Buying Decisions of the DISC Styles: Why We Sell to Their Motivators


Continuing with our webinar series on sales, this month we discuss the motivators of the styles and how you can sell to these to influence buying decisions. 

Understanding how DISC personality types make different buying decisions is critical to sales success. Knowing your prospects buying motivators can really help you slant your pitch or sales speak. Understanding which styles likes to ‘be an early adaptor of technology’ and which one likes ‘guarantees’ might be what closes the sale in the end.

In this webinar, we focus on buying decisions as one part of an overall strategy to improve our selling style as a way to close the deal.

What are Buying Decisions?

We can increase the effectiveness and smooth out the sales process, specifically the closing phase, by focusing on the DISC buying styles. Understanding how motivators influence the DISC style buying decisions is critical. Many salespeople tend to focus on selling information about their product or service to potential new customers. Top salespeople might take it further and identify the best way to communicate. They will identify prospects pain points or their needs for using their particular product or service. I’ve seen some sell brilliantly by turning all this information around and selling the benefits to the potential customer. All of these techniques are important as part of sales training and sales knowledge. However, one particular area is often overlooked and not brought into the salesperson’s conscious mind enough. That is understanding how the potential customer makes their buying decision or, even more to the point, what motivates them to make their buying decision. Granted, this is not your everyday knowledge. It’s getting through to the psychology of sales and the consumer. If you want to take your sales to another level, you need to consider the DISC buying decisions. You’ll also need to get familiar with the why and how of the DISC buying styles. 

Why do we need to adjust our Selling Style?

Like anything, selling is a skill that improves with practice. It’s like learning a new language. When I lived in Holland, I picked up a few words and started to string them together to make a short, and many would say a weird sentence. Nevertheless, the more I heard and tried to use my Dutch, the better I got. When I came home, and no one was around me speaking the language, I started to forget everything I learned over the next few months. I didn’t practice. So, practice makes permanent. 

Sales skills are no different. It’s a conscious thought if you want to develop a new level of skill. It’s the salespeople who are continually developing their sales skills in this way that gain a competitive edge, and sometimes this means trying things out of the comfort zones or becoming conscious about new aspects of your potential customer. So, if you want to become aware of something, these are four steps we look at when learning awareness. 

Firstly we must understand the different DISC personality profile of our prospects. Who is out there? How are people different? Next, we need to know our preferred selling type, so we need to gain awareness about ourselves and our particular style. Then we need to identify the DISC personality profiling of our prospect. We do this by observing the prospect, assessing where those observations might fit, and then recognising their style. Once we have all that information, we can adjust our selling style to be more effective for our prospect. That means adjusting and understanding what motivates them, not us. 

Why Focus on the Decision Making Aspect of Sales?

There are a lot of different areas that we actually could focus on and using our DISC knowledge. So why are we honing in particularly on the decision-making aspect of the styles? When we sell, we are trying to lead the prospect to make a decision. Simple. This decision is not always about the ultimate final purchase, though. It’s to get them to make a decision or a step in the right direction. Forward progress. Nothing is worse than clients making no decision, and the salesperson is left floundering, not sure how to progress the sale, so it goes nowhere. This could be because the salesperson hasn’t triggered their motivators. When this happens, it can be relatively dangerous to the outcome of the sale. Competitors can get their foot in the door, and if they do a better job, it often seals the deal. I’ve often heard from companies with pharmaceutical reps and selling the same product under a different brand. The prospects decided to go with one over the other because they made the process seem easier or more straightforward to make their decision. It was more in line with what motivated that person to make a decision.

We tend to assume our prospects make their buying decisions the same way that we do. That’s why being aware of both your decision-making style and your prospects decision-making style is essential. After all, selling, as we’ve just worked out, is all about decision making. So, one of the most important things to keep in mind is how you can make the decision process easier for your prospect. Make it too complicated, and you’ll hear ‘I’ll come back to you on that,’ or ‘let me think about it,’ far too soon in the cycle. Make it easy for them, and you’ll keep them motivated to keep listening and asking questions. These are buying signals. 

For example, you might need a lot of facts. You might like to know all the details about products, see manuals, instructions, and evidence of how others have used it before buying. You might take longer to make what you perceive as the correct or right decision. Perhaps you’re a c-style person, someone for whom compliance rules and processes are essential. But, the prospect you’re talking to might need only bottom-line facts, short, direct bullet points of what’s in it for me (the WIFM), or the bottom-line benefits of how it’s going to help. They may likely be early adopters, so really, they don’t want to hear how others have used it successfully and certainly don’t want to see vast amounts of instruction manuals in detail. They want to get on and make a decision as they find forward movement very motivating. In their mind, your waffling. They can become frustrated as they feel they have to have to keep concentrating once passed their point of listening without contributing or controlling what they need to hear. So, this means it’s out of their natural comfort zone, and it suddenly turns into the ‘too hard to bother to listen’ zone. If this happens, there is a greater chance that you don’t progress the sale.

What is Motivation?

I use the word motivator or motivation in the last slide. So, what is motivation? It’s this that we’re trying to do successfully. We are trying to motivate and lead our prospect into being interested, engaged, and led down the sales cycle. We are trying to encourage them to make a decision that aligns with their motivators. They might feel they are missing out or are motivated to do something worthy for the team, so they get recognition. Or maybe it’s purely results-driven. There’s a vast list of motivators. One thing is for sure it really does matter how they like to be motivated to making their own buying decision.

So, back to the question, what is motivation? There are many descriptions of what it is, but in a simple form, motivation is why one has to act or behave in a particular way towards the desired goal. We cannot observe motivation itself. The only way we can see it is by noting the behaviours people choose to try to achieve these desired goals. It’s why we behave in a certain way at work and at home. It’s what drives us to do things like lose weight, go back to study, grab a glass of water, or hunt down a sale. I’ve created a diagram as it’s probably the easiest way to explain behaviours and what motivates us. It’s a very simplified understanding of what drives our behaviour. 

Once we enter a situation, we try to anticipate what we would like from that particular situation. We then choose the behaviour we hope will give us the right outcome or sequence. The consequences are what we expect we will experience as a result of our chosen action. As a rule, we do tend to shy away from repeating behaviours that see us receive negative consequences like punishments. Instead, we favour positive behaviours like that will produce rewards. However, don’t forget that what one person might see as a reward, let’s say public recognition; another might see as punishment. They feel highly embarrassed being in the public limelight. Again this depends on their DISC personality type. 

Back to motivators, when you understand someone’s DISC behavioural style, you can start to understand things like needs and likes. When you know a person’s needs and preferences, it gives you a real insight into their motivators and their positive motivations. 

Fears of the DISC Personality Types

I find it extremely important to consider the opposite, like some of the fears of the DISC styles. These are the opposite of what motivates them, so they naturally avoid these fears as they make them feel uncomfortable. 

Fears of the D Style

The D style fears losing control or viewed as a failure. Importantly they don’t like to be taken advantage of, so they’re going to have a strong personality with direct questions so they can ascertain whether they might have the upper hand. Vulnerability is not something they like to impart to others, so asking about their feelings is not something they want. It does not motivate them. 

Fears of the I Style

I styles fear rejection, so they’ll be interested in how others view their decision and how it impacts them. Conflict is usually pretty uncomfortable for them, so if you’re too direct to an I style, they may perceive this as conflict and begin avoiding you. Interestingly, the D style might see this directness as a strength and give you a big tick, but the I style might see it as a demotivator. Another fear of the I style is becoming insignificant, which can stretch to various aspects. Such as not being involved in a final decision or not gaining recognition for something. Either way, the outcome of this is they need to be liked by others.

Fears of the S Style

The S styles fear disappointing or offending others, along with things like unplanned change or instability. We see a catch-22 as they like to help others but fear being used or losing face. 

Fears of the C Style 

C styles fear criticism of their work or, worse, that they make mistakes. I’ve seen so many sales reps point out errors or criticise the person’s work, and it doesn’t get the sales process off to a good start. It’s why decisions take a C style a little longer than the other styles because they need to process and need to make sure it’s correct. They fear that they don’t have enough information to make these decisions, so you’ll often see them go and do more research even though you’ve given them everything that you have. 

If you know about the DISC personality types’ fears, it’s likely to set you apart from your average salesperson. It’s essential to understand what triggers the DISC fears and what factors contribute to their motivators.  

Factors That Motivate the DISC Types Buying Decisions

Let’s look at some of the disc types buying decisions and how we can include this in our sales pitch. 

Motivators of the D Style

Motivators of the D Style include the ability or things that help them achieve their goal, something like easiness and quickness of the sale or service. Often, rather than posting or sending out a D style an order form, I fill it out for them. I take it and do it and get it all sorted so that it doesn’t get left with them. Little simple things like that. Things that make them a pioneer or different from the masses, so being early adopters. D styles like to stand out. It’s an image thing. Building status, the possibility to win and the ability to buy quickly and move on, they love change. They love movement and forward progress. These will be your fastest decision-makers who say, ‘yes, let’s do that get it under control. Can you get that tomorrow?’ All of a sudden, you’re floundering, trying to get something organised. Other things that motivate D styles are things that make them look strong. They are risk-takers. Understanding these motivators and using them to your advantage in sales may move you a bit closer to obviously closing the deal.

Motivators of the I Style

I styles are people and feeling-oriented. A lot of their motivators are concerned with people, no surprise there! I personality types are about their influencing skills. Some of their motivators are that they need recognition and visibility from others. This is so important. Nothing like putting out an I styles flame by not giving some recognition when they’ve done something well. Like an innovative idea, maybe a project, or something like that where they need a bit of praise. They like being popular with people, and they also enjoy feelings and emotions. These are the type of people you ask, ‘tell me how you feel?’ or ‘tell me how you want to do this?’ I styles talk things out, and they like discussions. I personality types enjoy a feeling of belonging, so whether that’s teams or groups or feeling a bit of special VIP treatment from you as a rep, for example. They also respect things like testimonials and references. If other people like a product or service, they might feel they are missing out if they don’t use it. I styles enjoy fun activities and connections, and they love things like the ability to meet new people. Again these motivators can be the actual product or service or even the salesperson themselves, giving the ability to achieve these motivators. You can frame up your product what it can do or your service for what it can do for some of these, or it can be the sales rep putting this into practice. 

Motivators of the S Style

We know that S styles tend to find change and making final decisions difficult. So the motivators of the S personality type tend to centre on things like security and fairness. A significant issue for S styles is trust. They tend to ask themselves, ‘do I trust this sales rep?’ or ‘do I trust the product?’ Therefore, a good reputation can be a significant advantage in this area. S styles buying decisions are based on security or feeling safe, and how reliable are you as a person or the reliability of the actual product. If you are late for a meeting, this can compromise your trustworthiness in the S style’s eyes. Other things like proven or existing routines and systems are essential for the S style, also fairness and

justice. S styles are usually pretty big family-oriented people, and removing threats or uncertainty can motivate an S style. As a sales rep, if you can remove or validate any of their objections, you can progress them a lot quicker and further down the sales process. So giving them backup proof, evidence, warranties, and guarantees those kinds of things can help motivate an S style to make a buying decision. 

Motivators of the C Style

Motivators of the C styles include processes, details, and in general how things should be done. Things like logic and evidence are essential to the C style. I’ve seen so many reps not logically progress their C style prospects. They are a little unfocused, and they probably go from one thing to another for variety, but it’s not something that is the C style likes when it comes to buying decisions. C styles need plenty of information to make good, well-informed decisions. They want things like clear facts and details so they can tick off questions in their mind. Again things like factual comparisons and comparisons between product choices can motivate the C personality types. Studies, test results, proof security, safety, and things like clear instructions, if they feel that there’s a risk or feel that they might not know how to implement something that will also hold them up making a decision. 

It’s an effective sales strategy to look at some of the factors that motivate buying decision of the DISC personality types. When I was a sales rep for a large New Zealand company, I even had them in my pocket to remind me. 

In summary, there tend to be the primary motivators on which the DISC styles focus. It’s a pretty critical component to know about what motivates your prospect to buy. If you haven’t met them before, yes, you’ll need to learn to observe, assess, and recognise your prospect’s potential primary style. Doing this takes a bit of practice. I find it compelling that understanding the DISC styles’ fears because it plays a big part in knowing what not to do in selling to them. It keeps you on track, and it also means that if they react in a certain way, you can assess what path you’re on to see whether you might be triggering one of their fears. 

As a salesperson, you need all the edge you can get in this competitive world. If you bring in things like the motivators of the styles on top of all the different excellent techniques you have with sales, you can bring your selling to another level. Remember, the important thing is don’t assume your prospects are motivated to buy like you. Your prospects have their own set of motivators, and it’s great to tuck these up your sleeve. When I was in sales, I had some in my folder that I would refresh before going into a meeting or call. Even as I was going through the sales process, sometimes I would flick my eyes over and make sure I aimed towards the proper motivator and that I was on track. Maybe you can think about doing the same.

Thanks for listening, everyone!