Sales are based on relationships.
We like to buy from someone we trust, someone local, someone recommended by a friend. The relationship might be fairly shallow, but it’s important. How can we build satisfying sales relationships? Psychology tells us that we’re more at ease with those who mirror our style. We turn toward people we think will understand our priorities and validate our own choices. So how comfortable are you with adapting your selling style to the way your customer behaves?
Do you note the clues customers offer to their own style and preferences? Do you notice he doesn’t comfortably make eye contact when you greet him? Do you remember she likes to chat about the weather or traffic before she’s ready to discuss anything business-oriented? Does she seem to always be in a hurry? These may be indications of your customer’s particular buying style. Knowing how to adapt to better meet those needs may make your customer feel more comfortable purchasing from you.
This video shows an example of a customer with D-style tendencies.
In the two videos below, you can see how this customer reacts differently to different behaviors from the salesperson, Eric. As an S-style individual, Eric is naturally humble and accommodating, meaning his instinct is to defer to the customer. This deference, however, can frustrate a D-style customer like Ann, who is looking for confident recommendations from an expert. In the first video, Eric doesn’t stretch toward Ann’s style. In the second, he does.
Everything DiSC Sales is an excellent tool to help you learn more about yourself, your selling style, and the buying styles of potential and existing customers. Learning more about your selling style may seem like a waste of time since we all believe we already understand our own behaviors. But almost everyone can learn something useful by completing a self-assessment. When I took Everything DiSC Sales I was pleased to see that my style – iD – has strengths like being energetic without wasting customers’ time and being able to balance customers’ emotional needs with their business goals. On the other hand, I learned that I might also fail to give customers time to reflect or analyze. I might even appear bored when they talk. I now understand that I have to work on being more responsive to customers who are more analytical.
Using DiSC for hiring sales personnel
Nearly every organization needs effective salespeople, and selecting those who will be successful is challenging. We know there are employers who believe there is a particular style that will excel at sales. DiSC is not a predictive tool; it won’t predict success in sales or any other discipline. To assume that because you have a successful salesperson who is an i style, your next salesperson should be an i too is a flawed strategy. Because we are adaptable, have different skills and unique experiences, two people who appear to be identical on paper may present diametrically opposite sales talent. Using DiSC to isolate a successful style isn’t likely to accomplish your goal.
The Sales assessment can, however, be helpful to discover soft skills the new or experienced sales professional needs to build or practice. It might also show gaps in your sales team’s strengths. For example, you might discover that you have been hiring for people comfortable learning and explaining the complicated features of your product, but you could use someone on the team who is more comfortable with maintaining a personal relationship with your longer-term clients. We recommend Everything DiSC Sales as a developmental, not predictive, tool. (We also recommend using the PXT Select pre-hire assessment for hiring.)
It’s clear in most organizations that nearly everyone employed there is in sales in one form or another. Each person is building relationships with customers and vendors or networking with other professionals in their area. Having employees beyond just your sales team take Everything DiSC Sales or the Workplace assessment will help customer service, purchasing, and other employees understand their own needs and the communication needs of their internal and external clients.
Using DiSC to build the sales relationship
When you take the Everything DiSC Sales assessment, you’ll have the chance to build a clearer picture of a specific customer and their buying style. Is she skeptical? Is he focused on dependability? You can enter behavioral traits about an individual customer to receive a Customer Interaction Map with tips to help you optimize your interaction with that person. In addition, creating a Customer Interaction Map is free on MyEverythingDiSC.com, so you can run one for each of your customers.
This is a great tool to use when handing a lead off to the sales team or a current customer to a new sales team member. Instead of hearing “oh, she’s great to work with — a really easy customer” you can get real tips for working with her based on the salesperson’s style. You might find that she’s interested only in white papers and takes a long time to make a final decision, thereby draining your energy. You prefer the guy who likes to engage in small talk and is moved by your enthusiasm for the products you sell. An easy customer for one person might be challenging for another.
DiSC doesn’t teach you how to sell, nor does it suggest that you be inauthentic in your approach to customers. It does provide valuable insights into your natural sales tendencies, some of which you might need to rely less upon with certain customers. It gives tips that can help you practice adapting to your customers so you can continue to build satisfying relationships — a win for both you and your customers.
Note: Videos are samples from the Everything DiSC Sales Facilitation Kit.
By Kristeen Bullwinkle
Originally published on TalentGear.com.