Beware of Communication Tendencies – DISC

How Does Your Prospect & Your Team Receive Information and Make Decisions?

Applying DISC takes a ton of practice as we have our own communication styles that can get in the way.

Most people haven’t spent a whole lot of time considering how their message lands with their teams and prospects and most haven’t even heard of DISC assessments.  The DISC model is a simple way to identify peoples preferred decision making and communication style with their primary styles divided into four categories, of which we are all a blend of the four and there isn’t a preferred style for sales nor leadership.

  • Decisive (D) – results, bottom line, competitive and hates wasting time and may change directions too fast for their team to reach full potential – energized by making decisions (CEOs)
  • Influencer (I) – emotional, likes to have fun and hates a ton of facts and information and may not be able to stay focused – energized by people and fun (Comedians, Hospitality)
  • Stabilizer (S) – love stability, process, and people, and hates change and may introduce unnecessary time delays into the sales process and tolerate poor team performance – energized by caring for people and process (HR, Nurses, Teachers)
  • Critical (C) – love facts, figures, spreadsheets, and may over analyze information including giving tons of unnecessary information to a confused prospect – energized by facts and information (CPA, Engineers, Controllers)

Ultimately, we can use the DISC model and adjust our communication and sales process to keep our prospects and teammates more comfortable.  We can essentially “mirror-match” our prospect communicating how they like to be communicated with and helping them make decisions in a manner and with what supporting information they need.  Understanding the DISC model is essential in generating authentic trust and rapport.   Without understanding how they communicate and make decisions we will naturally default to our own style which may or may not be helpful for the person and could even be detrimental.

In applying DISC to the sales process, if I’m communicating with a High Decisive, I’ll keep my conversations concise, results and bottom line based.  I’ll also not doubt their ability to make a decision, in fact, encourage them, and may even introduce questions about how they beat their competitors.  I’ll avoid small talk and get to the point.  In emails, I use bullet points, fewer words, and may skip greetings and salutations.

On the contrary, if I follow these exact same techniques with a High Stabilizer, they will NEVER buy from me because I’ve forced an early, quick, and perhaps unnecessary decision, unless they have no other choice.  In this case, they’d be buying in spite of me, not because of me.  High Stabilizers will need time to make decisions and if pressured at all will default to “No” to avoid change.  They fundamentally believe, “Only change what is absolutely necessary” and will be likely to poll or survey other people to learn how they will be impacted by the change.  All things a High Decisive would likely not do.

The same applies to leadership.  If I have an employee that is a High Stabilizer, they will probably struggle with goal setting, defining their ideal prospects, and even deciding who to or not to call when cold calling.  They will also have a tendency to give their prospects too much time to decide even though they may be ready and may even introduce extra, unnecessary meetings and delays to keep themselves comfortable (even though the prospect was ready to buy a long time ago).   As a leader, it is my role to adjust my communication style and help them to identify their blind spots.

On the contrary, a High Decisive leader, most common in C-level leaders (CEO, CFO, etc), has a tendency to change directions too fast and the team eventually quits following as closely, since the leader will be quick to change their minds and come back around.  Often times, they struggle to achieve their biggest goals because little, if anything, is given a chance to work and even if it does, they feel it should be changed to work “better.”   They thrive under constant change and justify rapid changes as progressive iterations.  Meanwhile, their team grows weary and their team may suffer from turnover and at best lack of engagement.

By understanding, their blind spots, high D leaders can have a supporting cast and advisors to help them slow down, consider not changing even though it may be uncomfortable, and consider the long-term impact of changes.  Since this is a blind spot, they will justify that it is a necessary iteration to improve, believe waiting solves nothing, and, as such, will probably make the decision anyway.  So, helping these team leaders slow down by setting longer-term goals and prioritizing decisions with the help of a team may be helpful and difficult.

Here is a link to take the 20 minutes assessment with a ton of supporting information; however, if you’d like to discuss your personal assessment, strengths, and potential blind spots, I’d be happy to schedule some time.  This is one of a variety of tools that I use to help train and lead teams and improve sales efficiency, as well as recruit and retain top performers.  If something I’ve shared looks interesting, sounds worthwhile, or just feels like it is worth a longer conversation please let me know so we can block off some time to learn more.

  1. Complete your self-assessment and consider your own communication preferences (DISC).
  2. Pay attention to others you come into contact with over the coming days and attempt to figure out their communication preference (DISC).
  3. And, if you’re wild and crazy, try adjusting your communication style to match theirs (D→D, I→I, S→S, and C→C).<br>

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