Photo credit: Ryan Rahn
“Would you mind doing this psycho-metric test for me please?”
I was at the start of taking the sales training I signed up for. When asked to fill in a questionnaire with loads of questions such as “when this happens, what is your reaction: x, y or z”, my immediate reaction was:
“Complete, utter non-sense” (actually, it was a stronger reaction, self-censored it).
I had been struggling with sales. I was developing a business and I realised that sales was not about doing nice presentations and about relationships. I needed to find a better way. I had decided to do something about it and to invest time and effort in proper some sales training. And part of the requirement was to fill this questionnaire.
“Why do you think this was utter non-sense?” do I hear you say, dear reader. Good question. Well, my background is in sciences. Pure physics to be specific. So, at Uni, I did 5 years of resolving equations. My way of thinking has been formatted by these and all manner of rational demonstrations. Being asked to answer what seemed random questions for a psychological test known as “DISC profile” didn’t square too well with my Cartesian thinking. And even worst. It was reinforcing my belief that sales was very fluffy.
How wrong I was.
The DISC profile is actually a powerful tool which helps me not only in my sales dealings but also on a day to day basis. What’s it all about? There is plenty to read about it, here is my humble take / summary.
DISC profile categorises people in four. The D, the I, the S and, yes! the C. Each has broadly different personality traits. Knowing where you fit and where the person you deal with fits helps you understand what these people care about, what you care about, why you react in certain and why they do. Here is a brief highlight of each of these “segments”:
D- for Decision. People that care about Decision. They want to make or understand the decisions that are available to them
I- for Interpersonal. These are people who care about personal relationship. They care what people think and what they feel.
S– for Process (I know, I forgot the exact term). These are people that need to understand the process, how it takes to get from A to B
C- for Quantify. People who are number driven. What matters to them is, slightly exaggerating, the number after the coma.
There is far more to DISC. But even bearing in mind this structure, what does it concretely mean on a day to day basis. Well, part of my process is to understand what profile the prospect or client I deal with fits in. It’s not always easy (who said sales and interacting with people was?) but it helps. For instance, I clearly remember having to deal with someone who was a clear C. And I am more of an I personality. In the DISC framework, these two profiles are actually on the opposite scale. Beforehand, I would have really struggled with the usual outburst:
“ He is not making sense” or thinking “That’s totally irrelevant” to things that mattered to that person.
Now aware of the DISC profile tool, I can not only understand why that person cares about things I don’t but also adapt to improve my dealings with him.
I stress it. This is just the surface of it and you might think the exact same thing I used to: “Complete baloney”. In that case, just discard it. Or, do some research and train yourself on DISC. You won’t regret it.
But DISC isn’t the only profiling tool out there. Do you use one? Which one? And what practical benefits / use to you make of it?