Wearing your heart … on your smartphone

by in Marketing

pexels-photo-50614-largeSmartphones have become ubiquitous. For better or worse, they’ve become extensions of our limbs. We spend more time with them than with our significant others – 119 minutes vs. 97 minutes daily.We carry them everywhere – 61% of us even admit to using them while going to the bathroom. And we suffer from separation anxiety when they aren’t by our sides.

Now that they’ve become our constant companions, smartphones can reveal a lot about us. What’s especially remarkable is that whether or not we are wedded to an iPhone (approximately 43% of Americans) or an Android (approximately 53% of Americans) can reveal insights about our true personas.

For salespeople, this should come as welcome news. After all, the most effective salespeople are experts at understanding their customers’ personas: research has found that a deep understanding of the customer is the most powerful predictor of sales success (accounting for approximately 50% of performance variation). If our operating system preferences can shed light on our personas, this presents a powerful avenue by which salespeople can better understand their customers. Armed with knowledge of a customer’s operating system, salespeople may be better able to predict key traits of customers, forge stronger relationships, and, ultimately, drive more sales.

Let’s explore the opportunity at hand:

1. Android users tend to be more price sensitive 

24% of Android owners earn at least $100,000 compared to 41% of iPhone owners. As a result of being less affluent than their iOS counterparts, Android users tend to be more price sensitive. We see this manifest in multiple forms. Android users spend less than iPhone users on in-app purchases. They also travel less and, when they do travel, are more likely to opt for lower cost methods like ride sharing. They’re also more likely to shop at discount and bargain stores than at upscale retailers. And they’re more likely to drive a Nissan over a BMW.

Understanding customer price sensitivity is essential for sales professionals. Indeed, salespeople have long sought to predict how price sensitive their consumers are. It’s why car salesmen are trained to ask a litany of questions: where you live, what you do for a living, what your current car model is, etc. It’s not small talk – it’s a clever tactic to assess how much you’re likely to spend. Many customers won’t even consider purchasing a product that is full price. One study found that approximately 75% of US consumers require a minimum 30% discount to be persuaded to purchase clothing.

Salespeople may be able to exploit Android users’ higher relative price sensitivity to their advantage. They should recognize that Android users are more likely to opt for less expensive versions of products and less likely to purchase add-on “bells and whistles.” They’re also more likely to be persuaded by a discount. On the other hand, iPhone users are more likely to value features over price. They’ll likely respond more favorably to value-driven arguments versus price-driven ones. They’re also more likely to respond favorably to add-on features and up-sell offers.

2. Android users tend to be later adopters

It’s been proposed that Android users are 71% more likely than their iPhone complements to say they prefer following the crowd (rather than leading). Not surprisingly, this tendency manifests in being slower to adopt new technologies: Android users are 31% more likely than iPhone users to be later adopters of technology.

Salespeople can leverage this insight to their benefit. Specifically, they can use it to inform launch strategies. iPhone users, who are 50% more likely to be early technology adopters, will tend to be more inclined to purchase the latest technologies. Thus, salespeople should ensure that their iPhone customers are kept abreast of new features and products as early as possible (even as early as they are added to R&D roadmaps). On the other hand, salespeople should hedge towards less aggressively promoting new product advances to Android users, increasing intensity only after new technologies have become more mainstream.

Knowledge of customer technology adoption patterns can also help advance product development efforts. Early-adopting iPhone users are likely to be more inclined to participate in user research or beta testing. They’ll be more likely to appreciate new features and functionalities and will likely be more forgiving of any bugs. Android users, on the other hand, are likely to be less willing to participate in product development-related initiatives as they are more inclined to value traditional ways of doing things and tend to be less responsive to change.

3. Android users tend to be more introverted 

Android users are 12% more likely than iPhone users to be introverts. This is precious knowledge for salespeople. Indeed, the most effective salespeople recognize the importance of tailoring their tones and demeanors depending on whether they are interacting with introverts or extraverts.

When targeting Android users, salespeople may wish to get straight to the point as introverted Android users are more likely to find small talk draining. As well, when interacting with Android users, salespeople should strive to develop strong relationships as introverts value intimacy and depth of relationships – sometimes even more so than the product itself.

Predicting where customers stand on the introvert/extrovert spectrum can also inform sales pitches. In order to win over introverted Android users, salespeople should strive to establish and prove their credibility. Sales pitches should be “no nonsense” as introverts tend to value authenticity and will likely favor third-party endorsements, certifications, awards, and other objective indicators of excellence over sales pitches that “name drop” and/or include bold and far-reaching proclamations. On the other hand, iPhone users, who are 14% more likely to be extroverts, are more likely to be “wooed” by social interactions. They get their energy from their surroundings and will tend to appreciate salespeople who are excited about their offering. They also tend to enjoy small talk.

Level of introversion can also inform communication channels. Introverts are less likely to respond favorably to phone calls. Allegedly, the intrusive ringing causes them to lose focus. It’s been found that most introverts screen their phone calls. iPhone users, on the contrary, are more likely to respond to social media outreach methods. They’re social beings and are 10% more likely to post on social media. Phone calls are likely to be more effective among this cohort as they are less likely to go through to voicemail (extroverts are more likely to value the opportunity for social interaction).

Although effective selling to introverts can involve increased time and effort, the paybacks can be enormous. According to Jennifer Urezzio, founder of Soul Language, introverts are “more than likely become some of your most loyal customers.”

Sales professionals constantly strive to better understand their customers. It’s why the use of buyer personas (fictitious representations of a company’s target buyers) has become so commonplace and effective. Companies that exceed revenue goals are more than twice as likely to create personas than companies who miss targets. Before engaging with customers, salespeople ought to consider, even if just momentarily, whether a buyer belongs to Team iOS or Team Android. Doing so will arm them with powerful initial pulse points into how price sensitive, inclined to adopt new technologies, and introverted a customer is, in turn empowering them to enhance sales effectiveness.

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About The Author

Rebecca Hinds
Rebecca Hinds - View more articles

Rebecca Hinds graduated from Stanford University in 2014 with a M.S. in Management Science and Engineering. In 2013, Rebecca co-founded Stratio, a semi-conductor company developing infrared sensors. The company was selected by the Kairos Society as one of the 50 most innovative student-run businesses in the world.