Selling to Personality Types

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” -Sir Winston Churchill, Former British Prime Minister

Understanding DISC

The DISC personality profile is a system designed by American Psychologist Dr. William Moulton Marsden. It basically places people into one of 4 different personality ‘types’, being D – Dominant, I – Influential, S – Steady and C – Compliant. Below you’ll find a fairly detailed description of the DISC Profile.

General Theory

The DISC profile is an accurate personality analysis that can be used to predict the behaviour of individuals, when they work on their own and with others. It can help you to place the right person in your business, working in an environment that suits them. However the DISC is not infallible. It has its limitations. Where it can fall down is due to the fact that people are never just one personality. They are all a combination of the four, just in different ratios. Everyone is dominant in one. However another trait may be closely following it. The DISC test can show you the relative strengths you have in each of the four areas. The one that you score the highest in will be your dominant trait which will be the one that describes you best below. Where the information below isn’t always accurate is when you have become aware of your personality eccentricities and have moved to improve these traits. The higher the strength shown from the test for the personality the more the descriptions below will fit you. Don’t use this as gospel to label peoples traits. Use it as a guide to helping them and communicating with them. Everyone has weaknesses and this is meant to be a guide to them. If you are happy as you are then that’s great. If you read the traits below you will start to understand how other people think of you when they associate with you. Again this isn’t always true. With all knowledge should come wisdom which is knowing the best time and best way to use the knowledge and I hope you always remember this when reading and learning more about people.

DISC Under Pressure

Every person can change their nature under pressure. A high I can become a high S under pressure which means they slow down and think more, they become more reserved. A high I can become a high D which means instead of being friendly to everyone they can start to boss everyone around without much regard to their feelings. The people around them would think what happened to that friendly nature that nothing affected. A high D can go to a high C under pressure which means they will consider the details more and think more before making a decision. A high D could go to a high S which means they will steady themselves and slow down. They will consider the people around them more. A high S could even become a high D under pressure which means when they have to act and think quickly they will when placed under lots of pressure. They might start to become loud and bark out orders when normally they are calm, reserved and friendly. A high C could go to a high D under pressure which means they will think and act quicker, they will make decisions quick and not consider all the details. You’ve heard people say that they work best under pressure and this could mean they become a high D under pressure and get more done. Normally a high C wouldn’t change to a high I or high S under pressure or a high I wouldn’t normally go to a high C under pressure as these two personalities are so different. Often a person can stay the same under pressure. A high D can stay a high D. A high S can stay a high S and so on. Not everyone changes under pressure. You will know when someone does. It will be quite noticeable.

High I Personalities

High I’s like to have fun and be popular. You can recognise them by their outgoing very friendly manner and how they will be friendlier than other personalities. They want to be peoples friends. They will rarely tell anyone off. When they say something in anger they don’t want you to remind them of it again because that was in the past and they really weren’t that serious when they said it in the first place. High I’s don’t like to get into too much detail stuff as that isn’t fun. They like to work with others in a changing environment. High I’s can be recognised by their very friendly disposition. They look you in the eye and usually use a lot of tonal changes in their voice. They talk a bit louder than other personalities except the high D who can also talk confidently and loud. This is the mark of an extrovert which the high I and high D both are. The difference being that high I’s are loud and friendly. If you make a joke with either a high D or I who are both extroverts, a high I will respond and a high D may not. A high I will respond quicker because they think, this person is like me so I’ll let them know by giving them a friendly response.

High I Employees

They make good salespeople and get on well with lots of people, however they can be too friendly which annoys people as well. It especially annoys the high D’s. A high I prefers to work with others and have a bit of fun. Don’t try to stop them from enjoying themselves or they won’t hang around long. Let them work in a team and be a team leader (unless there is a high D in the group who will sabotage the high I’s authority). High I’s are good motivators because people will usually want to do what they ask because they are well liked.

High I Interaction

High I’s get on fairly well with most personalities. They can annoy the high C and high D because they’re task orientated and just want to get the job done, without being friendly while doing it. A high I can be seen as overly friendly by all the other personalities. They might say. “Mellow out a bit, you come on too strong and annoy people. Don’t be so friendly.” High I’s are good motivators and good team leaders although though won’t like pulling a team member into line if they have done something they shouldn’t.

High I Business Owners…. General Principles

As a business owner they will probably want to do what is popular. They can put up with people for too long without really telling them to get into shape. They like to do new things however, doing new things won’t appeal to them unless a few people tell them to do it and it seems popular. Their personality can cause them challenges in managerial positions because they won’t want to put people off or make changes that will make them unpopular with other team members.

Selling to a High I

To sell to a high I you need to win them over and be their friend. If you don’t show that you care about them or that you like them they won’t want to buy from you. You need to show that you have a sense of humour, are a fun loving person and that you are having fun talking to them right now. You can work on being a little bit stern but not too serious. High I’s want to do what seems popular. They don’t want to do anything that seems like detailed work that will take lots of their time. If it seems boring to them they won’t want it. The best line you can say to them is it will be a lot of fun. They will buy from people who seem to have the same nature as them. So be happy, be spontaneous and not rehearsed. Talk about other things apart from what you are selling them on. Get chatty at the start during the middle and the end of the selling process. They will sometimes want to go off on a tangent. Let them do most of the talking. They love to talk. They love to talk about anything especially other people. Be their friend and advise them on what you think and feel is the best for them. Be sincere. Be like them and they will love you. If you’re a high D don’t talk too much. Let them decide they want it and that it seems like a popular idea and makes sense. High D’s need to be friendlier than they usually are when selling to them. The best way to put it is that you can’t be too friendly with a high I. As long as you’re sincere. They are people people and so know a lot about people skills and they won’t like you if you are fake. High I’s are prone to exaggerate. They like to tell stories and you can too to sell to them but tell them if you are exaggerating.

Areas For a High I to Work On

High I’s need to work on getting the job done and not being distracted by other people. They need to be more task orientated. They need to get into the details more as this is what they don’t like to do. They need to be less extroverted with people especially high C’s and high S’s. When communicating with a high C they don’t need to be their friend which is what they believe. High I’s are a bit too friendly for the high S although the high S can see that aspect of them and not let it bother them. High I’s need to recognise that the other personalities are not like them and work on being more like them when they communicate to them.

High D Personalities

High D’s like to be in control. They want to be at the top and give the orders. They have a hard time following orders as they feel their own way is always better. High D’s will usually end up in managing positions, self employed or in charge of a section that has a bit of room to move unsupervised. They like to be in control of their own life and make their own decisions. High D’s can seem be too powerful or too strong for other people. They are confident, outspoken, say what they feel people. This can offend others as they can be thought of as arrogant. They aren’t usually, it’s just the way they express themselves. High D’s have active minds that like to be stimulated, so they like to be doing lots of things at once. When they do more than one thing at a time the quality can start to drop. It can be difficult for them to follow something to its end. They feel a great need for lots of activity. When you want something done in a hurry give it to a high D.

High D Employees

High D employees will like to be given responsibility and work best on their own. They like to have control. They aren’t keen on taking lots of orders or orders continually. They prefer to be given an outline of how to be productive and what’s expected of them then left alone to accomplish it. They won’t come back asking for the details on how to do something. When given a task to do with others they will assume the leaders role. They feel they need to take on the leaders role in a situation mainly because they feel more confidence in their own abilities than in other peoples. They always prefer to lead than follow. They prefer to work on their own or to delegate tasks to others. They start a lot of things and usually don’t finish them. They can start without really knowing where they are headed because they aren’t great planners or thinkers in details. They just want to get in and do it. They work well with high C’s because they are the ones to delegate the detailed stuff to. High D’s can sabotage authority because they don’t like being given orders, they much prefer to give them. They will always feel that they should be in control, making the decisions. High D’s are generally confident people because they have always been used to making their own quick decisions.

High D Interaction

A high D gets along the least well of any of the other personalities. They give orders and like to control which can detract from their relationships. An extreme example would be, a high I in a group situation can be getting too much attention in their opinion which they don’t like because then they’re not in control. A high D can sabotage a high I or undermine their authority and not be at all worried about it affecting their popularity. While the high I likes to have fun while working with a group, the high D isn’t that interested or at least not to the same level. Often a high D has a lot of high I in them, they just need to tap into it a bit more and they will get on better with a high I. A high D together with a high C work well . Neither needs to be friendly while they work, so they get in and get the job done. The two personalities compliment each other. High D gets on best with a high C. A high D likes to delegate and the best one to delegate to is the high C. However because the high D is not detail orientated and the high C is, a problem can occur. The high C will need lots of details on how to do something which the high D doesn’t like to give. Also a high C prefers to do the same thing over and over and do what they know how to do. That’s often how they get their significance and feelings of importance, by doing something perfectly. A high D and a High S. These two get along reasonably well due to the fact that S is steadying, reserved and tolerant of others. A high S doesn’t need to be given the details like a high C. They can just be told what to do and they do it. A high S knows that the high D likes to control others and doesn’t let it worry them. A high D doesn’t consider their mode of interaction, like needing to relay instructions with details for the high C, or with friendliness to a high I so the high S works best with a high D. A high D may think the high S is inferior because they mistake their natural reserve and steadiness with lacking in confidence. Often a high S has great self confidence, they just don’t need to display it like a high D. High D’s like confident people. They can relate to them better.

High D Business Owners

They can often be found being busy. They want to achieve, produce, get lots done, and work hard and long hours to make money. Sometimes they just don’t stop to look and see if they are really producing or achieving anything. They don’t slow down long enough to see if they are making progress. This isn’t true of every high D but many are like this at some level. In business they often don’t finish things. They like to be doing lots of things at once because their mind is active and needs to stay active. They can delegate but often don’t follow up to see if standards are met. They aren’t perfectionists unless they have a strong high C influence in their personality. They like to do a lot quickly, which sums them up fairly well. They can make good managers as they prefer to be told what results you expect and then left be alone to do the job. If a high C is giving them orders they will get irritated and bored as the high C will want to monitor their progress and give them lots of instructions on how to do it. A high D will often be started on the project before you finish telling them what it is. There are more multimillionaires that are high D than any other, mainly because they get in and have a go and just try something. And they keep on trying with great effort. They also don’t try to do everything on their own. They delegate.

Selling to a High D

High D’s like to be leaders. They like to do what no one else is doing. They like to be innovated pioneers. The best way to sell to them is to say, this is what you need to be more productive, profitable, successful and a leader of others. Respect them and never make them feel inferior. They need to respect the sales person. Most importantly, they need to be confident that you can deliver what you say. They need to be given the facts and reasons. Also don’t try and be too friendly with them. They will be wanting the short version on any features. They don’t need details, in fact going over details annoys them. Give a brief outline of different things showing the logic of it all. They want to be productive so tell them that what you have will help that cause. Tell them they will be more successful using your service or item. That’s what they want to know. Give them better solutions or ways to do things, be blunt if you have to, they don’t mind too much and they don’t care but only if they have your respect.

Areas For a High D to Work On

People skills and communication with others. Also slowing down and checking to see if they are making progress. When talking to a high C they need to give them lots more specifics. Also to the other personalities would probably like more details. They need to be friendlier to others they work with. They need to have a checking system on their progress and of how well they are doing things. Are the things completed that they start and if so how good is the quality. They need to stop, plan and think more before they start and also as they are going along.

High S Personalities

High S’s are steady people. They don’t to rush things, while everyone else is stressing out they’re calm. They like to plod along, think things over before doing anything and don’t like to make quick decisions. They are well liked by all personalities because they are friendly easy going and basically harmless. People admire their cool disposition. They just get in and get the job done although usually not at a great pace. While the high D has started, going flat out on it without knowing if they are doing it right, the high I is getting all their friends together so they can all get involved and have fun. The high C is planning every detail meticulously before they make any start and the high S is thinking it over for a fair while and makes a slow start. Not rushing just plodding along.

High S Personalities

They are good team players. You can get them to do anything and they are happy doing it. They prefer to work with others but don’t really care if they are on their own. They are the personalities that often you can’t figure out. They aren’t as forward as the high I but they are definitely friendly. You’ll see that in their eye contact. While the high C will hold eye contact their gaze isn’t with the same interest and warmth as the high S. They laugh easily and like to be with people. They make great sales people but usually only if they are already warm to being in selling. They have a natural good rapport building ability. High S isn’t that critical of other people like a high C or High D can be, or if they are they don’t tell everyone. If you need a sales person a high S can be very good but only if they want to be a salesperson. They have a big challenge with selling if they aren’t already in sales. They often feel like they are being unfriendly by asking for people to buy or by using closing lines. It is very hard for them to change this attitude as they resist all changes in their life. Change comes to them slowly and steadily and usually only when there is much reason to. A high D will change in a blink compared to a high S.

High S Interaction

High S get on well with high D because they probably understand them and it doesn’t worry them when the high D gives orders. Because the high S is calm they are a help to the high D. High S can plan out things which is a help to the high D. They slow the high D down which can be both good or bad. High D and high S often end up marrying.

High S and High I

These two get along well. They are both people orientated. The high S is a calmer more reserved version of the high I. The high S might say to the high I, mellow out. You come on too strong, you’re too friendly. While the high I will say, get a bit more life in you. They both have fun in life or try to. The high S has a high concern for others and tries to understand them. When a high I works with a high S they can often get carried away with having fun as they’re not as task orientated as the high D and high C. The two usually won’t get as much done as the other two personalities.

High S and High C

High S and high C are both introverted. They both like to take their time in making a decision. They work well together although they won’t get a task done as quick as the D’s and I’s. They will think about it for a while. The high S will feel there’s no need to rush into it. The high C will agree because they will want to consider all the details before they start anyway. The high C will be planning it out perfectly before they start and if it’s taking too long to start the high S won’t say too much because they like to keep the peace. However the two personalities will get a job done well together and it will be done right.

High S and High D

These two get a job done well and compliment each other. The high S will bring the high D’s feet back down to earth and steady them. The high D will speed up the high S’s decision making which is sometimes needed. The high S admires the high D’s leadership ability. While the high D admires the high S’s steadiness although not always. The high S is reserved while the high D is outgoing. So they learn from each other in different situations.

High S Business Owner

The high S business owners will often plod along, not making drastic changes. Doing what they know how to do. Not rushing anything. They don’t make quick decisions. They feel there is rarely any need to rush decisions or anything else. The high S will like to take time to get around to doing anything. They have their own pace, steady. They can get in and work hard just like anyone else, as long as they don’t have to make any major decisions or do anything that needs them to change personally. The high S likes to work with others and considers their view usually. They are a team player and like to have a good atmosphere at work. They will often employ other high S’s, high C’s and high I’s however a high Dcan get on their nerves sometimes as the high D likes to make quick decisions and get some action happening which the high S often isn’t that keen on. There can be a clash of interests with a high D and these two are opposites. It is extremely rare to find a high S-D personality due to their major differences. One is introverted and other isn’t. One is task orientated and the other is people orientated. A high S can employ a high D to their benefit as a team leader when they need a person who can take control. Then they are an asset. A high S likes to keep the peace and get on well with everyone which can stop them from putting people off. Or keeping them on longer than is necessary, or tolerable to others.

Selling to a High S

They are harder to sell to than the high D or I. They like to be steady in their decision making. They don’t like to rush anything so they like to take their time in making a decision. They don’t like pressure or pushy people. You need to be their friend and build genuine rapport with them. Be reserved like they are. Be casual. Outline what you want them to buy then give details as well. Give them data to make a decision and tell them they need to make a decision soon. Don’t expect quick decisions though. Explain at the start that if you can give them everything they want and expect today, and you both agree it’s the best thing for you then you’ll outline the steps to get the process under way. Then say is it okay if we do that? Get them to commit to making a decision today at the start if you can. Sometimes a high S won’t make a decision at all on the day. If that is the case be aware that it often happens. So give them some time and get back to them the next day and say you will contact them. Be firm in wanting a decision soon or today but not pushy. Be reserved like they are. High S doesn’t like change so tell them your product won’t involve any major changes, it will all go together very well. Tell them it’s a nice slow process, if you can. Give them plenty of eye contact. Build rapport, be their friend.

Areas For a High S to Work On

High S needs to work on changing their ways quicker. They change in time, however they will do it least of all the personalities. A high D will change before you finish telling them why they need to. To a high I change is fun. They like change because they like variety in their life. A high C won’t usually change much at all. It’s because they have just finished learning how to do something the best way and so now they want to keep doing it. They love getting in a routine and staying that way. How can you achieve perfection in anything if you don’t stick to it for ages? High S’s need to practice making quick decisions and not looking back once they have made the decision. They need to realise that often a quick decision is better than no decision at all.

High C Personalities

The high C is interesting in many ways. They have a tendency to collect data , facts and figures. They can often stutter their words when describing things, possibly due to tension and also because they are thinking, what is the perfect way to describe this? High C’s often stutter more than other personalities. High C’s like to do things very well, in fact perfectly. However they don’t reference their standards to others which would be valuable to them because then they would learn that their standards are much higher than everyone else’s. They often create stress in their lives by this ongoing striving to live up to their own perfect standards. They can miss out on seeing the big overall picture as they can get stuck on the details. They want to work on their own because they feel they will do the job the best. They think that other people won’t do as good a job as them. A high C is reserved and task orientated which means they aren’t that friendly in communication with other people especially non family and friends. They like to give lots of data when they communicate as they feel this is what people want and they are helping them that way. They can have high levels of stress in their body due to rarely living up to their own standards. They like to have many details before making a decision. They virtually never rush into anything especially not without considering all the facts, data and graphs first. Then they like to think more on it. They don’t like to be pushed into doing things as they feel that their way is nearly always the best way. They like to plan things out before lifting a finger. Conditions usually have to be perfect before they proceed.

High C Interaction

High D and High C

High C’s compliment a high D because they are virtual opposites, one is introverted and one is extroverted. The high C is reserved while the high D is outgoing. Both are task orientated. The high C gets self satisfaction and pride from doing things for others because they know they can do them well but usually only when they know how to do it already. If the high C doesn’t know how to do what the high D is asking there can be problems. The high C needs to be shown a lot of details on how to do something. The high D isn’t into to details so a communication problem can occur. For this paring to work the high D needs to explain in more detail how to do the things that they want done.

High C and High I

A high C and high I are an interesting combination. They can work well together, although they can often have troubles. When they struggle in relationships it can be due to their opposite nature. A high I is extroverted, while a high C is introverted. A high I person is people orientated while a high C is task orientated. These traits can cause a lot of conflicts. The high I will say or think that the high C is spending too much time on unimportant stuff. The high C ,may think the high I is airy fairy and doesn’t work on what is really important. The high C will want the high I to be less friendly and more task orientated while the high I will think the opposite. As a working combination the two are good for each other if they can put aside their differences. The high I will stop the high C from being introverted and get them to have more fun and work with others. The high C will bring the high I back to earth and get them working of the details. As a combination in business they can work well.

Selling to a High C

Selling to a high C can be challenging. A high C can be very skeptical of anyone that says they have something that they’ll need, because they often feel that what they already have is good. They can often resist change because they have their own way of doing things. They won’t consider making a buying decision unless the facts are shown, are valid and there are lots of them. Be prepared to spend a lot of time with them. They will ask a hundred questions and procrastinate because their mind is thinking, have I covered every detail I need to know about? They will be cautious of sales people. Mainly because they have found how to do things without anyone’s help and a new system will mean they need to relearn. They’re much happier doing what they already know how to do. They aren’t overly friendly like the high I and high S. You can’t just tell them that they need your item like the high D. They only want one thing, data. So give them as much data as you can. In graph form, table from, written form, essay from. You can’t give a high C too much data to consider. They like to justify by logic. They don’t care if you are their best friend or seem to be. They always consider the facts first. Don’t expect a high C to make a quick decision. They like time to think. So give it to them. Talk about facts backed up by logic. Get back to them another day only if you say I’ve given you everything you need to make a decision so can I call you tomorrow at… to see where we are at. They are confident in their own abilities and are used to relying on making their own decisions. They will talk confident because they have a lot of knowledge and are proud of it. If you tell them you have a way of helping them do things better and more efficiently you will get their attention and possibly the sale, eventually. Anything that improves their standards or efficiency they will love. Say to them, you’ll be able to do … even better with this.

High C Business Owners

The high C business owner can get themselves into stressful situations. They often want to do a lot of tasks in the business themselves because they have higher standards that they feel always need to be adhered to. They feel they do things best so they should do everything. The high C likes to make a better mousetrap and works on building a better one instead of marketing the one they already have. To them perfection is the only way to make money. They forget that you can have the most valuable, efficient product in the world but without selling skills and good communication they won’t make a dollar. The high C can get caught up with working on the appearance of the store, or perfecting the accounting system, or having the best most efficient sales registers and none of these will really make them more money. They can sometimes forget about finding out what the customer really wants because they are more task orientated. Most people in business do this though. Instead of finding out exactly what the customer wants then selling it to them people want to give them what they know about or like. The high C can get caught up in doing the menial things in a business instead of working in it and dealing with the customers and building a relationship. The high C needs to work on relationships more with their customers and also their team. The employees happiness plays a major part of a business success and the high C can forget to do team building. High C’s need to work more with people and enjoy themselves. They should get in high S’s and high I’s or even high D’s to improve things. A high I can help to make them focus on people more and have fun. A high D to be more productive and get more things started each day.

Areas For a High C to Work On

Their own standards can be too high compared to others. They can be stressed people due to their feeling that every thing that they do needs to be perfect which is the standard that they always strive for. This can come from the fact that they don’t realise that their standards are already far above anyone else’s. They need to get someone else’s opinion when working on a task and accept their standards as good enough. A high C needs to strive for excellence, not perfection! Most high C’s think they can do a better job and often they can. But usually the standard that a high C always wants to work to is the minorities opinion because everyone else acknowledges excellence and stops working while a high C keeps on going to perfection. High C’s need to stop at excellence. They need to work more with others to get used to others level of excellence and then accept it as their own new standard. A high C needs to be more confident in their approach to making decisions and not fear making a wrong decision. After all high D’s make a lot quicker decisions than a high C ever will. High D’s far, far outweigh high C’s in the listing of most successful people. So high C’s need to get in the habit of making quicker decisions so they develop better stronger emotional muscle. A high C needs to do things that are new or different. They need to get out of their schedule. Throw it away for a day. Do something spontaneous. Do something on the spur of the moment. Do something because it looks like fun. They need to say to themselves, change is fun. Change is good. I need to be more spontaneous. They need to get more help from others and allow others to give their input. They need to ask themselves, is this the most important thing I could be doing right now. Will spending the time doing this perfectly really benefit me or others or should I say, this is excellent, what can I do next? High C’s need to move on more. Get involved with people more. Open up. Tell others what you are feeling more. A very wise man once said, vulnerability is strength, because you open yourself up to change and improvement. High C’s need to be spontaneous more often. Take on more things like a high D does. They need to do more things at once so they don’t get stuck on details which aren’t always important.

Get More Information

Understanding Graphs – Natural and Adaptive DISC FAQs Communication Styles