In this article we take a look at personality profiling tools and how they can help you to to approach transactions with other, whether they be sales or collaboration. Many exist with Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and DISC being the most popular. This article deals with DISC.

Why Personality type analysis can be Crucial

In business or sales we have to speak to many different types of people and effectively getting the job done involves understanding who you are talking to. Not just their name and job title but who they are beneath that. Beneath every job title, there is a real heart and soul person who has fears and desires and a different criteria when interacting with others. This can be especially crucial in sales but if you consider that all business is a transaction of some kind, it is still pretty important to you. The ability to quickly profile someone and begin with a fairly good idea of what makes them tick can help create trust, bonds and get business done. This is not some devious mind trick, this is simply finding the best way to interact with different people. After all, they have a problem and you have a solution, removing the perception of barriers to that transaction can’t be bad, right?

What tools can you use?

There are loads of different tools for personality profiling and sales coaches will also have some of their own but I have found that one of the simplest yet most effective is DISC analysis. It, like Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), is based on Carl Jung’s typology and begins by splitting people into two main groups, Introvert and Extrovert, it then divides them by modes or how they interact with the world, this will be people or task motivated. And while MBTI will put people into one of 16 types, DISC will place them somewhere on four quadrants.

What is DISC?

Disc is a fairly simple tool to enable you to understand what part of the quadrant you are dealing with and how to deal with them. By making two basic judgements you will have an idea of which of the four DISC types they are. So, for example you may find that someone is an extrovert people person or an introvert motivated by tasks and results.
Knowing this will give you a pretty good idea of how to interact with them. Now, it’s time for a bit of a disclaimer, a disclaimer that I will repeat BUT I will help you to solve. People are not simple and they do defy categorisation. This will take practice and practice but it will be worth it. PLUS, I will give you a BIG HACK that will help you until you get comfortable with the whole idea.

What you must do first!

So, now you have an idea of one of the people in the room but there is someone you are forgetting. Before you begin using these principles it is important that you first profile yourself. Getting a clear idea of what it is that drives you, in the context of DISC, will help you to more easily negotiate others and how your personality interacts with theirs. I cannot stress this step enough, you may think you know yourself but understanding how your approach may conflict with your opposite’s perception and needs can be the difference between getting things done and not!
The four quadrants are Dominant, Influential, Supportive and Cautious. D-I-S-C, geddit? DISC, and these are their basic characteristics. You will find other words used for each of these letters but they all mean much the same thing.

D is for Dominant

D-types are Dominant, they are extrovert and no-nonsense, they want facts and they want them quick. They are the type that gives you a strong handshake and look you in the eye. D-types will not waste time on rapport building, so don’t strike up a conversation about your kids because you think this is something you have in common (I have made that mistake before!). These are people who are interested in price, how the job is going to be done, timescales but they do not want minuscule details, D-types are big-picture people. The best way to deal with D-Types is to stand up to them, be strong, this way they will respect you, remember people like people who are like themselves, this is true of most people. We all feel that we are the epitome of normal so anyone who is different is strange and therefore less than worthy of trust. There are exceptions to this and we will look at that later in the article. D-types will test you and if you fold they will lose respect for you and you will lose the deal, pass their tests and you are on your way to having a strong collaboration or a regular client.
Can you build rapport with a D-type?
Yes, you can but you will have to take it slow. While you are discussing the deal they will tell you about something they are proud of, d-types like to brag! Show interest and admiration, if you have tried or done something similar, say so but emphasise the challenge of it. Keep these comments to a minimum.
“Did you do that?”
“Yeah!”
“Wow, I had to get someone in to do mine!”

I is for Influential

I-Types are Influential, they are extrovert and people oriented, they love to build rapport. They are the type that gives you a strong handshake, maybe even touching your shoulder with the other hand. You can tell an I-Type, they are the centre of the party. They will be funny and charming and you will quickly become friends if you show appreciation for their wit and share your own similar stories. Like Dominants, they will like you if you are like them and they are not interested in details. With I-Types, connection is everything, they will bend on price and other conditions if they feel that they can trust you and enjoy doing business with you. Many I-Types would like to think that they are D-Types and it may be necessary to interrupt your blooming Bromance with an attempt at talking shop, go into some details of the deal then allow yourself to be distracted by something they said or are wearing.
“So,we can expect to dispatch by… Oh Wow! Where did you get those shoes?”
Now, I mentioned bromance but this works cross-gender as well. But, be cautious about flirting with an I-Type. I-Types are popular and often get attention from interested others, they may appear a little head-in-the-clouds but do not underestimate them. The best way to flirt with an I-Type is to be like and I-Type and make it clear that you think like them. Just like the D-Types, they have a touch of narcissism about them and the best flattery is imitation.

S is for Supportive

S-Types are Steady, Stable and Supportive, they are introvert or at least below the line but people oriented. They are interested in what you think about them and they aim to please. S-Types need time, they differ from I-Types most obviously in energy levels. Make your time together personal and listen, you can often talk details with S-Types, at least much more than with D-Types and I-Types, but reference the details back to personal details that you have gleaned from listening, “The energy consumption is X which connects to what you said earlier about sustainability, right?” They love to be part of a team and can be motivated by how valuable their contribution is or how they might let people down if they don’t contribute enough.

C is for Cautious

C-Types are Cautious, conscientious and compliant, they are introvert, below the line and task oriented. Like D-Types, they have little time for rapport building and want to get straight to business. They are not the type that will give you a bone-crushing handshake and may avoid eye-contact, but don’t take this as weakness (A small note on this). Unlike D-Types, they love details and this is where you will connect with them. Be sure to have done your cramming when approaching a C-Type, they will want to know how everything will be done. Be sure to have printed material with as much information as possible and while it may not be necessary to know it all by heart, you will need to know where it is when you need it. You will win or loose a C-Type on your knowledge and attention to detail.

Elevator Analogy

There is a well-used analogy that helps to illustrate the four character types in real life. Check it out on YouTube and you will find many examples.
So, there are four people in a lift (elevator) and as the doors begin to close, someone runs to join them. The D-Type is on his way to a meeting and goes to push the close-doors button but he is cut off by the I-Type who holds the door. The S-Type is happy to accommodate another passenger while the C-Type nervously eyes the max weight sign wondering if they will be overloaded.

A note on weakness

Small note on weakness: It would be easy to assume that the above the line personalities are the strong characters and the below the line are the weaker ones but this is far too simplistic. DISC is interested in personalty type, not character strength. Do not make the mistake of confusing these two qualities.

Taking DISC to the next step

Although I have tried to take a very comprehensive look at DISC personality types, there is still so much more. You will find a hack that will help you to not only learn more but also get effective results quicker if you click on THIS ARTICLE.

There is also the matter of people not fitting exactly into the four quadrants, many will have elements of two or more character types and I will help you understand these in a future article. There is also adaptive types, where people assume the characteristics of another type when in different environments. I will show you how to bring someone back to their base type.

In the meantime, start practising and share this article with anyone you think may need it.

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