Unlock Sales Success with DISC


Learn how Extended DISC® profile can be used to help your sales team discover their DISC selling style, how they can identify & understand their customers buying styles, and how they can adapt their style to suit each customer’s needs.


Sales is always a big topic, and it always gets a lot of people’s attention. There are so many different aspects to sales, and I don’t want to overwhelm you with it all. So we’re exploring a few parts today. We’re going to have a look at: 

  • The four steps of DISC
  • The buying motivators of the DISC styles 

We all know that sales professionals tend to be reasonably well trained in various techniques like prospecting and opening and closing statements. However, I always feel that no matter how long you’ve been selling or how successful or good you are, you can always do with more refreshing or more knowledge about the sales interaction. Why? Well, because the art of sales is forever changing. One of these ways to revisit or update knowledge is to learn to bring DISC theory into the selling steps a lot earlier than you think. You can do this by focusing on the DISC styles, and this means you’re focusing on your customer’s interactions and needs, and that’s important. However, you can take it far further than just the beginning part. You can take it right through the cycle to help increase sales growth

Why Use DISC in Sales?

Why use DISC in sales? I get asked this all the time. Using DISC profile types can help us better understand our preferred way to interact and our prospective client or customer. How can it do that? Well, we all need skills that help build rapport. We need to quickly understand and communicate with our clients and prospects at a level they’re engaged and comfortable with. If we do this, they’re more likely to listen to us, and we can close the deal in the right way for them too. We can use the DISC tool to enhance all of these goals and more. 

The Four Steps of Using DISC in Sales

DISC explains how we do things. When we talk in terms of selling, DISC helps explain how we sell. Once you understand the basics of DISC theory, you can apply it in all areas of your communication and interactions. These are the same four steps to effective communication that we use with the DISC communication styles. For this webinar, I’ve reframed the steps for the context of selling.

The first step is to understand that there are different behavioural styles of prospects and clients. It sounds simple. Once we know how people are unique in a neutral and non-judgmental way, we have a framework to understand who they are. We cannot use the same selling style for everyone and be successful every time.

The second step is obviously to have a clear understanding of our DISC selling style. Our style affects how we sell, so we need to have good confident self-awareness. In addition, to knowing our sales style, we also need to identify our least comfortable sales style. A lot of people forget to do that. For example, if an S style is your least comfortable style, meeting an S style prospect will be the most challenging and consume the most energy. You will need to be focused and practice and prepare. Many people are so aware of who they are and who their prospects might be that sometimes they forget to practice the styles that are difficult for them.

The third step is understanding how to identify the sales prospect. You can do this in three levels. 

  • Level One, Observing: When identifying your prospects DISC profile, look for regular behavioural patterns. With which style do the patterns associate? How do they say things? Observe their body language and listen to their tone of voice, their pitch and speed. 
  • Level Two, Assessing: Now that you’ve observed their behaviours, you can assess their primary DISC style. Are they more task-oriented or people-oriented? Are they more introverted or extroverted? Or could they be a combination of types meaning they are comfortable across a range of styles? Which makes it a little easier for you as the salesperson. 
  • Level Three, Recognition: Recognising the DISC style that they could be, or their combination style, can be pretty easy once you get to know the background or learn some of the expected behaviours or the body language of the DISC profiles. Sometimes with recognising the DISC type, you have to pick one and go for it. You can always change it differently down the track if you feel it’s not working.

The fourth and final step is adjusting your selling style to interact effectively with your prospect. If we can interact and communicate so that another person can connect with us, the situation will likely run more smoothly. The mutual understanding might be more explicit, and you might have agreed on actions that are a lot easier for you. The interaction can lead to a very successful closing of the deal. Remember, any time we modify our behaviour, we will need to prepare in practice, especially when we tend to be under pressure in the selling. On that note, I wanted to address this, one of the most significant challenges that salespeople face when selling is the pressure. The salesperson usually feels the need to connect with the client to make a good impression and close the deal. Knowing what they have to do increases the pressure that a salesperson is feeling. When you’re under pressure, it becomes a little more challenging to modify your behaviour as high emotions tend to divert us from being quite mindful of how we behave. Intense emotions, including pressure, are the enemies of behavioural modification. Be aware of how you tend to act under pressure, think it through, think of better ways to modify your behaviour and then practice. In sales, so many people believe that they can roll the modification out easily. Like anything, it takes a little bit of practice. It’s a technique. If it’s not your natural sales style, you have to modify your behaviour to someone else, which takes a bit of practice.

Which DISC Profile is Best for Sales

Which of the DISC profile is best for sales? There must be one style that is better than the others. Well, actually, no, there’s no one best disc profile for sales. Anyone can do anything they put their mind to and apply learning behaviours, soft skills and techniques to be better salespeople. However, a salesperson has more natural traits in their makeup that help them be naturally comfortable with certain types of selling. Again some more natural characteristics of salespeople match specific types of selling. 

Remember that there is a vast spectrum of sales styles when looking at the DISC diamond. From hunters with their natural comfort to deal with cold calling and finding new business, right to the farmers who tend to be great account managers and customer service agents due to their ability to listen and build rapport and empathy. Furthermore, sales also encompass selling technical products or services, and for that, people need the ability to explain using facts, details, logic and instructions. So, no one style is best for sales, only traits that naturally fit particular sales types. As you can see on the slide (8:55), we can see that some characteristics match specific types of selling. Such as:

  • Solution Architects: These are your C/D styles. They are logical, disciplined, critical and system developers.
  • Hunters: Hunters are your high D styles, and they tend to be goal-oriented, competitive, direct and pushy
  • Inspirators: These are your I/D salespeople. They tend towards sales of ideas, influencing, charismatic, dynamic, focus on the big picture. 
  • Showmen: I styles are typically your showman sales style. They are the master of networking, very spontaneous, social, quick-witted and visible. 
  • Colleagues: Colleagues are your I/S sales style. They’re friendly, and their sales style is more emotional and based on relationship building. 
  • Farmers: High S styles embody the farmer sales style. They take care of others, are heartfelt, calm and supportive.
  • Specialists: Specialists are located in the CS style quadrant. These individuals are very balanced, inquiring, solid and can be pretty quiet salespeople. I’ve seen some of the most successful salespeople come from that area. 
  • Experts: High C styles are your typical expert sales style. They are precise, systematic, and official.

Selecting the best DISC sales profile is about fitting the type of sales with the industry product or service and matching that with some natural traits of the different DISC styles. In your FinxS account, you can produce a shotgun map and see where everyone fits on the diamond to enable you to identify their natural sales style. The sales and service assessment also does this for you.  

You can see the sales axis on my slide (10:45). Understanding the sales axis was vital for me when designing a sales team or developing individuals or groups. It gave me an excellent understanding of what might be more comfortable for my salespeople or where I perhaps needed to support a person more through training. The slide outlines the types of selling, lengths of the sales cycle, and the different DISC types that could be a bit more natural at selling tangible or intangible products or services.

To reiterate, I’m not saying that any of the DISC styles can’t mix and match and be good in different sales areas. I’m an I style, and I’ve worked in technical areas providing lots of information throughout the sales process. I had to learn it, and I had to concentrate on it, but I certainly could do it. I’m just pointing out here the tendencies for a natural fit between the DISC personality types. Let’s have a look at the DISC Types and their ideal sales fit.

D personality type: The D style is a good fit for quantity selling, tough competition, direct one-off selling, and price competition. If you think about what motivates the D styles, they love the challenge, leading, and having control. These types of selling suit them. 

I personality type: The I style is a good fit to new product sales, selling abstract products, relationship selling and new account opening. The I styles thrive on people connection so they can easily connect with people. They are also able to sell the benefits of a product very well. 

S personality type: The S style suits traditional and familiar sales and long-term processes, which means they can cope with a long sales cycle and follow up and keep with it. They don’t expect to make a sale right then and there. In comparison, the D and I styles prefer a short-medium selling cycle. The S styles are also great at serving an existing customer base. They excel in customer service post-sales.

C personality type: The C styles suit selling things that are well tested and have background and logic, and proof. They excel in technical selling because they can harbour vast information and logically provide it to clients. They tend to find themselves selling in niche markets or selling very niche items, products or services.

Assuming Rather than Assessing

One of the things that salespeople do tend to do is assuming or the good old autopilot. Salespeople often presume too quickly or make general assumptions that can get them in trouble. For example, when we’re meeting an engineer, we may assume we’re meeting a C style prospect, and it’s true we find many engineers who are C style, but many of them are not, so it’s best not to assume. It’s best to observe and process like those four steps that we talked about before. 

Another assumption that people make is that people make buying decisions the same way you make them. People have a very different way of making buying decisions. So to actually find one that makes it the same as you will be unique, but of course, we can try and categorise them as much as possible to make it easier for you to learn. You need more information and observation before you can decide how your prospect might buy, but you can be prepared. We must try and avoid autopiloting in our behaviour. Salespeople have comfortable ways of doing things, but those don’t always work with every prospect. We have to get out of our comfort zones, and all of this is about awareness; this takes discipline, preparation, and practice. In long term work relationships, we have the opportunity to fix things when something goes wrong. However, when we sell to a prospect, we often have one chance and one chance only. Let’s look at the buying motivators of the disc styles. These are some of the most important things that you can remember. They help you shape the whole sales interactions or enables you to shape the content in all sorts of things. 

DISC Style Buying Motivators

Let’s look at tips for using disc profiles and selling utilising the DISC style buying motivators. 

The D Style Buying Motivations 

When it comes to the D profile prospects, we know they are decisive and fast-paced. Indecisiveness and inefficiency irritate and frustrate them. Try not to get in the way of the sale by giving too much information or impede their decision-making process. D profiles want to be in control, so it’s essential to have them feel in control of the sales process. D Styles tend to test you as they want to determine if you’re up for the challenge. Otherwise, they will lose respect. Stay toe-to-toe, earn their respect and close the deal. You can see on the slide (16:46) I’ve done a quick summary of some of the buying motivations, and they include things like:

  • the ability to have or use things that help them achieve their goals
  • easiness and quickness of the sales service as they don’t like a long-drawn-out process 
  • things that make them a pioneer or a bit different and help them stand out from the masses, so we dub them early adopters 
  • building status or image 
  • possibility to win 
  • ability to buy quickly 
  • something that makes them look strong or a bit of a risk-taker 

These are their buying motivators and what they enjoy about the sales process that they would enter. 

The I Style Buying Motivations 

I style prospects are very different from D styles. When it comes to selling, the I profiles like to make decisions based on their fear of social rejection. They will consider how buying decisions impact their status with others. The I profiles are not detail-oriented, and I think sometimes we forget that. I styles are also highly optimistic. They may have every intention to buy from you at the moment until they meet the next salesperson, and then they forget. You need to secure their commitment to the buyer or potentially lose the sale. As I styles are very people-oriented or feeling-oriented, many of their motivators are concerned with how they interact. Here are a few motivators on the slide (18:28).

  • They need recognition and visibility from others. 
  • They like popularity being popular with people helps them to decide to buy. 
  • They enjoy feelings and emotions, and they like to discuss them. So, part of the sales process should ask them how they feel about something and discuss it. 
  • They enjoy a feeling of belonging to groups, so that makes them feel included. 
  • They respect testimonials and references. They enjoy reading them because it makes them feel that others have recognised what they need to do. 
  • They enjoy fun activities. 
  • They like the ability to meet new people.

These motivators can be about the product or service, but it often comes from the salesperson bringing these types of motivators into the sales cycle. 

The S Style Buying Motivations

The S style prospects make buying decisions based on the impact of those around them. They want to make the right decision for everyone. They will also want to talk over the details with someone before making the purchase. As a salesperson, you can be supportive and patient and even become their sounding board. We know that as a general rule S styles tend to find change and quick final decisions challenging. They need some time to process everything. So, their motivators tend to centre on that feeling of security or fairness. On the slides (20:10), I’ve put up some of their buying motivators that would help in the buying process.

  • A significant motivator for them is trust. A good reputation can be an advantage in the sales process.
  • Security or feeling safe.
  • Reliability of you as a salesperson or of the product so things like warranties guarantees where experience. 
  • Proven existing routines and systems so that others have gone before them and they found it satisfactory. 
  • Fairness and justice. S styles are very principled, so fairness and justice are big motivators for them.
  • Family issues is a big buying motivator for the S style.
  • Removal of threats or uncertainty, things like guarantees or case studies, can work well.

Taking these motivators and engaging and selling to an S style can be fun. Remember that you also need to slow down a little bit, be patient and engage with them.

The C Style Buying Motivations

The difference between the S profile prospects and a C profile prospect is that the S tends to make buying decisions based on its impact on others. However, the C profile wants to make the correct decision. They do not like to purchase the wrong product or service. They do not want to regret their decision or have others identify them as the person making a mistake – that’s their fear! Therefore they want to have as much information as possible to make the most informed decision. Regardless of your style, you must decide if you can be patient and prepared with facts and information to close the deal. We know C styles love logic and information, so the key is to be ready with questions that they might ask you and have patience. Some of the motivators for the C style are things like:

  • logic and evidence
  • plenty of information to make a well-informed decision
  • clear facts and details so they can answer questions in their mind
  • factual comparisons between products can motivate them
  • studies and test results
  • security and safety
  • clear instructions

Understanding DISC and selling is an additional skill that you can use to increase your sales proficiency. Like anything else, you need to be self-aware and practice. So many tend to use it at the beginning of the sales process to assess and identify potential customers DISC style and build rapport, but then they forget to use it through the sales process. DISC should never really leave the conversation. Always be mindful of your DISC style but remember the same is true for your prospect. Their DISC style will always be present in the sales process. For example, keep DISC in mind when it comes to looking at the:

  • money exchange
  • moving forward 
  • making the final decision 
  • closing the deal 
  • follow-up and post-sales 

Think about how each of the DISC styles would like those things to be rolled out. One of the best ways to be more effective is to learn the DISC buying motivators. Those alone will help you adjust all your interactions, including the content of what you say and when. If you know what motivates them, then that certainly can make the whole process a lot smoother. We know sales is a competitive field. To be a great salesperson, you need to put effort into developing your skills because if you don’t, someone else will. 

Sales Competency Assessment

So we’ve introduced the buying motivators which are vital to grasp. We’ve also discussed the types of sales cycle and different industries. Those are important to learn and take with you because they fit into everything we do regarding sales. As you can see on the slide (25:33), a new sales tool called the sales competency assessment is coming. You’ll learn more in June, but it’s not a DISC profile tool. It’s got 99 questions and analyses your sales skills. It digs into a very in-depth result, and it’s based on the development and mindset of sales. So please keep a lookout for this. It’s going to be a game-changer for sales development.