Have you ever just hit a roadblock with another person and you don’t know why? That person could be a prospect, a customer, a co-worker, a peer or even your boss. Many times the problem is your “style” or approach of how you communicate with the other person. If you are a hard-driving, results-oriented person who makes decisions quickly and is only worried about the bottom line, you are probably going to clash with the person who is much more safe-guarded, analytical and pragmatic in making decisions. If you are more black-and-white and logical, the person that relies on “their gut” to make decisions is going to drive you crazy.
These are just a couple examples of where “styles” or personality types can get in your way. No style is correct or incorrect – just different. The most effective managers and sellers that I’ve ever met are very good at recognizing the style of the person they are working with and adapting to that person’s style in order to make progress in whatever they are trying to get done. On the flip side, I’ve seen lots of sales people miss the signs given by their counterpart which results in some serious head-butting and little progress.
There are several tools or instruments on the market today which interpret somebody’s style. DiSC is one of the more popular, but there is also Social Styles from Wilson Learning, Insights 360 and a slew more. Sometimes the instrument will categorize you as a Label (Driver, Dominant, Amiable, Expressive, etc.), sometimes you are a color (Blue, Green, Red, Yellow) and sometimes you are even an animal (Lion, Fox, Deer, etc.). The label doesn’t matter. What does matter is understanding who you are and who the person is that you are working with.
So how does this relate to sales and sales management? It does in so many ways. Let’s first take a look at selling. As I pointed out in the first paragraph, understanding the person or people you are selling to makes a world of difference. Are they introverted or extroverted? Are they cautious or risk takers? Are they logical or intuitive? Closely listen to the language they use and the questions they ask to determine these things. Then act appropriately. Failure to recognize their style could result in you “turning them off.”
When it comes to management, your team members are most likely not all the same. Each have their own personality as well. So, understand who they are and use that to create the best reward systems and processes for them that you can. If you have a driver who wants big things in life and is driven by it, consistently talk to them about achieving results and what they can buy with their commission checks. But if you have someone more logical and analytical on your team (not bad traits either), then talk to them about the process they will take their prospects through to get them closed.
These can be very subtle difference, but they can make a big difference in your success.