Birth order theory
I've just discovered I'm a functional first born. I'm the baby in the family with two older sisters, so I am the first-born male. According to birth order theory I have a mix of first born traits as well as baby traits. No wonder I feel so confused a lot of the time ☺
The theory argues that where you line up in order of your siblings has a large impact on how your personality develops.
The first-born ~ the apple of the parent's eye
Think about it. The first-born child was the apple of their parent's eye until that pesky younger sibling came along to dethrone them. First-borns have benchmarked themselves against the other people in their lives, their parents, who could already talk, walk, throw, catch perfectly. So, first-borns strive to be perfect and as a result are often high achievers. My eldest sister certainly fits into this mold being a very earlier speaker and walker.
The middle child ~ the usurper
The middle child is the usurper who themselves gets usurped by a younger sibling, they are quite literally stuck in the middle and can be great negotiators as a result. Often they have large friendship groups where they cement their role, which might be missing in their own family.
The baby ~ the charmer
The baby is the charmer, and because they know how to get around people they probably got away with murder as a kid. The baby is often more creative, rebellious and attention-seeking – they are often great at sales. Please don't go and ask my sisters whether they would concur.
A lot of this rings true for me
I have everything under control, I am on time and on schedule and can criticize myself too much, wanting to achieve perfection – all first born traits. My mother, now having known four generations of 'Gyton' males, tells me I have the Gyton charm – a baby trait and apparently, my move to Australia could also be explained by being a baby as they are more likely to break away from family traditions. My corporate life was essentially successful on the back of my innate salesmanship.
So, how does this assist in building your sales approach?
Apparently knowing someone's birth order can assist in building your sales approach.
With first-borns you need to get straight to the point and give the facts both positive and negative.
Never ask any questions starting with 'Why' as the first born always likes to feel in control. Leave them with enough information to make the decision, don't try and be too friendly – that can come once you've made the sale.
For the middle child, relationships are important, but only on their terms.
Unlike the First born you can ask questions of a middle born in fact the more you show interest in their business and how you can help them the better (these are the kids who have been forgotten in the middle of the family, they love the attention). You may have to make more sales calls on a middle child than a First born and build the relationship more slowly. The up side is that when they do become a customer you may find them amongst your most loyal.
Babies can often fly by the seat of their pants, they are the risk takers – the trend setters.
They are often from the work hard play hard school of thought. So, whilst you are making a sale to a baby you also need to entertain them, they will give significant weight to the personal side of the decision making ie. 'Does this make me feel good?' Babies are often spontaneous so don't be afraid to ask them for a decision if you see them starting to lean towards your offering.
Working with my four Conversation M.O.D.E.™ styles
We all know that everyone is different and that's why I work with our four Conversation M.O.D.E.™ styles to help me better understand how to have successful conversations. There are many influencers on how we show up in life, birth order being another interesting one to think about.
So, whether you are making a presentation to a client or managing a team, it just may pay to understand where in the pecking order they are.
The Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Are
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- Strategy for Start-Ups
- Someone’s birth order – does it matter?
- What would you say if you could only type?
- When language fails you
- Dealing with Difficult Conversations
- How to engage someone in conversation over the telephone
- First impressions and the importance of starting with a compliment
- Shaping the behaviour of others
- Stories and how to be a legend at selling