There are two basic approaches to selling: selling a product or selling a solution. 

In my experience, selling a solution will generate more sales and cultivate more valuable, long-term relationships with your customers.  

The key to successfully selling a solution is to clearly understand the prospect’s problem.  

We do this by asking pointed questions and ‘actively listeningto the responses. And at One of a Kind Sales (OOAKS), we also train our salespeople to identify and match the prospect’s communication style so we can connect and respond more effectively.  

We use a tool, called a DISC assessment, to help team members determine the buying styles of prospects so that they can then adapt their communication style to match that of the buyer. 

The DISC Model 

The DISC Model was first introduced in 1928 by William Moulton Marston, a physiological psychologist with a Ph.D. from Harvard, in his book Emotions of Normal People. (1).  

He identified 4 profile ‘types’:

D = Dominant
I = Influencer
S = Steadiness
C = Conscientious 

Dominant Type – They typically have fast-paced speech and a strong personality. They tend to think in terms of the bottom line and often have a quicker, more impulsive decision-making style.  

To improve communication with “D” types: 

  • Don’t dominate the conversation, listen more 
  • Create a situation to give them a win 
  • Ask specific, targeted questions and don’t waste their time 
  • Keep a fast pace to match theirs 
  • Give direct answers without a lot of “fluff” 

Influencer Type – They are friendly and talkative. They typically enjoy interacting with people and like chit chat. Influencers respond well to testimonials and hearing about benefits in an upbeat, positive way. They tend to be less detail-oriented and focus more on the big picture.  

To improve communication with “I” types: 

  • Be friendly and animated with your conversation 
  • Ask for their ideas and opinions 
  • Applaud and compliment 
  • Don’t dwell on the details 
  • Provide personal stories on how other people have benefited from your solution

Steadiness Type – They are patient and easy-going. You can identify these individuals by their reserved, indirect, but people-oriented approach to others. They typically have a deliberate and methodical decision-making style and may resist change or anything they perceive as a risk.  

To improve communication with “S” types: 

  • Don’t pressure them to make a decision quickly 
  • Listen patiently and take time to explain 
  • Speak with a sincere tone of voice 
  • Discuss the process

Conscientious Type – They are methodical and deliberate. They tend to focus on the details and are primarily concerned about doing things the “right” or “correct way.” This buying behavior style can be skeptical and is often concerned with analytics and the effects of change.  

To improve communication with “C” types: 

  • Present data to back up claims about your solution 
  • Avoid asking too many personal questions 
  • Slow down and answer questions precisely 
  • Involve them in planning 
  • Be conservative in assertions

Use a DISC assessment to identify your prospect’s ‘DISC type’ and adjust your approach to achieve better sales outcomes. 

Tools to help 

There are many DISC based assessment and insight tools available. I use the Crystal integration for LinkedIn. I find it helpful, providing me with personality insights before I meet with prospects or clients. There are others out there as well – find one that works for you.

Control What You Can 

As salespeople, we cannot change or control the prospect. They decide if they want to purchase or not. But we CAN control our communication style. It’s our job to adjust our style appropriately. If we can help make the prospect’s decision-making more comfortable or easier then we can gain their trust, establish credibility, and keep the sales process moving forward. A win for everyone! 

For more Cold Calling tips, see my post Cold Calling Success Tips – The Tone of Your Voice is Key

Want to learn more about how to use assessments like this to get better results with YOUR prospects? Give me a call at 908.879.2911 – we can show YOU how to effectively and successfully connect with YOUR prospects!


Note: this post was originally published in 2018 and updated in 2021.