There are over 20,000 books listed on Amazon that have something to do with sales and psychology; it’s an easy book market to write for. Because we know that decisions are made emotionally. And because people are always looking for an easy way to make more sales.
For those of us who know that selling requires a great deal of effort, we mostly want to understand why people do what they do; why DO people buy?
Sales Short Cuts
Is there a short cut that will help you persuade buyers more quickly and easily? There are a lot of programs out there promising to help you do just that if you just follow steps 1 through 6 (for example), but I believe they’re mostly a bunch of nonsense.
But what about the personality testing programs that declare they can help you understand how your buyer wants to communicate? Could there be something in that? If selling is really about service, how can knowing how your buyer wants to communicate and what is important to them NOT be helpful?
DISC and BANK Personality Tests
The DISC system is really about how people communicate and how you, as a salesperson, can adapt your own communication style to best reach another person. In simplistic terms, adjusting your words, behaviors and tone to fit how others receive information.
Behavioral traits or tendencies are defined on two continua: a prospect’s motor drive (or pace drive) and the compass, or priority drive. How outgoing or fast paced are you? Conversely, how reserved are you? Do you talk more slowly, move more slowly and make considered decisions? This is your motor drive. The compass drive indicates whether you are more task oriented (focusing on logic, data or results) or more people oriented (focusing on experiences, feelings, relationships). Take a free DISC test.
The BANK system is similar, but focused more on predicting a prospect’s buying behavior. The BANK website suggests they have reverse engineered proven buying triggers for each personality type to help you, as the salesperson, propel your sales into the stratosphere.
Prospects are asked to arrange different groupings of values in priority/preference order, with the results indicating how they like to receive information, what is important to them, and what is likely to trigger a purchase. These images are from the BANK website, where you can complete your own personality test.
Do DISC and BANK Get Results?
Is there anything to these systems? If you can really understand each individual prospect’s preferred communication style and buying triggers that would make selling a whole lot easier!
Lauren Membreno, Independent Sales Director with Mary Kay, has found the DISC system to be helpful both from a sales point of view, and also when recruiting and training her team. “When I am closing a client, I can usually guess her DISC style from how much she talks, how she responds to "tell me a little about yourself," how personal her information is, and how decisive she is. If she is a C, for example (Cautious), I may reassure her that I will be providing step-by-step instructions for using the skin care set. If she is a D (Dominant), I may keep information brief and to-the-point, telling her I have products with me and asking her what she may want to take with her that day.”
Which sounds like a good salesperson truly understanding what her client needs and wants and delivering exactly that.
It's what we should all be striving for.
I don’t use the DISC or the BANK systems, but I can see why someone might find them useful. Anything that will help you better understand and better serve your prospect has to be a good thing all around.
I would, however, caution against a reliance on systems like this overriding your own intuition and experience. People are complex, and it’s unlikely that a quick assessment of tendencies is going to get it right 100% of the time. To be fair, neither are you, as a salesperson, but I have personally found these system tests difficult to complete. I don’t fall into their easily defined boxes (either that or I’m woefully self un-aware!), and perhaps that’s why I’m able to easily and intuitively work with people of all types. Or perhaps I’m missing out on a lot of sales opportunities because I’m not communicating effectively or reading buying triggers correctly. My conversion rates would say otherwise . . .
If you've used either of these systems, either successfully or unsuccessfully, let me know. I’d love to hear about it!