The DISC Model continues to be one of the most popular four quadrant behavioral models. All DISC assessments are based on the research of William Moulton Marston Ph. D. (1893-1947) 1 and built upon the foundation identified as four primary emotions and associated behavioral responses:
The DiSC® model looks at a continuum of activity and energy levels and a continuum of skepticism or trust. Other DISC models tend to look at pacing and another behavioral dimension.
A quick overview of the basic DiSC styles:
- Dominance: direct, strong-willed, and forceful (fast-paced and skeptical)
- Influence: sociable, talkative, and lively (fast-paced and accepting)
- Steadiness: gentle, accommodating, and soft-hearted (moderate-paced and accepting)
- Conscientiousness: private, analytical, and logical (moderate-paced and skeptical)
People Buy from People They Like
So, what does DiSC have to do with selling? Having a better understanding of DiSC behavior allows you to identify the buyer’s style and how it matches or conflicts with yours. You cannot change the buyer’s style and you cannot entirely change yours, however, you can modify your behavior to mirror more closely the stye of the buyer.
This process, in fact, is transferable to many other banking situations, such as your staff’s propensity to follow risk management procedures, filling operations positions, and compliance with internal processes. Knowing which style is better suited for a particular position or requirement can better the serve the bank’s overall success.
Modifying your behavior allows the buyer to better identify with you and makes them more comfortable. You are creating an environment in which people become self-motivated. Remember that people are motivated by their reasons, not by yours.
Conversely, salespeople tend to sell to people with the behavioral styles similar to that of the salesperson. As a salesperson, don’t shy away from buyers with different styles. Instead modify your behavior to better match theirs. You will find that your sales will increase. If a person understand him/herself better than you understand yourself, they will control the sales ‘dance’.
Using Marston’s research, let’s look at how a D (Dominance) style handles problems and challenges. As you would expect, they tend to be very active, aggressive, and results-oriented. They attack an issue with a calculated, organized, and well thought out approach. Selling to a D style needs to match theirs – be direct, offer logical arguments, provide reason and forethought even if that’s not your style.
The person with an I (Influencing) style is outgoing, social, verbally persuasive. They tend to be more sincere and reserved and enter situations cautiously – they look before they leap. With this style, talking about non-sales topics at the start of the conversation will allow them to be more relaxed and forthcoming.
The S (Steadiness) style prefers a secure situation and have a tendency to need a more structured, predictable environment. They want the boundaries clearly identified. Better to have a call with them in their office or certainly at their convenience.
An individual with the C (Compliant) style follows rules set by others and understands the effects of not complying with set procedures.
Everyone has some of each characteristic and some have all four, however, each of us is generally influenced by two (2) of these tendencies, approximately 77%. Fifteen percent will exhibit behavior from one tendency, 5% by three and only 3% of any group will exhibit only one of the four tendencies. Interestingly, one instinctual core trait will emerge in a ‘fight or flight’ situation because the need is essential for hat person’s long-term survival.
Communication is Key
Communicating with a person from each style is the foundation for a good sales experience. For the buyer with a D style, be direct, brief and to the point. You should develop a results-oriented approach that identifies opportunities and provides a win/win situation. You should use a logical approach and do not oversell.
Allow time for socialization with a I style buyer. This individual will tend to buy on feelings rather than logic – ask how they feel about the product or service. Involve them in brainstorming and ask for new ideas and approaches to the issue.
Expect to be patient with the Steadiness or S style person; draw out their opinions and allow time for a relaxed discussion. You should involve them in the planning, clearly define all of the facts, and show how your solution will benefit them.
Finally, a Complaint or C style person needs facts and data to reach a decision and wants to examine an argument from all sides. Make sure you focus on quality, keep on task and do not socialize. Above all, allow them time to think.
In summary, understanding your DiSC style is the first step. Next is learning to identify the style of the buyer and adapting your style, as best you can, to theirs. The one concept to remember is that people buy from people the like and that’s no lie.
1 Marston created the lie detector test and introduced “Wonder Woman” of DC comic strip fame.