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WIIFM: are you listening? 
Are you listening? We all do; every one of us is always tuned into our favorite "radio station", WIIFM, What's In It For Me! When we design our websites, how do we meet the needs of every type of personality that may visit? Each personality has preferences in how they interact, view the world, and reach decisions. 

Since the time of Aristotle, it has been known that each of the millions of different personalities will fall basically into one of four groups by temperament: Driver, Amiable, Expressive and Analytical.

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A major objective of a website is to be able to consistently communicate to each of the four temperaments, so that the prospect can "self serve" himself or herself the appropriate information that they require to influence their buying decision. We must give each personality exactly what they want and need.

Lets take a look at the four basic personality types:

The Driver wants Accomplishment:

These individuals have a deep appreciation for challenges. They enjoy being in control, are goal oriented and are looking for methods for completing tasks. They are usually quick to reach a decision. They want to know what your product or service can do for them to solve their problem.

The Amiable wants Acceptance:

These individuals appreciate the personal touch. They like things that are non-threatening and friendly. They hate dealing with impersonal details and cold hard facts. They are usually quick to reach a decision. They want to know why your product or service is best to solve their problem.

The Expressive wants Applause:

These individuals are very creative and entertaining. They enjoy helping others and are particularly fond of socializing. They are usually slow to reach a decision. They want to know who has used your product or service to solve problems.

The Analytical wants Accuracy:

These individuals appreciate facts and information presented in a logical manner as documentation of truth. They enjoy organization and completion of detailed tasks. They do not appreciate the "personal touch" or disorganization. They want to know how your product or service can solve the problem.

Average sales people sell to those that they relate to the best. On average they will usually sell to 3 out of 10 people they meet. Another 3 out of the 10 won't buy from them no matter what. The last 4 out of 10 are sitting on the fence. It is the great sales person or website that learns to give these 4 the information and assistance they need to reach their buying decision.

This is just part of the challenge salespeople/ websites face in dealing with individuals. Each of us also has different means in which our brains prefer to "take in and process" information: Visually, Auditory and Kinesthetically.

One Internet company has used this understanding of individuals to grow as one of the premier brands. AOL has grown its flagship service to over 20 million members, by providing a simple way to get on the Internet, understanding and providing people with a sense of community and, by engaging all three processes, they have made marketing history.

Selling the Internet is a difficult thing, because the Internet is an intangible. AOL understood that by putting their colorful CD-Rom packages and disks in the hands of people, they provided a kinesthetically oriented individual the opportunity to get a "hold of" the Internet and what it offered. When you signed on, you were met with a beautifully simple and colorful screen to provide visually oriented people with a pleasant experience. However, the ultimate genius was the auditory cue that was used, it has become an icon and an anchor for millions of individuals…"you've got mail."

Have you tuned into your customer's favorite station or will you march to the beat of your own drummer?

click here for a printable version of this whole article


How long do you spend staring at your shopping cart?
Have you noticed when we go shopping on the web, shopping carts don't seem like real-world shopping carts? Programmers must shop differently than the rest of us! Why else would they insist on slapping us in front of a page with the contents of our shopping cart? Wouldn't it be better if, when we placed merchandise in our shopping cart, it was simply confirmed and we could continue shopping. When we go shopping, we spend more time looking at the shelves than staring at our cart. Wouldn't online merchants make more money if they didn't force people to stare at their shopping carts?


GROK is taken from the landmark novel "Stranger in a Strange Land", by Robert A. Heinlein. It is a Martian word that implies the presence of intimate and exhaustive knowledge and understanding. Our "GROK" is a keen observer of the world around him and he takes a particular interest in the World Wide Web. The folks at Future Now like him a lot because he's taught them that "sometimes the price of clarity is the risk of insult."

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