The Four Types of Customers and How You Deal With Them [Infographic]

When you’re working directly with customers, you’ll run into several different kinds of people.

You’ll encounter them in both business-to-business and business-to-consumer organizations.

People think differently and react or behave in various ways. But it is possible to categorize some of the main personality types you’ll deal with in sales.

These human tendencies represent four main types of customer behavior. They were originally explained by V. R. Buzzota and Robert E. Lefton of Psychological Associates.

We’ve given them our own names and a Copyjuice makeover:

  1. The Jerk
  2. The Scaredy-Cat
  3. The Chatty Kathy
  4. The Jackpot

Check out the following infographic explaining these customers and their behavior. Then keep reading for an in-depth explanation detailing the best way to handle each one of these characters.

Understanding Customer Behavior Infographic


The 4 Basic Characteristics of  Customer Behavior Defined

Initiators (What The Jerk & Jackpot Have In Common)

Initiators are dominant. They like to guide and lead the conversation as well as interact with others. They are independent and like to be an influence. The good part is, they also like to make things happen.

Avoiders (What The Scaredy-Cat & Chatty-Kathy Have In Common)

Avoiders are submissive and like others to take the lead. They typically don’t even try to make an influence on decisions or ideas. It could be that they don’t have the information they need, or perhaps they are simply afraid.

The Unresponsive (What The Jerk & Scaredy-Cat Have In Common)

They are distrustful of others. They are cold, hostile and insensitive to other people’s feelings.

The Responsive (What The Jackpot & Chatty-Kathy Have In Common)

They are warm and willing to trust others. They are optimistic, friendly and sociable. They care about your needs and feelings.


Unresponsive                                     Responsive



Grouping The Behaviors Into 4 Main Categories

Customer behavior can be complex. People rarely act any one specific way.

For instance, a person who is controlling can also be passive or responsive- just as a person that likes to chat may either be avoiding business or actually trying to work towards a goal.

The Dimensional Model Of Behavior groups the four main behavior types into quadrants that help us identify and understand how people will behave in business interactions.

Here are examples of each type and  simple strategies you can use when working with them:

1. The Jerk = An Unresponsive-Initiator

You’ll hear them use words like “always” & “never.” They will seem forceful and dominant. They will seem like they could care less about you or what you want, they only care about themselves. They still are open to making a deal.

The Jerk Strategy: Be respectful. Stroke their ego a little bit and answer them passively but directly. Once you’ve built your credibility, and gained their trust, Jerks will view you as an equal.

That’s how you change them into a Jackpot customer.

2. The Scaredy-Cat = An Unresponsive-Avoider

They are very nervous about giving you information. They don’t seem to trust or care to know you. They avoid communicating as much as possible. They’ll give you short, indecisive answers,  saying things like “maybe”, “alright” and the dreaded “I don’t know.”

The Scaredy-Cat Strategy: Turn off your dominance and be slow and cautious with these people. Ask open-ended questions so you don’t get those yes or no answers. You will have to gradually gain a Scaredy-Cat’s trust.

Once you do, you’ll have a Jackpot customer.

3. The Chatty-Kathy = A Responsive-Avoider

They like to talk about everything but business. They will appear to be your best buddy and tell you everything about the baby shower they went to, or talk forever about last night’s game. But they will avoid making a final decision, especially if they have doubts.

These talkative people will be very warm and friendly for as long as you’ll let them. Watch out for Chatty-Kathy’s because they are time-consuming and also misleading!

The Chatty-Kathy Strategy: Be friendly and warm and when you feel like they like and trust you, guide the conversation towards the business side of things. If you don’t, the next thing you’ll know an hour will have gone by but you still won’t have a sale. If they continue on and on, try saying “Wow Kathy, it sure sounds like your weekend was a good one!” It will help them realize you understand how they feel and you can get back to business.

The key to turning this customer into a Jackpot is getting them to stop talking and decide.

4. The Jackpot = A Responsive-Initiator

They are open-minded and ask questions so they can make a buying decision. They have an appropriate balance of business/personal conversation. They are friendly and seem like they want to make it a win-win situation.

The Jackpot Strategy: Know your information. What does this customer like, how can you help, make sure you can answer their questions and back it up with facts. Present things to them, negotiate, and  build a relationship!

Once you’re working with The Jackpot and you do it right, you’ll be able to turn them into one of your best customers!

Of course, they can’t all be Jackpots. However, once you recognize certain traits in your customers, you can use these strategies to turn Jerks, Scaredy-Cats and Chatty-Kathys into better customers. Good luck!

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    1. Excellent article and even better way to deliver it using Infographic. Every business owner must go through the exercise of understanding these customer types and devise strategy to deal with them and also figure which types of customer they want to target. Those who can deal with these various customer types will be the ones who will succeed.

      I had written a similar post on 5 different customer types and how to deal with them. I classified them as 1) Stingy Susan 2) Loyal Larry 3) Whimsical Wily 4) Always in Rush Randy and 5) Window Shopper Wendy. Would love to hear your views on this classification. Here is the article –

    2. Yakubu Anas says:

      Thanks both

      You have made my assumption real and now we need to build up on yours.

      Well done !!

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