble handling the truth, but I’ve never had a problem giving my opinion.

You always know where customers like this stand. That’s because they’ll tell you. Small business owners who recognize an expressive buyer know to engage them and listen to what they have to say.

An expressive is one of four personality styles identified by researchers, Merrill and Reid1.

They find it easy to voice their opinion, especially to people they want to influence. They tend to be easy to talk to and often persuade others to follow their vision.

Spotting an Expressive

It’s tempting to classify a customer based on your first impressions, but wait until you’ve observed them over time. Here are potential signs that you’re dealing with an expressive:

  • Will likely go directly to a store associate, explain why they are there and ask for help to find what they need (and they might even enlist your help to complete the task)
  • Might leave a comment on your website telling others what they think and then convince them to take the same action
  • May use gestures to help express their point
  • What they might say: So tell me what you think, I’m interested to see if it jives with how I feel.

Responding to an Expressive

It’s important to engage with expressives and respond to their need for attention. They tend to make decisions quickly, so stick to the big picture and listen before offering solutions.

Here are some ideas that may help:

  • Ask them to tell you about what they’re trying to accomplish and what their game plan is to solve it. Use features/benefits of your product to support their vision
  • Consider using customer testimonials, especially if it highlights someone who is well known in the community
  • Seek expressives to participate in your social media efforts by “following” them or asking them to review your product or service on your website
  • Ask them to recommend you to one of their friends or associates

Take the time to develop a relationship with expressives. Their willingness to express opinions might be a valuable source of information about your business. And, they may help spread the word about you, if they have a positive experience.


This is the final article in a series of articles called Decipher the Customer Code based on Merrill and Reid’s customer personality styles. Read our previous post in this series: Friends that Benefit.

1 Merrill, D. W. and Reid, R. H.  Personal Styles and Effective Performance, Radnor, PA: Chilton Book Company, 1981.



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