Feature by Greg Orth, Owner and President of Sandler Training
Photo of Greg Orth by Will Marks
Sales, no matter how you look at it, is nothing more than two entities communicating with each other. It should be an equal, two-way street of communication where we are willing to tell each other the truth for a mutually beneficial outcome.
So much about business is not based on our product or service, but how we interact with people that make the biggest impact. People buy from people they like. People like people they trust. So, ultimately people buy from people they trust. Building relationships start at polite, builds to being personal, and ultimately leads to trust. However, this takes time. In order for us to build trust, the person needs to feel comfortable and engaged and not pressured to act in a way that creates stress and anxiety.
One of the best ways to truly engage with people and make them feel comfortable is by understanding their different behavioral styles. You may have heard of DISC, Kolbe, or Myers-Briggs; these are all assessments that allow us to understand our different behavioral styles (often confused with personality tests). We all have our personal ways of behaving in different situations. We also act routinely, repeating our adapted ways of doing things, because it is easier to repeat our adapted ways than to learn new ones.
Have you ever encountered any of these scenarios?
• Someone with whom you didn’t click?
• A client who just wants you to cut to the chase?
• People who just want to talk, but never about business?
• A boss or manager who just doesn’t understand you?
• People who think it over, no matter how much data supports the sale?
• Clients who are very detailed, while others are rather blasé?
Some of these scenarios may create frustration when trying to deal with people (clients, prospects, employees). However, the frustration is simply rooted in the fact that the person’s behavioral style is most likely different than yours. Sometimes we take it personally as if we were doing something wrong. We simply need to be more open and aware of everyone’s differences and learn to adapt to each other to maximize our engagement. Using the DISC model as a baseline understanding, our behavioral styles can be broken down into four parts. The following are very high-level and brief descriptions of each. While we exhibit all four styles everyday, some are more natural to us (our dominant style), while others take more effort and energy.
Using the DISC model as a baseline understanding, our behavioral styles can be broken down into four parts. The following are very high-level and brief descriptions of each. While we exhibit all four styles everyday, some are more natural to us (our dominant style), while others take more effort and energy.
D style: task-oriented, extroverted, decisive, strong-willed, competitive, independent, impatient (CEO, military leader, football coach)
I style: people-oriented, extroverted, talkative, social, energetic, emotional, persuasive (bartender, actor, comedian)
S style: people-oriented, introverted, calm, stable, patient, trustworthy, modest, routine-oriented (elementary school teacher, nurse, religious figure)
C style: task-oriented, introverted, precise, analytical, exact, follows rules, formal, disciplined, quiet (accountant, architect, engineer)
Okay, so what? Once we have an understanding of the styles, to fully leverage the impact in our business (and personal lives), we approach it in three ways:
First, understand yourself. Be aware of what characteristics are the most natural to you. This is where your strengths lie and are best utilized. You exhibit these characteristics without even thinking about them. On the flip side, understand those characteristics and styles that are not natural to you. Exhibiting these characteristics will actually take a lot of energy because they don’t come naturally to you, but you can do it successfully.
Second, learn to identify another person’s style. Regardless of your style, observe, assess, and recognize how others communicate and interact, and try to determine their style. You may be wrong at first, but the more information you gather about a person, the more you can accurately pinpoint someone else’s style. Like anything else, this takes some time and practice.
Third, adapt. Once you have identified someone else’s style, communicate with them in a way that fits them. The more we adapt how we communicate with others, the more comfortable and engaged they will feel, and the quicker we can start (or continue) to build trust. It doesn’t matter what style you are, adapt your approach to fit the other person. When we place the focus on the other person and not ourselves, we start to build rapport and trust.
Using behavioral styles should be a common language used within your organization and reinforced on a daily basis. It should be used to maximize the engagements we have with both our prospects and clients, as well as with employees and staff.
I leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Jay Danzie: “Your smile is your logo, your personality is your business card, how you leave others feeling after having an experience with you becomes your trademark.”