The one thing I’ve learned that I use every minute of every day is that to be successful in sales the seller must understand and align themselves with their buyer’s view of the world. What problems is the buyer trying to solve and why? How does the buyer envision the solution working in their world. What goals is the buyer trying to achieve and how are they going to measure success, both personally and professionally? And so on…
Only when we look at what we’re doing from our buyer’s perspective can we really help them, and insure they become a customer in the process.
So back to the title question. What is the best sales advice or training that I received that I still use? Easy answer for me. At the very start of my selling career I was fortunate to be working for a company that believed in extensive training for their reps and managers. The training that I received early on was was the DISC personality training that helped us understand which personality type we were ourselves, and, most importantly, how to best interact with the other three types (according to the DISC world). DISC is still around and what I learned from them back then still helps me literally every day.
Their process defines four personality types (the descriptions are my words, not necessarily theirs):
- Dominant (D) – very direct and focused, goal oriented, doesn’t waste time and prefers a head on shortened approach, tends to be skeptical
- Influence (I) – similar to Dominant but with more a relationship/social focus, prefers more conversation versus less, tends to be accepting
- Steady (S) – likes things to run smoothly, at a moderate pace, without big surprises
- Conscientious (‘C) – similar to Steady but more analytical and logical, keeps to themselves more
The most important thing from this training for me was understanding by the way someone talks and acts, which personality they likely are and then leveraging the best practices on how my personality trait best deals with theirs. For example, I’m a “D” with high “I”, if I’m dealing with another “D” I know to pivot more to the “I” traits than the D traits. “D” to “D” without this understanding tends to be too much head butting.
I leverage this process that I learned so long ago every day when I’m speaking with potential clients, when I’m prospecting, when I’m teaching, literally all the time. If I remember it was only one day of training but so far it has lasted me a lifetime.
Especially as I weave this personality intel into my normal ValueSelling Framework based sales cycles. ValueSelling as you probably know is all about the seller taking the perspective of the buyer and helping them solve big challenges and problems by leveraging your company’s unique capabilities. These discussions go much better in my world once I clearly understand the personality trait type of the person I’m conversing with, it also goes better for them.
So now the question is to you, which sales advice or training has had the longest staying power and been the most impactful for you? Please share in the comments below!
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