Go to any grocery store and walk to the condiment aisle. You’ll see dozens of varieties of mustard — Dijon, honey, whole grain, yellow, spicy, brown — but probably fewer than five types of ketchup from a small handful of brands. Of those brands, one reigns supreme: Heinz, boasting a number one or two market share position in over 50 countries.
The leading brand of mustard, French’s, holds half the market share in mustard that Heinz commands in ketchup — around 35.5% — but has a product line almost three times as large.
This is what journalist and author Malcolm Gladwell terms the “ketchup conundrum.” His 2004 New Yorker article of the same name takes a deep dive into food product development and comes to a noteworthy conclusion relevant to salespeople: Unless your product has the expansive appeal of Heinz ketchup, you’ll need to optimize the way you present it and sell it to reach the widest possible audience.
One size does not fit all. Your prospects are individuals with personalities as varied as their business needs, so a successful salesperson needs the ability to sell to different personality types. To maximize your sales success, adapt your tactics to these four major personality types.