We all have people with whom we communicate easily; instantly feeling a connection and rapport upon first meeting.
Then there are the other people. We talk, they don’t seem to hear or understand. And sometimes the more we talk the less they seem to listen.
Unfortunately, we can’t choose to work only with the people with whom we communicate well. This is particularly true of people in sales. If you want to make the sale you must be able to communicate the benefits of your product whether or not you feel comfortable with the other person’s communication style.
According to Susan Koval, a business coach and owner of Koval Associates in Perrineville, whether you see yourself as a “sales professional,” you will at some point be selling. It might be a product or service to a prospective client, or it might entail persuading your boss about a new idea or project. But you’ll be selling.
Koval will speak on “Selling to Different Personality Styles,” on Tuesday, November 25, at 8:15 a.m., at the offices of the Mercadien Group on Quakerbridge Road in Hamilton. Cost: $15. For reservations call at 609-392-8724 or E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a coach Koval finds that helping others understand their own personality and communication styles and those of others helps them to become better managers, leaders, and sales professionals. She became a coach in 2004 after a varied career that has given her a broad background in many different areas.
Koval graduated from Rutgers in the 1980s with a bachelor’s in engineering and has worked as a systems engineer and electrical engineer at telecom companies. She also has worked as a research engineer at Rutgers and a financial analyst for GE AstroSpace. Her love of working with young people led her to a stint as a science teacher at South Brunswick High School in the late 1990s. Coaching, she has found, allows her to combine all of her skills in planning, finance and teaching.
The assessment tool that Koval uses is called “DISC” — dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientious. “Of course everyone has a bit of all four types in them, but one characteristic is always most dominant,” she says..
Dominance. The dominant, or “High D,” person is very focused and action-oriented. This is the no-nonsense person who wants to get right down to business in any meeting and not waste time on small talk. They are people who deal with challenges actively and are often described as forceful, strong willed, determined, and aggressive. Many CEOs and entrepreneurs fall into this category.
Influence. The “High I” personality is just the opposite. These people are more social. They enjoy small talk and want to make everyone their friend. They influence others through talking and are often described as optimistic, enthusiastic, and persuasive. They care less about facts and more often make decisions based on emotion. They can often be found in service-oriented positions and make great customer service representatives.
Steadiness. The steady personality is more closely related to the High I. “These people are less outgoing, however,” says Koval, they like security and dislike change. Others would describe them as calm, relaxed, patient, deliberate, and predictable. They are the largest segment of the population. “They can be the hardest to sell to, but once you have them they are also the most loyal customers,” adds Koval.
Conscientious. The conscientious personality enjoys rules, regulations, and structure. They have much in common with the dominant personality; they are also no-nonsense types, but they also are more interested in details than the dominant personality.
“The conscientious personality wants to see all of the charts and graphs.” They are often described as careful, cautious, systematic, and tactful.
Clues to look for. Beyond behavioral traits, clues can be found by looking at someone’s surroundings. Is their office filled with family photos and mementos? That’s a good clue that he falls into either the steadiness or influence groups.
Problems can arise when a person of one personality type does not listen to the clues the other personality is giving. The High I person may see the High D person as cold and uncaring, while the High D may feel that his or her time is being wasted with chit chat.
That doesn’t mean that one of the people should totally bend to the other’s personality, she adds. A person who is aware he is dominant should make more effort to build a relationship when dealing with an Influence or Steadiness personality. In turn, people with those personality types may want to make sure that they have all of their facts at hand before meeting with a person in the conscientious of dominant groups.
Adapting your own personality style to blend your prospect, client, or customer will make it easier to work together or to persuade the other person to make a purchase. After all, “the definition of sales is to professionally help the other person to make a decision to buy,” says Koval. “If we really want to help the other person we should be willing to do whatever we can to make it easier for them to hear our message.”