Friends that Benefit

I want to talk with my friend before I decide; I really respect what she has to say.

Customers like this need reassurance from someone they trust. Small business owners who recognize an amiable-style buyer know it’s about developing a relationship first.

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

They might find it difficult to voice their true feelings, especially to people they’ve just met. But they are eager to talk with you and learn more about you as a person.

Spotting an Amiable

Amiables are people pleasers so you may have difficulty identifying them since they want to know about you. Here are some clues that might mean you are talking with an amiable:

  • Will likely engage a store associate in small talk and ask about family, interests, mutual friends (then ask for help finding the item they want)
  • Might look at comments on your website to see if they know anyone who has purchased from you
  • They will smile when you give them a compliment
  • What they might say: I only do business with people I know and who know me.

Responding to an Amiable

It’s important to take the time to establish a relationship with amiables. It’s not surprising that they need more time to make a decision. They have to feel comfortable about who they are dealing with first, then they’re ready to hear about your product or service.

Here are some ideas that may help:

  • Notice what team sport or school is displayed on their jacket and let them know if you have a connection to it
  • Provide references from customers with similar interests or needs
  • Display “friends” on your business Facebook page so they can see who else shops at your business
  • Provide a guarantee or free trial period to let them know you stand behind your product or service

Reassure amiable customers by taking time to know them first. Provide evidence that, like a friend, they can trust you. Over time, you will gain their confidence and, potentially, a long-term customer.


This article is part of a series titled Decipher the Customer Code based on Merrill and Reid’s customer personality styles. In our next post we elaborate on A Few Good Opinions.

Read our previous post in this series: A Beautiful Analytic Mind.

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

Get TheWire Delivered to Your Inbox

The trends, insights, and solutions you need to grow your business.

By signing up, you’re subscribing to our monthly email newsletter, The Wire. You may unsubscribe at any time.
Your information stays safe with us. Learn more about our privacy policy.