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The 4 Personality Styles

Exploring the Four Personality Styles for Enhanced Communication and Interaction



Understanding the four personality styles is not just an exercise in human psychology, but a practical tool for improving both personal and professional relationships. This article explores the Merrill-Reid personality styles, drawing insights from Mike Ferry’s perspectives, particularly for real estate professionals. Understanding these styles enables real estate agents to forge stronger, more adaptable connections, leading to enduring client relationships and increased referrals. Mike Ferry has said “The better you understand the personality of the client, prospect or center of influence, the stronger the relationship will become and the result will be more referrals and developing customers for life.”


The Merrill-Reid Personality Styles: A Comprehensive Overview


Originating in 1964, the Merrill-Reid personality styles are grounded in extensive research. They are represented in a simple 2×2 matrix, categorizing behaviors along two axes: pace (Slow/Fast) and emotion (Non-Emotional/High Emotion). This framework helps to understand behavioral patterns in both normal and stressful situations. For instance, in normal scenarios, a person might exhibit one personality style, which could intensify under stress, as observed in Mike Ferry’s case, where he displays a ‘driver’ personality in both contexts. Look below at the image to get an understanding of the two axes: Slow/Fast and Non-Emotional/High Emotion.


The Social Style matrix picture with x axis being slow and fast and y axis being non-emotional and High Emotion. Going left to right says Analytical, Driver, Expressive and Amiable.


Mike Ferry’s thoughts on the importance of understanding the 4 Personality Styles


As Real Estate agents, we understand that the most valuable skill that we can have is being versatile. Having the ability to properly talk to our centers of influence… (where most agents will source 75% or more of their deals) is an extremely valuable skill to have especially as the market continues to shift. The 4 Personality Styles can help guide our conversations that are of higher interest to our COI and lead. This is such an important topic Mike Ferry made an entire Mike Ferry TV based around The 4 Personality Styles and what they mean within Real Estate.



Detailed Analysis of the 4 Personality Styles


Analytical Personality

Analytical individuals are often characterized by a structured, detail-oriented approach, analytical individuals value facts and data over emotional persuasion. They prefer clear, precise information and exhibit a calm demeanor with measured speech. Think of the perfectionist in your life, and make sure you are prepared and ready when talking to your analytical friends.

Nonverbal clues for the analytical: a very relaxed handshake, appears quiet and cool and uses very few hand gestures when they are talking. 

Verbal clues for the analytical: slow and deliberate speech pattern likes to use words like “options, alternatives, explain, be precise and exact”. 


Driver Personality

Drivers exude confidence, decisiveness, and a goal-oriented mindset, driving forward with determination and vigor. Drivers are also low on emotion but they like to make decisions quickly, they tend to take control of situations and conversations. They can be known as forceful, dominant and many times intimidating. They are bottom-line-oriented thinkers.

Nonverbal clues to identify a driver’s personality are: Often rushing, impatient, fast-paced movement, strong handshake and always leaning forward in a conversation. They also prefer to be standing when talking and at times may seem aloof. 

Verbal clues to identify a driver are: fast-paced speech, uses phrases like “get to the point, skip the details, make it brief, I’ve only got one a minute”.


Amiable Personality

With a warm heart and an empathetic nature, amiable individuals prioritize relationships and harmony in their interactions. Amiable personality types are highly emotional in their responses, very agreeable and supportive. Making them great team players and possibly the best personality for a Real Estate agent. (If you are not amiable it is okay! You don’t need to leave the profession if you are not, remember Mike Ferry was a successful Driver agent.) While being agreeable they are NOT fast on making decisions, you may need to guide a conversation to your end goal. 

Nonverbal clues for the amiable: they are soft-spoken and have a tendency to smile a lot, because they are slower-paced they have an easygoing manner to them. 

Verbal clues to look for in an amiable: Phrases like “I feel, who else, my intuition tells me”. They also will refer to family, friends and other people.


Expressive Personality

Vibrant and enthusiastic, expressive personalities light up the room with their dynamic energy and passion for life. Expressives are very high in emotions and will make decisions very quickly. Expressives are also very open and spontaneous almost impulsive. They are always animated and rushing around due to working on multiple tasks at one time and are frequently late

Nonverbal clues for an expressive: They, like the driver, are also rushing often but instead of being impatient they often will tend to stop and listen. They also tend to be the person that others will gravitate to in a room due to having an infectious personality that lights up a room. 

Verbal Clues to identify an expressive: Speaking in sweeping grandiose statements, making personal statements based on personal decisions rather than facts, often also will reference the future or the big picture. 


But I am in the middle of all 4 Personality Styles 


Recognizing one’s own personality style isn’t just about introspection; it’s a journey of self-awareness that can shape our interactions and growth. Now, what’s interesting is most Real Estate people want to say, “Well, Mike … I’m right here in the middle of all four” and nobody is. Now, what Larry Wilson taught us was this … very non-emotional … very high emotion … but on the driver/expressive side, they make fast decisions … but on the amiable/analytical side, very slow decisions. Have you tried to get an analytical person to make a fast decision (an accountant, economist, etc.) and they pull back from a conversation? So, here’s what Larry Wilson taught us … everybody is one. Ask everyone around you what personality they think that you are and it will probably NOT be what you think. How you are perceived, seen, and heard is how you are.   


Learning your own personality style


Being able to understand what personality you have gives you a perspective on yourself and your ability to see and understand other’s styles. If we only worked with people whose primary position was similar to our own, we would miss 75% of our communication and influencing opportunities. Imagine the impact you could have on your team and operations by utilizing these core communication styles to meet individuals where they are. Taking a Style Test, around the 4 Personality Styles, will give you a better understanding of your personal style and that is the first step to becoming more versatile. 


Using the 4 personality styles to become more versatile


If you want more people coming to your side (developing customers for life) instead of having them adapt to you, why not you adapt to them? Becoming more versatile in understanding what each of these personality styles may need from you is much different than what you may be used to asking a prospective lead or COI. 

If you are dealing with someone Analytical “Mr./Mrs. Seller, I’d like to give you all the facts and figures to make a good decision tonight. What facts and figures would you need to make a good decision?”

If you are dealing with a Driver “Mr./Mrs. Seller I know you don’t want to take a lot of time, also we don’t want to waste your time, so what would you like to get this done quickly?”

Amiable personalities try “Mr./Mrs. Seller, you know, I want to make sure whoever buys your home loves your home as much as you love your home (if they are raising a family) raising a family as much as you enjoyed it. What would you like to me say to them about your home to make them feel as comfortable as you feel with your home?” 

An expressive might be a bit easier to talk with but try asking them “Give me 5 great reasons someone should buy YOUR house?” 

Those are four completely different but drastically more effective conversations and it all starts with just knowing who you are talking to and what is their dominant personality style. 


Continue your journey of understanding the 4 Personality Styles


In a world teeming with diverse personalities, understanding these distinct styles is more than an academic exercise—it’s a tool for building stronger, more versatile connections with those around us. We would recommend you read and re-read until you can put your entire COI into one of the four styles. The Mike Ferry Organization would challenge you to put every person you come into contact with into one of the 4 personality styles and try to change your thought process around how to be more versatile while talking to your leads. If you still have questions fell free to reach out to your Real Estate Coach, and if you don’t have a coach test ours free. 


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