Treating your customer the way they want to be treated, selling to them in the way they want to buy is a strategy that can change your life. A sale is a matching process. You match the right product or service to your customer’s needs…and your selling style with the customer’s buying style. To do so, you must learn to adapt your style to that of your customer.
The DISC theory is a tool used for behavioral analysis that has its roots in Harvard in the 1920s. The psychologist William Marston (originator of Wonder Woman and the first polygraph test) had a theory. That people’s personalities could be categorized into four different styles.
The DISC Model of Human Behavior is based on 2 foundational observations about how people normally behave:
Observation #1: Some people are more OUTGOING, while others are more RESERVED.
You can think of this trait as each person’s “internal motor” or “pace.” Some people always seem ready to “go” and “dive in” quickly. They engage their motor quickly. Others tend to engage their motor more slowly or more cautiously.
Observation # 2: Some people are more TASK-ORIENTED, while others are more PEOPLE-ORIENTED.
You can think of this as each person’s “external focus” or “priority” that guides them. Some people are focused on getting things done (tasks); others are more tuned-in to the people around them and their feelings.
Therefore, DISC is a practical way to understand yourself and those around in the common settings of everyday life
QUICK ASSESSMENT TIP
There are 2 main questions that will help you define what DISC Profile someone might be:
- A) Is he/she reserved or outgoing?
- B) Is he/she people or task oriented?
The elevator doors are about to close on an eager rider who is trying to get on the elevator. Four people are already inside the elevator. One of the people in the crowded box is in a hurry and does not want to wait (outgoing and task-oriented). There is also a bubbly, energetic passenger who holds the door open while greeting the newcomer (outgoing and people-oriented). A third rider is happy either way and smiles while waiting patiently (reserved and people-oriented). The final passenger is concerned as she calculates the weight to see if the elevator can handle another person (reserved and task-oriented).
This scenario illustrates the Dominant (outgoing / task-oriented) person who is focused on getting somewhere fast; the Influent (outgoing / people-oriented) person who is energized by all the interaction; the Steady (reserved / people-oriented) person who reacts calmly and tries to get along regardless; and the Conscious (reserved / task-oriented) person who wants to make sure the added person doesn’t exceed the weight limit! As you can see, there were four different people who responded to the same event in four very different ways!
Now that you know how to quickly assess each personality, let´s move to how to approach them:
The D Style – DOMINANCE
The D Personality Style tends to be direct and decisive, sometimes described as dominant. They would prefer to lead than follow, and tend towards leadership and management positions. They tend to have high self-confidence and are risk takers and problem solvers, which enables others to look to them for decisions and direction. They tend to be self-starters.
“D”s want to control conversations. They like to be in charge and to decide when to decide. They debate with power and authority. The need choices rather than ultimatums.
|Motivated by Action & Challenge||Offer challenging opportunities|
|Prioritizes Action & Results||Present the bottom line – briefly|
|Limited by impatience||Show them what the product offers – briefly|
|Fears being taken advantage of||Focus on solutions rather than problems|
|Values Competence & Accomplishments||Compliment them publically|
When selling to “D”´s:
If you are also a ‘D”- be strong, but willing to bend. “D´”s will challenge and intimidate. Be to the point.
If you are a “I” – Be serious. Don´t be silly or informal because “D”´s are not interested in funny stories. Don´t waste time. Demonstrate how you product/service will solve the problem.
If you are a “S” – be confident and sure of self. “`D”´s may be forceful. Show strength. Don´t give in if you are right.
If you are a “C” – be relaxed. Get to the “bottom line” and don´t bore the customer with lots of facts.
The I Style – INFLUENCE
The I Personality Style is not afraid to be the center of attention. They are enthusiastic, optimistic, talkative, persuasive, impulsive and emotional. This Personality Type will trust others naturally, truly enjoys being around others, and functions best when around people and working in teams.
“I”s listen with their heart. They tend to be impulsive and seek opportunities that make them look good. “I”s talk a lot and are often poor listeners. They often respond enthusiastically or resist dramatically. They are not calm and quiet.
|Characteristics||So you …|
|Motivated by social recognition||Give public recognition when possible (reviews?)|
|Prioritizes taking action – enthusiastically||Focus on the positives|
|Limited by lack of follow through||Don’t overload with details|
|Fears loss of influence||Allow time for them to ask questions|
|Values freedom of expression.||Don’t interrupt them|
When selling to “I”´s:
If you are a “D” – be enthusiastic and complimentary. “I”´s will talk and exaggerate a lot. Listen and don´t try to control the conversation or prove your point
If you are also an “I” – Be a good listener. Don´t talk much. Compliment “I”´s and emphasize the good and positive. Smile and agree as much as possible.
If you are an “S” – Be interested in what the customer says. Don´t just listen. Share your thoughts and concerns. Ask them to review your product.
If you are a “C” – Be patient and let your customer talk. Ask pointed questions that make the customer think. Get them to talk through to the solution.
The S Style – STEADINESS
The S Personality Type is known for being steady, stable, and predictable. They are even-tempered, friendly, sympathetic with others, and very generous with loved ones. The S is understanding and listens well. Preferring close, personal relationships, the S is very opened with loved ones, but can also be possessive at times and hold them close.
“S”´s don´t make quick decisions. They want to establish relationships. They desire simplicity and stability with a sensible and slow pace. They like familiar and low-key presentations. They listen best to friends rather than total strangers.
|Characteristics||So you …|
|Motivated by cooperation & sincerity||Be personable and amiable|
|Prioritizes support and collaboration||Avoid confrontation|
|Limited by indecision||Take time to clarify|
|Fears loss of stability||Explain what can be expected from your product/service|
|Values loyalty and security||Express your interest in them|
When selling to an “S”:
If you are a “D” – Don´t be forceful or speak down. Be sweet. “S” will judge how you respond. Appreciate the person´s concerns.
If you are a “I” – Be sensitive. Let “S” share their thoughts. Don´t interrupt and let the customer finish completely. Stay calm and reinforce your concern with him.
If you are also an “S” – Be kind but don´t overdo. Be strong if necessary. Don´t hold back, but be sensitive
If you are a “C” – Show sincere care for your customer. Male them feel you really enjoy what you do. Don´t complain. Be optimistic and sure of your product/service.
The C Style – CONSCIENTIOUSNESS
The C DISC Styles are accurate, precise, detail-oriented, and conscientious. They think very analytically and systematically and make decisions carefully with plenty of research and information to back it up. The C has very high standards for both themselves and others. Because they focus on the details and see what many other styles do not, they tend to be good problem solvers and very creative people.
“C”s are “Consumer Report” people. They research and calculate before deciding. They are “hard sells” who enjoy intellectual debate. Picky and precise, they listen with their minds and not their hearts. They need time to think through decisions.
|Characteristics||So you …|
|Motivated by showing expertise & quality work||Focus on Facts and details|
|Prioritizes analysis and challenging assumptions||Be precise and correct|
|Limited by being overcritical, over analyzing||Be tactful and polite|
|Fears criticism and being wrong||Be patient and diplomatic|
|Values quality and accuracy||Be correct|
When selling to a “C”:
If you are a “D” – Be prepared and specific. Don´t use generalities. “C”´s want explanation, not debate. “C”´s can also be strong if you don’t know what you are talking about
If you are an “I” – Be factual and don´t try to “snow” a “C”. Give details concerning your product/service. Be precise and methodical
If you are a “S” – be prepared to stress and have your proof ready. The customer will pressure you with logic or reason. Be open to what is said.
If you are also a “C” – be precise and accurate. Meet forceful demands with clear answers. Be sure of your facts, but be open to suggestions
What I have described may be a fundamental change in the way you have been selling. If you start paying attention to your customers’ behavioral styles and you begin viewing sales as a collaboration, not a conquest, you may be changing from a person who “sells” things, to a person who “consults” and “solves problems” based on your knowledge of your customer’s personal needs and desires.
Curious about your selling personality style? Then visit our website and download our free e-book “What is your employee behavior profile?”
Don´t miss our videos with more insights on how to sell to each profile:
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