The idea of being able to pick up on clues to someone else’s communication style and use that to adapt your communication style can seem insincere to some. Like you aren’t being true to who you really are.
This came up recently and it wouldn’t be the first time, nor will it likely be the last time I’ve heard it. The intent here is to listen to and focus on the other person so that you can effectively communicate trust. It is a necessary skill to be able to build relationships and be successful.
Behavior Assessment Tools
I first came across psychological assessments like DISC and Myers–Briggs when I went back to college as an adult. I took a lot of accelerated classes to be able to get two degrees in less than four years. My first accelerated science class was in biology. On the first day of class, the professor went over the syllabus with us and gave us our first homework assignment- a DISC and Myers-Brigg assessment.
When we came back to class, most of us were excited to hear how we were going to use these test results. One student asked our professor, "How do you use these results to better teach us?" To which he replied, "Oh- I don’t use them, they are for you to use. These results are for you to adapt your styles to the syllabus and MY teaching style. There is one of me and thirty of you."
The lesson I learned in that class had nothing to do with Biology, and all about how I could use this in all of my other classes. Understanding the personality of my professors and their communication style was a major factor in my success in college. It was also a major factor in being able to tutor some of my peers.
It's Not About You
So it's not about changing or pretending to be someone you aren’t. It's about being aware and adapting to the environment you are in.
But it is more than that. It’s about putting others first. It’s about going into your conversations with the understanding that it is #NOTABOUTME.
As Robin Dreeke, Counterintelligence Expert and Author of the Code of Trust wrote- “You can not deal with people effectively unless you know how they see the world.”
To build trust, do NOT treat people how you want to be treated- IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU! Speak to, and treat people, in the way that they want to be spoken to.
First Step In Being Trustworthy: Inspiring Trust
You see, building trust is first about being trustworthy, but second, communicating in a way that inspires trust in the first place.
Which brings us to the next question that was brought up- no one trusts salespeople and no one wants to talk to them. Which is true. My hypothesis is that the reason for that is that most salespeople are talking all about them, in the way that they are comfortable with, regardless of who they are speaking with.
So how do you start changing that? First, as with any change in behavior, you must develop the awareness. Here’s what I did.
When I started my first grown up business (not counting the babysitting jobs or yard sales growing up), I went through some DISC training. I would carry around a business card sized brochure that had the basic DISC profiles on it and read through it in the parking lot of the next networking event I was about to go into. At the event, I would try to identify who had what style, and then I interacted with them accordingly. I did this nearly everywhere I went- the grocery store, waiting in line at the movies, talking to the waitress at the restaurant, chatting with the Uber driver when traveling, hanging out with my friends and even my family.
Then later, as I went into more online communications and virtual relationships, I continued to practice on everyone around me. When interacting virtually, it is a little harder since the only clues you have are the words they use, but it can be done.
But here is the point- you can easily become aware and test and practice with everyone around you.
Now, if you are like one person on today’s call who said, “But how come I can do that with others around me, but when I get into a sales call, I act totally different?” Remember that context is king.
That is where these personality tests fall short - context.
How you behave in social situations and sales situations may be totally different depending on whether you have certain strengths.
For example, it could be that you become emotionally involved in the outcome of a sales situation and aren’t able to be as present as you should be, so you are missing out on those important cues that buyers give about how they want to be spoken to.
Or it could be that your need for your prospect to like you, or think you are super smart, that is getting in the way of asking the questions you know you should but can’t seem to in the moment that you need to.
Here’s my $100 tip for you:
Create your own awareness. Get an objective evaluation on your own sales strengths and skills (I have a tool for that). Also get a DISC Assessment, or Myers–Briggs aessment. Read up on what your results means as well as what the other types are. See if you can identify the different personalities in others around you. Practice changing up how speak to others based on their style.
Oh, and buy Robin Dreeke’s book. Read what he says about direct and indirect communicators, as well as tasks or people oriented communicators. It will help you understand those around you more fully so you can speak to them the way they want to be spoken to.
If you find you are still having trouble in a sales situation with it, book a time on my calendar to talk about that.