Proactive, Reactive, and Reason Filters

By Christopher Zoukis

Proactive vs. Reactive

Another way of categorizing buyers is as proactive or reactive.  Proactive people are self-starters eager to get going.  Reactive people or buyers like to sit back, take their time, and thoroughly analyze any situation before they do anything.  Identifying a buyer as either proactive or reactive is accomplished by listening for verbal cues and by watching body language. Image courtesy of

Proactive buyers tend to focus on goals and their attainment.  Their body language reflects impatience, constant movement.  They speak in short sentences, using active verbs.  For example, “we’re going to take care of this quickly.”  Encouraging proactive buyers to take the next step is as simple as saying, “Let’s do this.  Then you can move on to the next project.” 

Reactive buyers, on the other hand, take their cues from those around them and their environment.  Their movements are deliberate, and they speak only after much thought.  A reactive buyer might say something such as:  “Once we have all the details, we can start to put together a chart to identify which vendors we should talk to.”  Sales people should assist reactive buyers to the next step by pointing out that the analysis is complete, and all that remains is implementation.

When making a presentation to a group of buyers, a combination of both motivational techniques usually works best.  The sales person can point out that they have gathered the pertinent data, allowing them to come to an informed decision before outside factors change.

Reason Filters

Read More


By Christopher Zoukis

Salespeople want to make more money.  The trick to making more money is making more sales.  And the trick to making more sales is, according to Dan Seidman, learning to speak the buyer’s language.  Once salespeople learn to interpret buyers’ verbal cues, they can choose the appropriate words to influence the buyers’ decisions.   Seidman’s book, The Secret Language of Influence teaches salespeople how to listen, gain psychological insight, and then influence others.

Patterns of Interruption

Seidman states that all buyers maintain patterns.  They do the same thing in the same way over and over again.  They respond to sales pitches the same way time after time.  The example is a buyer to whom the author has left forty-six voice mails over a three year period.  The buyer has never returned one of the calls.  Frustrated, Seidman leaves another voice mail announcing that the buyer has won the “prestigious Most Elusive Prospect Award,” for never having returned a call. Author Dan Seidman / Photo courtesy

Unsurprisingly, the buyer, now angry, returns the call.  The buyer eventually becomes a client.  Seidman’s story illustrates what psychologists call “pattern interrupt,” which is a method of changing people’s usual manner of thinking.  The author demonstrates how to use pattern interrupt in situations where buyers use their regular or usual brush-off techniques. 

In the example, the prospective buyer attempts to brush-off the salesperson by citing that the business environment is tough at the present time, thus the buyer does not have the budget to make any purchases.  Seidman’s pattern interrupt is to respond by asking an apparently irrelevant question, a non-sequitur.  The implication is that the buyer, because things are so bad, will probably soon be jumping out of his office window.  The buyer admits that business is “not that bad.”  Now that the pattern is broken, the salesperson may make their presentation.

Read More