Not sure if you’re a Walking Dead fan? If not, here’s the quick summary: Zombies have taken over the world and the living are forced to survive by whatever means possible.
In a scene from an episode I watched recently, (I’m a season behind, so no spoilers here) one of the primary characters, Maggie, enters a room to “negotiate” a potential trade deal between two surviving communities – this one has food and Maggie’s has weapons. As soon as Maggie walks in, the leader of the other group starts talking about the painting on the wall and what a great community “he” has put together. He then moves straight into negotiation mode, but as far as he’s concerned, there is no negotiating. His community has food and claims to have no need for weapons, and therefore believes he has all the leverage. And he’s not shy about letting her know it.
Can you imagine?
Imagine walking into a scenario like this in your world. One of the first things you’d hopefully recognize is where this guy falls on the DISC personality profile chart. He’s clearly a D – dominant, confident, straight to the point, etc. If I had to place Maggie on the chart, I’d say she’s an S (which, just so happens to be me, too). We are steady, supporters, and we focus on relationships – not exactly the perfect match for the D on the other side of the room!
In Sandler, we’re taught to modify our approach based on where our prospect falls on the DISC chart; but, honestly, I’ve struggled with “selling to the DISC.” I have always felt like I have to change who I am in order to connect with the person who’s in another category…like I have to “become” a D if I want to relate to a D.
But, now I understand that I can sell to the DISC without selling out on ME.
It’s only taken me five years, but I think I have finally realized how this is supposed to work! To effectively communicate and connect with someone who has a different personality type than myself, I don’t have to change WHO I am; I just have to change HOW I respond and HOW I lead my prospect through the Sandler Selling System.
I can still be me. My identity remains intact. My goal is still to understand the prospect and uncover her needs, challenges, and pains. It’s just my HOW that changes.
In the end, the leverage turns.
Let’s go back to the Walking Dead story. Shortly after the “meeting,” this guy’s community comes under attack (its weakness is revealed), and its “pain” becomes evident. Maggie maintains her S personality, but capitalizes on the situation. At the end of the scene, Maggie says, “You see, I have leverage.”
Don’t ever change who YOU are.
The DISC personality chart is definitely a tool that should be understood and utilized. But, YOU are YOU, and that should never change. Just the way you respond to others – that’s the only thing that should ever change.