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Bruce Holland

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Many organisations are trying to see inside the brains of their customers

The secret great service providers know

Ordinary service providers assume the way they like to be treated is the way everyone wants to be treated.

Great service providers know that people are different from each other. Treat everyone the same and you'll satisfy about a quarter and turnoff about three-quarters.

It's all to do with the colour of their brains and how they think.

Irresistible customer service

When we come down to the things most service providers can influence, people want totally different things. Indeed, what appeals to one person may repel another.

We now have the technology to look inside your customer's brain and see what colour it is; then you can provide them with exactly what they want, rather than what you would want or what the last person you sold to wanted.

Colour your customers

Research shows that customers come in four colours (Blue, Yellow, Red and Green). Roughly 25% of people are each colour. Unless you know what colour you are dealing with your success will be hit and miss, about 25% hit and 75% miss. On the other hand, if you can colour your customer, you will be able to satisfy all of them in a way that is almost irresistible.

Blue Customers are left brained thinkers. They are in touch with their five physical senses. They need to understand everything and have a reason for everything. These people think their way through problems in a deliberate way. You need to communicate with language, words, analysis, and figures. They expect you to be brief, clear and precise. They want ideas in a logical format, data and facts. It's important to have your numbers ready and expect them to be challenged and debated. They're highly analytical, they want the facts and value accuracy. They do not show many emotions. They are comfortable with trading and dealing. They need to be respected.

Red Customers are the exact opposite. Treat them like blue and they'll go somewhere else. Red customers are right brained feelers. They feel their way into solutions more than think about it. They are much more intuitive and rely more on their "sixth sense about people". They are social, interpersonal, feeling types. They want you to care and listen. They expect you to loosen up, not to be too formal or direct. They want to establish rapport first. Don't forget the personal touch. They expect you to consider others who are involved. They expect you to share feelings and pay attention to non-verbal communication and make eye contact. They hate conflict of any type and become uncomfortable with any hint of trading or dealing. They need to be liked.

Yellow Customers are different again. They are right brained thinkers. They make their minds up in a highly intuitive way without really understanding how they do it, but drawings, stories and mindmaps are more likely to succeed than words. Questions and visualisation are particularly useful. They like to be involved in the decision making. They need to see how the service will help them get their big dream. Start with the big picture and show them how they will stand out. They want ideas introduced in chunks. Allow time for ambiguity and spontaneity. They expect you to use your imagination and think about future implications. It's important to use metaphors and pictures. Have fun don't be too serious. They are artistic, colourful and experimental. They need to be admired.

Green Customers are the exact opposite of yellows. Treat them the same and its the last you'll see of them. Greens are left brained feelers. They are big in detail and planning. They need lots of time and information before they will take action. You must be on time and they hate taking risks. They will expect explanations of how it will happen, proof that you've done it before, references and background examples, presentations that are exactly company specific and presentations that exactly match the handouts. They expect detailed documentation, step by step presentations, practical details including who and what where and when. They need to be appreciated.

Why service providers fail

Most service providers assume that their customers want to be treated the way they like to be treated. For example if the salesperson is green, they assume that everyone wants a highly detailed explanation, all the operating procedures and all the risk reducing information that's available. Actually what customers want is not what you want, but what they want. Green people will want this level of information, but yellow people will want the exact opposite. Yellow people will only want the big picture, how it will make a difference to their lives, help them meet their dreams and they will be bored stiff with the detail.

In other words to satisfy your customers needs you need to understand your own natural colour, and how to "flex" (move into) to your customer's colour. If you are presenting to someone who has a different colour, it's your responsibility to flex to their colour. To give good service you must try to paint yourself their colour, feel the way they feel, look at the world the way they look at the world and give them what they need.

This will feel difficult to start with, but with surprisingly little practice it becomes second nature. To start with it may even feel manipulative, but when you do it your customers will love you because you are respecting them and their way of seeing the world. When you become successful your sales will increase dramatically and your customers will return.

Case study

Earlier this year Lewis's, the curtain people, introduced the colouring technology, to every member of their non-manufacturing staff. Lewis's had about 50 people including management, office staff, retail salespeople, sales consultants who visit homes, and measurers and fitters who visit homes and install curtains. Within half a day everyone was able to colour themselves, colour their customers and flex to different types with a great deal of confidence and success. Here's what the General Manager said, and a Branch Manager, an Office Manager, a Sales Consultant and an Installer.

The General Manager - Lisa Ellingham

"What a great time we had! I got a lot from seeing our people enjoy themselves, be more of themselves and open up to new thinking. The tools and concepts around being better at giving great service have been very valuable and helped us all get a common understanding of how each customer is an individual and so are we.

Many of our people were new to training and development and Bruce's style was key to succeeding in getting people to relax and bring their best. As an organisation we needed to begin somewhere and this was perfect for us. Not too heavy, but not a walk in the park either, with most people reflecting on one thing or another for weeks afterwards....

We achieved the objectives I set in a positive and engaging way. Overall this was 5 out of 5, one of the best development programs I've been to."

Branch Manager Lower Hutt - Phyllis Gulliver

"Great, very thought provoking! Thoroughly enjoyed, found the exercises and workshops very good and very useful to our team. Thought provoking. Many discussions coming to team meetings from all areas. Well worth the time and effort. Very beneficial to anyone who attends. Overall this development program was 5 out of 5, one of the best development programs I've been to."

Office Manager - Sonia Galyer

"It was a very worthwhile project, I think enjoyed by all who participated. It was an opportunity to work more as a team and take people out of their comfort zones. The readings and pre-work were all worthwhile and gave you an insight to the upcoming workshops.

I would highly recommend Virtual Group, it certainly opened my mind and thought processes. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Overall this was 5 out of 5, one of the best development programs I've been to."

Sales Consultant - Janine Hickley

"I found it thought provoking and interesting. It was well presented and great to work in teams. The concepts were easy to understand and follow.

It is a worthwhile investment. It not only teaches one how to apply oneself in the workplace, but also allows one to find out more about oneself. Overall this development program was 5 out of 5, one of the best I've been to."

Measurer and Installer - Alan Davoine

"Very professional. Bruce was easy to understand and his practical workshops enjoyable. Colouring your customers does work and this information will prove very helpful in my dealings with customers. Great to share with the group.

Bruce was enjoyable to listen to and his choice of music was excellent, especially Bob Dylan! A great learning tool for any customer focused company. Overall this development program was 5 out of 5, one of the best I've been to."


What I love most about the technology is its simplicity. Within a few minutes of starting, people are listening, nodding and making sense of it. There's something in it for everyone.

At one level it is very simple. Yet underpinning that apparent simplicity is a complexity of applications, interpretations, research, neuroscience and opinion.

It is also visible. Most people see themselves in the model quickly. They can then quickly see other people in a way that makes sense.

But above all it gives people a way of having quick and simple insights yet at the same time it can unravel complex issues. It also allows us to see ourselves and others in a non judgmental way. And it quickly leads to a deep discussion.

If you want your staff to be able to see inside your customers' brains see...

Please give me a call if you'd like your people to understand their customers better; or if you'd just like to know more.

In the meantime, think BIG,

Warmest wishes Bruce

Bruce Holland
Virtual Group Business Consultants
Bruce helps large mature organisations be more focused, fast and flexible. Places where people have more depth, connection and meaning.
"Liberating the Human spirit at work"

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