The Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," has been turned on its head in recent years, and the new sentiment in business seems to be "We'll get the best results if we pay attention to the way others receive and process information." That's the theory behind Charles Clarke III's BOLT concept. "If you always market and sell the way you would like to be marketed to and sold to, you could be losing half to three-quarters of your potential market and sales," says Clarke, who developed the theory in the late 1960s as a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Arizona.
BOLT stands for Bulls, Owls, Lambs, Tigers, each of which represents a certain personality type (see chart below). Comparable to other personality assessments such as Myers-Briggs and DISC, BOLT focuses on two variables: how assertive a person is and how much emotion (except anger) he or she shows to others.
Bulls are bottom-line, get-to-the-point types. Owls are detail-oriented and like order and systems. Lambs want to please everyone, and tigers are looking for fun and excitement. Clarke says that although everyone exhibits each of these characteristics to some degree, some characteristics are predominant in each of us. He believes that the general population is divided evenly across the four characteristics.
In a sales situation, Clarke says, if a bull says the price is too high, he or she wants to negotiate. You should take the bull position and convince them that you're worth it at your price. If an owl says the price is too high, it might mean he or she doesn't see the value. "You need to do a T-bar close, a Ben Franklin close, a dare-to-compare close, a value close with the owl," Clarke says. "Keep in mind," Clarke adds, "that if I always do what I've always done, I will get what I've always gotten. Don't always think in terms of what your answer would be to overcoming objections but overcome the objections for them."