Recognising Challenging Personality Differences: Part 3 – Pleasers

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There is a moment of realisation in early life when the mind acknowledges for the first time that it is not the only ego in this world, and that everyone else has an equally strong sense of themselves. This subconscious Eureka moment is the acceptance that your survival and success is largely reliant on your ability to please others.

The process of manoeuvring your actions and thoughts to please others forms the third developmental level of personality phases: the pleaser. The pleaser phase is defined by a desire to please others in order to survive. Typically, pleaser stereotypes include the loyal secretary, the meticulous housewife and the devoted mother.

Identifying pleaser behaviour

Adults exhibiting the pleaser phase as their primary mode of behaviour account for 30 percent of the population. Typically the negative traits of the pleaser personality phase manifest as:

  • An inability to say no
  • A propensity for sycophantic and insincere communication
  • A tendency to make commitments they can’t keep
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Difficulty setting appropriate boundaries and limits
  • An inability to deliver on their promises
  • A propensity to overdo simple tasks by creating unnecessary complications, costs or delays
  • A tendency to keep truths that will displease others to themselves

There are also plenty of positive characteristics exhibited by pleasers, including:

  • Helpfulness
  • Compliance
  • Generosity

Pleasers in the workplace

The dominant needs of the pleaser personality phase are psychological and motivated by an innate need for acceptance and approval. When working with a pleaser, you should be wary that any unsolicited favours or overly helpful behaviour may be an attempt to cover or distract you from errors they have made. Their motivation is rarely altruistic and is generally a method of furthering their own standing in the eyes of others.

Selling to pleasers

A sales prospect in the pleaser phase will be quick to offer you tea and coffee and will go out of their way to make you feel at home. During the sales conversion they will often subjugate their own point of view in favour of agreeing with yours. The best route to a successful sale is to maintain a friendly approach throughout the meeting, take a real interest in both their professional and personal lives and adopt an assertive approach to obtain a solid commitment.

We’d love to hear your views!

Does any of the above ring true to you? Is the pleaser your primary personality phase? Perhaps you have some tips of your own about how to approach a sales conversation with a pleaser? Have your say on our ‘Recognising Challenging Personality Differences’ series by leaving a comment below or contact us today. We’d love to hear from you!



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We’re passionate about helping leaders of high-quality, growth-minded practice owners double their practice revenue

Rod Solar

Founder & Scalable Business Advisor

Rod Solar is a co-founder of LiveseySolar and a Scalable Business Advisor / fCMO for our customers. Rod mentors and coaches CEOs/Founders and their leadership teams to double their sales, triple their profits, and achieve their “ideal exit”.

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LiveseySolar completely transformed the way we were approaching this… We’ve gone from having just the dream of having a practice to having a practice up and running with people making inquiries and booking for procedures… It’s extremely pleasing. We feel lucky we connected with LiveseySolar.

— Dr Matthew Russell, MBChB, FRANZCO, specialist ophthalmic surgeon and founder of VSON and OKKO

Laura Livesey

Founder & CEO

Laura Livesey is the co-founder & CEO of LiveseySolar. She has developed powerful refractive surgery marketing systems that increase patient volumes and profits for doctors, clinics, and hospitals, since 1997.

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Rod and Laura know as much about marketing surgery to patients as I know about performing it. They are an expert in the field of laser eye surgery marketing. They know this industry inside out. I believe that they could help many companies in a variety of areas including marketing materials, sales training and marketing support for doctors.

— Prof. Dan Reinstein, MD MA FRSC DABO, founder of the London Vision Clinic, UK