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VOL. 36 | NO. 50 | Friday, December 14, 2012

An ‘I spy’ game that might pay dividends

By Terri Schlichenmeyer

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It takes all kinds to make a world – and a client list.

One of your clients, for instance, can talk the paint off a wall. Another rarely says much, but what he says is well-considered. You’ve got a label-loving fashionista who buys from you, a woman who always scolds you for your coffee habit, and a guy who’s really hands-on when it comes to all his marketing.

So how do properly you deal with that many divergent personalities? In the new book How to Read a Client from Across the Room by Brandy Mychals, you’ll learn about them – and yourself.

At some time in your career, perhaps, you’ve been asked to take a fun “personality” test. You learned how your reactions to various situations made you see things uniquely, and you learned how to mesh other’s actions with yours.

Brandy Mychals says that those old four-type models are inadequate. There are actually six main personality types: class president, cheerleader, actor, scholar, activist and artist. She calls these “character codes” and says that you’ll encounter each of these kinds of people in your lifetime; in fact, you’re probably thinking of examples already. It’s how you interact with them (or avoid them) that’s important.

How to Read a Client from Across the Room

by Brandy Mychals

c.2012, McGraw-Hill


256 pages

To do that successfully, you need to understand that each character code has “one driving need that exerts the most powerful influence in their life.” There are four main driving needs: certainty, variety, significance and connection.

Using these needs in conjunction with the character codes of clients and prospects depends on knowing what character code defines you.

This allows you to know your own trigger points, stresses and strengths and helps you market and manufacture with your clients in mind. It also allows you to put your best foot forward because, though individual character codes influence each client’s “filter,” you have control of the first impressions that others have of you.

And that, says Mychal, is key.

Looking for a sure-fire way to attract clients? You might find that here, but then again…

The author has indeed become an expert on character coding and has become successful in teaching it. Her methods seem solid and I liked the tips on knowing one’s self and one’s traits in order to fit in with any client or business situation.

But as I was reading How to Read a Client from Across the Room, I vacillated between thinking “Yesss!” to wondering if there was a little too much overgeneralization between its covers.

It might be helpful to think that the way someone dresses or deals with health issues, for instance, could indicate their behavior – but it might also lead to serious mistakes.

Still, when it comes to business, isn’t any leg-up a good thing?

Yes, it is, and I think there are benefits to this book but, like any how-to manual, you have to use it wisely. If you can do that, for your business, How to Read a Client from Across the Room may make all the difference in the world.

Terri Schlichenmeyer’s reviews of business books are read in more than 260 publications in the U.S. and Canada.