Selling to people with different somatotypes:  ECTOMORPHS


Last week we looked at how to get a quick, basic understanding of needs and wants when you’re selling to endomorphs.

Selling to people with different somatotypes: ENDOMORPHS

Today, we do the same thing, but looking at ectomorphs.

This is an easily understood concept that can quickly and easily increase your sales production in a fun way.

I was a young salesman setting up a new hypnosis clinic franchise in Gainesville, Florida when a doctor there taught me about constitutional psychology and selling to people with different somatotypes. 

Constitutional psychology and Somatypes are concepts developed in the 1940s by psychologist William Herbert Sheldon.  

I was leading a discussion about selling to people based on their psychological needs.

The doctor took things one step further by showing how to get a jump start on identifying those needs by identifying a person’s physical body type.

I was familiar with the concept of somatypes from a trip to the Smithsonian Museum in my youth. 

For some reason the exhibit had a profound effect upon me and registered strongly in my mind. 

To this day I vivdly recall the three statuettes that were on display.

Three statuettes, one for each different body type, rotated on platforms beneath dramatic overhead lighting, with grading scales posted to denote the scoring of 1-7 in three different categories to determine the degree of fit into each type of physical body.

The perfect Mesomorph is 1-7-1 (think Arnold Schwartzenegger), the perfect Endomorph is 7-1-1 (think Chris Pratt  yes, Chris Pratt!  watch here…), the perfect Ectomorph is 1-1-7 (think Tobey Maguire), pretty much as shown below:



For simplicity and brevity, below is an excerpt from the Wikipedia page about William Sheldon’s taxonomy.

Sheldon’s “somatotypes” and their associated physical and psychological traits are characterized as follows:


Ectomorphic: characterized as usually slender and tall; described as intelligent, gentle and calm, but self-conscious, introverted and anxious.


Mesomorphic: characterized as hard, muscular, thick-skinned, and as having good posture; described as competitive, extroverted, and tough.


Endomorphic: characterized as fat, usually short, and having difficulty losing weight; described as outgoing, friendly, happy and laid-back, but also lazy and selfish.


Some academics view constitutionial psychology with somatotypes as a questionable science and it is often discussed and sometimes disputed.

But William Sheldon’s work remains popular in anthropomorphic research.

It’s been said in academic circles that, “With modifications by Parnell in the late 1950s, and by Heath and Carter in the mid 1960s somatotype has continued to be the best single qualifier of total body shape”.

I know one thing, it helps make sales.

For further exploration of the subject, this article helps physically identify people among the three basic body types. 

Because it’s published in Muscle and Strength Magazine, it also suggests certain training and diet programs for each different physical body type.  Your Body Type – Ectomorph, Mesomorph or Endomorph?

Today we’ll examine selling to those high flying ectomorphs.

Last week in our examination of selling to endomorphs we used an example of selling cars.  Well, we’re going to dance with the one who brung us again, so in this example once again, you’re selling cars. 

You’re up on the floor and a guy walks in.  He’s about 6’4″ and weighs 200 pounds. 

Right now, it doesn’t matter what he dresses like, talks like or what kind music he likes. 

He’s an ectomorph.

Ectomorphs are those tall, slender, sometimes almost bony, people.  It’s easy for them to look down their noses at others, because they’re generally taller to begin with. 

But ectomorphs do like their status; they do like their prestige.  Ectomorphs tend to be the aristocratic statesmen of this trio.

When I was being recruited for the Texas track team, my mother and I flew to Austin.  We met with the head track coach in his office in the brand new Belmont Hall attachment to the football and track stadium.

I was 18, as hyper as a whippet and full of vim and vinegar, with the fastest HS time in the nation in one event and tied for 12th in another.  Plus my mile relay team just broke the state record by four full seconds.  This was just another track coach.

Wrong on that, Murgatroyd.

Jack Patterson welcomed us with the statesmanlike aplomb of a Governor or President.   My mother stood all of 5’2″.   When he stood up, smiled and graciously shook hands with her she almost melted.

Definitely a chief executive, his splendorous office offered the feel of a comfortable but serious sitting room, decorated in quiet, distinguished burnt orange and white, with beautiful original Western art oil paintings and track trophy statuettes placed appropriately on side tables and on his desk.   

It looked and felt as if the Texas Athletic Department’s private smoking lounge convened in Jack’s office to solve the problems of the day.

Now, I’ve never actually met a sitting Governor or President in person, yet, but I’ve met enough other statesmen to understand why my mother and I both felt so – humbled and disarmed.

Jack stood 6’4″ and weighed about 200 pounds.  His full head of distinguished salt and pepper hair framed his square, smiling athletic face, complete with the fine Hollywood touch of perfectly greying temples.  When he ran track in college, Jack won the Southwest Conference Championship in the high hurdles.

These are three national class ectomorphic track athletes – with Jack Patterson. He’s the head ectomorph on the right.


He was a supreme example of a naturally gracious, smiling, welcoming man. And he looked right through me like he was reading a newspaper posted on the wall behind my head and read me like a book. 

What was my time in this event, that event?  And our state champion mile relay – we broke the state record time by four full seconds.  Yes, but what was my split?  What other schools was I talking to?  What did my mom think about me looking at UT when we lived in New Orleans?

Coach Patterson was a natrual born ectomorph.  He was also a distinguished leader, a statesman.  And that is who you sell to when you work with an ectomorph.

If I’m up on the sales floor and an ectomorph walks in I’m going to ask his needs and wants first, of course. 

Then, like I did with the endomorph, I’m going to put him into a Cadillac. 

But unlike the endomorph, where I emphasized comfort and luxury, I’m going to present everything I can think of that smacks of prestige and status.

Instead of focusing on the selling benefits of the the Cadillac’s sumptuous interior, smooth ride and the luscious sound of the multi speaker stereo system – as I did with the endomorph – this time I emphasize the high life brand of Cadillac

I mention how Cadillac always has been and always will be, the standard of excellence in motorcars… and when you’re seen driving a Cadillac …

I ask what part of town he lives in.  Oh, it’s a high end neighborhood?  I’ll bet there are a lot of Mercedes and Lexus there …  You’d be a unique American driving a 600 horsepower Cadillac…You’d stand out, apart from the crowd.

It’s a nice middle class neighborhood?  Are there many Cadillacs around where you Live?  You mean, you’d be the only one around there to be seen driving home in a new Cadillac every day … ?

This may not be the factor that wins the deal every time, but it will almost always give you an instant jump start on identification of needs, which helps you win a lot of the time.

The point is, selling using somatotology helps you frame your approach more accurately. 

Your odds of a successful approach are higher based on knowledge of your prospect’s somatotology body type.

Consider how this might be of help to you with your clientele and prospects.  

Selling cars, selling homes, sellling clothes, selling athletic equipment …

The concept generally holds true.  It works.

Next week!


Selling to people with different somatotypes: MESOMORPHS

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