Chairman’s Blog: What’s Your Personality Style (and How it Can Help Relationships)? By Michael W. Fenner, CBA

After having dialogue with a customer, have you ever thought, “Wow…wasn’t that a great conversation?” Have you ever hung up the phone and said, “She was so nice.” And maybe you have said, “We really, really get along.” Or on the contrary, how many times have you said, “What did I say to irritate that customer?” Have you ever thought, “Why were they so upset?” Did you ever get off a call and say, “What just happened?” It’s happened to all of us. For me, when it does, I try to figure out a way to manage it.

Once I understand personality styles (and am able to conform to that customer’s style), I have been able to improve my relationships and enhance all conversations.

Here are the four personality styles:

  • Analytical – They think it through, they are detail oriented and love spreadsheets.
  • Amiable – They have “feelings” they are very low key and have good friendships.
  • Driver – They tell it like it is, it’s their way or the highway and they are in charge.
  • Expressive – They just want to have fun, talk about what happened last weekend and you always know where the next party is.

Here are several steps I went through that helped me have better conversations.

First, I figured out my own “personality style.” Once I did that it made the next steps easier. Take a look at the styles above and ask yourself “what’s your style?”

Second, take a minute before you make your next phone call and/or before you go in to visit your next customer and figure out what their personality style is.

Third, conform to their style. Yes, imitate it. It’s that simple. If an analytical person wants detail, give it to them in a spreadsheet or aging etc. Make sure you slow down and be very mellow with an amiable person (don’t make them mad). For the expressive person, have fun with them talk through everything they want to then get to your point and exit. With the driver, make sure you are as tough with him as he will be with you…he will think it was a great conversation.

I’m sure the times you got along with someone you conformed to their style and you didn’t even know it. And the times you didn’t get along, guess what…you probably didn’t conform to their style.

So what’s your style? Think about it on your next few phone calls and customer visits. See if it makes a difference or better conversation. Let me know your thoughts. Have fun with it. I’d love to hear your feedback.

Michael W. Fenner, CBA, is the Credit Management Association Chairman and Regional Credit Manager for Beacon Roofing Supply. He can be reached at 714-321-8187, or