Selling is the most important function — the beating heart — of every business because an organisation either has money coming in to pump to all its other vital organs (manufacturing, operations, marketing, I.T, customer service, accounts, HR, management, product research), or it doesn't, and therefore slowly withers and dies.
Companies that seek a competitive edge must continuously be improving their products, systems, processes, and the skills of their sales force. How competent its salespeople are at initiating and retaining customer relationships is a decisive factor in the success of the enterprise as a whole.
Even in the most transactional retail environments, such as your local coffee shop, the social skills of the barista can mean the difference between becoming a lifetime customer and spending hundreds of dollars every year, or talking to all your friends about why you avoid the shop like the plague and give your business to one of their competitors.
There are all types of sales situations, ranging from simple one-call, single-need, to multiple face-to-face team presentations of complex solutions. The sale can be anything from a product or service, to the presentation of an idea. In reality, although people may not like to admit to it, everyone is a salesperson. Everyone is selling something everyday, and would therefore benefit greatly from professional sales training.
Whatever the environment, selling is essentially a matter of managing relationships and being a first-class communicator.
The DISC profile is not a step-by-step sales system, but rather a ‘plug-in’ tool that can be incorporated into any sales (or customer service) system already in use. The idea behind the DISC profile is to help a sales force become more self-aware and behaviourally flexible, and better at communicating and building trust.
How to Introduce DISC to Salespeople There is no single best way to coach, train or facilitate DISC, so what follows is simply a scripted example to help illustrate one way that DISC might be introduced to a group of sales professionals.
Facilitator: “Welcome to [Sales 101]. One of the cornerstones of this training is human relationships. Since selling is all about people and the ability to build and maintain relationships with people, we’re going to look at how the way we communicate with others on a daily basis impacts our success or failure as sales professionals.
Using the method we are going to present to you today, you will be able to influence and sell to prospects and customers of every kind and description in less time with less stress.
Together, we are going to explore something called the DISC profile, which is one of the most widespread professional development tools taken by millions of people every year and used by hundreds of thousands of companies around the world, including about 75% of the Fortune 500.
The thing that I think you’ll like most about this tool is that it is simple and practical — it's not some abstract university theory, and you won't need to have any kind of background in psychology.
The DISC framework is a framework for understanding people. It is based on more than 50 years of research revealing that people can be divided into certain temperament styles. Certain people prefer to behave and communicate in certain ways. Without making superficial generalisations, human behaviour can be arranged into four clearly identifiable styles. The more you know about a customer's preferred behavioural style, the better you will be positioned to win their business.
Research conducted by the U.S. based company Target Training International has conclusively proven the following statements to be true:
People tend to buy from salespeople who have behavioural styles similar to their own
Salespeople tend to sell to customers who have a behavioural style similar to their own
Salespeople who are aware of their own behavioural style and learn to blend with their customer's style are able to increase their sales.
In essence, DISC is a framework that has simplified decades of research on how humans prefer to act, behave, socialise and communicate with each other, which we’re going to take advantage of and use to help accelerate our abilities to build rapport and communicate better with our customers.”
Following this introduction, the participants would then receive an overview of the four primary DISC behaviours, including what each factor stands for and the common characteristics, strengths and tendencies associated with each. For fun, you might wish to use these famous characters as examples.
The sales team should begin to learn what buying conditions each of the four styles will respond to best, and how to adapt their preferred selling style in order to communicate more effectively, and thereby build rapport and trust.
At this point, it is a good idea to present the sales team with their DISC profiles (or some specific parts of them) so that they can relate the DISC principles to their own situation. It's worthwhile to have all the salespeople participate in activities and discussions that highlight important differences in their styles, which works best if there are people with opposite styles in the room.
Once the sales team has a grounded understanding of the research and principles of DISC, and once they have established an awareness of their own style and that of others, we might provide them with some strategies to put the DISC language into action with customers and prospects.
Key Benefits of DISC Profiling and Training for Salespeople:
A Validated Process for Building Trust: No glitzy new ideas for overhauling your sales process — simply a reliable, accurate and validated model for identifying and adapting to the communication needs of different customers, which has been used by tens of thousands of companies around the world.
Better Communication: Understand the best (and worst) ways to communicate to certain types of customers.
More Self-Aware: Salespeople will be better able to evaluate how customers perceive them and adjust their selling style to the particular behavioural needs of each customer.
Team Language: A shared language for salespeople to work more effectively within their teams, as well as with their managers.
Sales Management: The DISC framework helps the sales manager understand the type of environment in which each style will be most productive.