Why are some people relatively calm, cool and collected when it comes to marketing crops while others find it a nerve-wrecking, emotional roller coaster?

The answer may lie in your personality style — how you make decisions, how you deal with emotional situations and how you handle change.

Beth Eberspacher and Al Prosch, both with the Ag Economics Department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, advocate that understanding your personality type and the personality traits of coworkers can help things go more smoothly.

As an example, some people need time and information to make a decision, Eberspacher says; others like to decide on the spur of the moment.

Prosch explains that there are two main personality types — extroverts and introverts.

  • Extroverts tend to like talking to everyone, they seek action and they often act before they have a full understanding of all the details.

  • Introverts like to think things through. They want in-depth facts and knowledge, and they may think and never act.

Within these two categories, people tend to have one of four distinct styles. These styles influence how we process information and make decisions, and also how we market. Prosch and Eberspacher explain them as:

  1. Duty, which includes people who are organized, accurate and efficient. These people like to follow the rules. They want to understand marketing strategies and are quite risk-averse.

  2. People, which includes individuals who are social, flexible and personable. This tends to be the personality that volunteers and serves on boards. When marketing, their style is to act more on hunches than on facts. They have a “go for it” attitude.

  3. Competence, which includes analytical and scientific types. They prefer to learn from a broker or consultant who they feel is competent. Once they feel educated, they'll be independent in making their own decisions.

  4. Now, these are the thrill-seekers and creative types. But they are also quick thinkers in a crisis. These individuals are flexible with their marketing plan and actually enjoy the excitement of the risk. They see marketing more as a game.

Eberspacher emphasizes that understanding personalities helps us understand why we and others do the things we do, she says.

She and Prosch suggest focusing on your strengths. Then, team up with others who have strengths you don't have.

They also suggest a written plan — be it for marketing, farm transfer or simply farm business goals — can help remove the emotions from things and facilitate communication among the various personality styles.

If you'd like to learn more about your personality type, the following Web sites offer the Myers-Briggs personality test online: www.humanmetrics.com and www.keirsey.com.

More Marketing Tips

Plattsmouth, NE, farmer and marketing strategist Roy Smith has studied the connection between personality types and farm marketing. From his 40 years' farming experience, he offers this marketing insight:

  • Don't be paralyzed by the fear of failure. Try a new marketing approach on 10-20% and if it works, do more.
  • Join marketing clubs or a support group to share ideas. This is especially important if you have a strong thinking or judging personality type. It helps to have another opinion from a personality type that is different from your own.
  • Lastly, have a marketing plan based on historical data that includes a goal price and timeline.

Personality Types

Roy Smith recommends these books for more information about personality types:

  • “Type Talk: The 16 Personality Types That Determine How We Live, Love,and Work,” by Otto Kroeger and Janet M. Thuesen.
  • “Please Understand Me: Character and Temperament Types,” by David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates.
  • “What Will I Do With My Money?”by Ray Linder. (How your temperament affects your financial decisions.)