Using DISC in the Sales Process


Use DISC and FinxS Sales Competencey Assessment to help guide you through the Sales Process.

A DISC assessment can be used to identify an individuals sales motivators, their reasons for making buying decisions and to help you close the sale.

Asking the right sales questions allows salespeople to uncover the true challenge the buyer is having, as well as the buyer’s deep motivations. Knowing which questions to ask can help you achieve the sale.


In today’s webinar, we’re going to look at selling using DISC assessments and the Sales Competencey Assessment. Some salespeople do well, some struggle, some have good weeks then bad months. Selling works best when salespeople understand it is a process. It’s a process that has to change to fit the product. You don’t sell a retail item like you sell a complicated software program. The more any sales manager or salesperson can see behind the process, the more they can control the sale and, of course, the more they can develop. Understanding the skills that drive a deal is the absolute key.

If you can understand the buyer clearly, concisely and understand your competencies better, you can then measure the issues that make up that process with more assurance. Then you can manage the process of development so much better. Today’s webinar touches on new strategies from everything from understanding to measuring and then managing specific sales skills obviously to a deeper level than ever before. So let’s take a look!

What is the Sales Process?

Here’s a stylised view of the sales process (1:43). I know that you’re all very familiar with the six or seven steps that are the usual that we see. I’m going to keep it nice and simple and manage three steps. So with any face-to-face meeting, email or phone call, there are always at least three aspects to our communication:

  1. The initial establishing of rapport, intelligence and empathy. That’s the section that moves the seller from the salesperson really to almost like a consultant.
  2. The second section is hopefully interactive. These are things like your clever questions, answers, suggestions, trial closers, and learning and uncovering the real needs and issues. 
  3. Section three is advancing the sale. It’s about closing, the next steps and the agreed action or follow-ups.

These factors are all part of the process. There’s the ability to speed read the buyer at a constant rate. Strong directional buyers can get annoyed with too much detail. Detailed buyers think sellers are pushy if they scoot around that very same detail, especially if they’re too quick at it. So the ability to speed read yourself is just as important. 

Using DISC in the Sales Process

Typically when you’re using DISC, there are these four steps that we follow. 

  1. Understanding the DISC profile types
  2. Increasing self-awareness and understanding our unique style
  3. Recognising the Buyers DISC profile type
  4. Adjusting/Modifying our style

Understanding the DISC Profile Types

Firstly, understanding that people do have different styles. Some are direct, some are more chatty, some sit quietly and observe, and some need detail and time to process. 

Increasing Self-Awareness

Secondly, the best salespeople are self-aware. They know their style or which sales-type they are naturally. They can adjust accordingly. People usually like to buy from people who are most like themselves. 

Recognising the Buyers Style

Thirdly, looking at your style and the buyers’ style more specifically makes it much easier to assess how to adjust. We use things like observations, assessments and then recognise where behaviours need to adapt. This is not always easy because sometimes you can be talking to someone who is your complete opposite, which makes it hard. But the more you observe, the more you are aware of your styles, and the other DISC style, the easier it becomes. 

Adjusting/Modifying our Style

The last one is the ability to adapt, and clever selling is included in this step. So, modifying the style to the person, you’re talking to.

What is the Best Sales Profile?

We all tend to emphasise a style, usually our natural style. There’s no right or wrong personality type for sales, but every style prefers a different type of selling. Let’s look at the more traditional categories that we all tend to know to refresh ourselves. So obviously, salespeople like hunters tend to be drawn to cold calling skills, new business and are usually results-driven. Farmer sales types are more concerned with relationship selling and collaborating, and growing the business. Customer service salespeople are generally excellent at problem solving and upselling. They’re excellent at listening and sorting out what to do next. Technical salespeople naturally depend on explanations, instructions and detail. 

Using the Sales Competency Assessment in the Sales Proces

With the new FinxS sales competence report, we can go even further into understanding all of this. The new FinxS sales competency report is not DISC-based, but it can pair with DISC if you need it. There are three report formats available with this tool, the development report, the recruitment report and a manager report. Also being released is the FinxS Sales 18, which combines the Sales Competence results with the DISC results for deeper insights. Today I’m going to be looking at two of them, the development and the recruitment report. If you look on the screen (6:55), have a little look at how it’s based, and I’ll carry on with the webinar. 

So the new sales competency report indicates areas in which an individual may need specific development. The thing to note is that this new sales competency report is not just based on DISC theory, so it’s an entirely different set of questions designed to deliver a result that can help strengthen and streamline sales development or learning. It takes around 20-30 minutes to complete, and there are 99 forced-choice questions. The assessment identifies strengths and weaknesses in 18 critically important sales competencies. The competency assessment measures attitudes towards those behaviours as well as experience. What does it mean? For example, someone may understand how vital a direct style close can be, but their attitude and using the style, is not apparent. So they may understand it, but they haven’t experienced using it, which the report captures. The report provides practical coaching tips and development plans, and they are dynamic depending on the person’s result. It goes further. The report gets right into sales person’s effectiveness. 

A person’s sales effectiveness encompasses their natural predispositions, attitude, and competencies, all captured by the sales competence assessment. The tool analyses a salesperson’s natural predisposition to a skill. Secondly, it then captures a readout on that person’s attitude or their thinking. We look at just how competent that person is currently. This report captures the person’s current thoughts and abilities, competencies, and attitudes, but of course, this can change. It can change with the environment, product or the project the person is selling on. These 99 questions consider these three things and provide a clear indication of exact competencies that might need to be developed and areas that can be developed that are matched with the type of sales the person is in. It also reveals aspects of job roles that the person might find easier and some that they might struggle with. 

As a sales manager or consultant, you can then take this knowledge of these results and know-how to go forward based on the results of the reports and the priorities you have defined. In a nutshell, it’s looking at these three different areas. It’s capturing information for you as a manager or a consultant to drill down on and look at where this person might need development or help. It’s very specifically aligned with what your product or your industry might be.

What are the 18 Sales Competencies?

Eighteen competencies have been identified as part of the sales process and the sales aspects. They cover critical issues like dealing with failure and handling objections, building rapport, presenting. There are also things like money concept and emotional distance. It’s not a zero-sum game, the result balances. If someone is extra strong in one of the 18 competencies, it may affect some of the other competencies if they are interrelated. So that also means that you have to be aware of how these competencies are constructed. As I say, it’s a very in-depth report that can really finger point where you need to develop someone.

Each of these particular competencies is, behind the scenes, made up of two to four sales mindsets. Specific mindsets also affect the competence score. Mindsets make up the competency scores, and we do need to know what a mindset is. So sales mindsets are how an individual identifies with their product and sales process, approaches solving sales problems and overcoming challenges. Mindsets can uncover self-defeating beliefs and attitudes and also discover obstacles to success in sales. Mindsets are weighted. Let’s say two or three of these make up one particular competency that we’ve just been talking about. One may have more weighting towards it. So as a sales developer myself, it’s really important to know what is in the competencies that make it up, and of course, you don’t need to worry as it’s actually in the report. The report drills down and down and down to very specific areas. By now, you can start to understand how you can help a salesperson improve in particular areas specifically related to what you need. For example it’s no use giving someone a huge amount of empathy when they’re just buying milk at the dairy. They can have wonderful empathy and they can do it very quickly but they don’t need to have a long-term relationship. So it’s important to define your type of sales. 

Matching DISC Styles with Sales Roles

When we use DISC assessments, we know that some of the styles tend to be more predisposed to shorter sales cycles or maintaining a long-term relationship versus a short relationship. This is important when looking to develop aspects of a salesperson and their current role. It’s sometimes not practical to develop long-term relationship skills when that person needs faster empathy, a short sales cycle and potentially a short relationship. This is where the new tool can be so accurate. 

The new sales competency pinpoints these matches. It’s got to be every manager’s dream – and looking at this, a system that can help target where to best concentrate attention and where not to waste time if the salesperson doesn’t need that ability in this current role. If you happen to be recruiting, the sales competency hiring report helps define this area and more. You’d think about your product in terms of needs, the cycle and the relationship to make it easier these combinations get put together as what we call defined job roles. By simply defining these three sales models and looking at the job roles this can help you select a better fit candidate as well, not just based on their DISC profile but right down into their current assessment of how their abilities are coming through. If you’re buying a pair of shoes you are likely to be fairly specific in what you like, what you need and what you’ll spend. That’s what we call an expressed need. But what if your product was customer service software? You know that many potential buyers don’t know how good a customer management software system can help their business. They know that they need it but they know little about it, so that would be a latent need. They know they need something but they don’t know as yet what quite what they’re looking for so. In addition, the show salesmen or the demonstrator needs to be polite and helpful, but it’s unlikely a long-term relationship for them. That long-term relationship will probably not be as critical as some of the other types of sales. I’m assuming they might be at the front end but they might hand it off to someone in the house if there’s any interest from people, so typically a demonstrator or a showman. However, the software salesperson may need many visits, clever presentation skills, to be able to sell at many levels with different people and constantly speed-read the buyer with great competency. 

So you can start to see that measuring the potential candidate as to their skills in building short-term or long-term relationships as well as things like the cycle and the relationship itself can be a defining factor and who you might match for a good job fit. 

Sales Job Roles

Again, the recruitment report takes these three models and combinations and can assess the different needs and produce bespoke job roles. As a sales developer or sales trainer, this kind of thing is pretty critical. I’m not just hiring someone that might be good with empathy or that can promote themselves in a certain way. Still, I’m starting to drill down on whether my customers have a latent need or expressed need and whether my product requires a short sales cycle or long relationship. By understanding what my product or service needs, you can relate that back to what comes out on their report as these different job roles. You can see on the screen (18:00) that eight different job roles are particular. The report also verifies which position the candidate might be best at. 

You can see the matrix on the slide (18:23). You can see that there are needs, the sales cycle and relationship type. The different combinations create different job roles. Let’s pick two examples. I know someone who recently purchased a top-of-the-range Volvo. It was a latent need initially. It was a short sales cycle consisting of two visits and a short relationship as well. So, therefore, that type of selling tends to be better towards the sales revealer type skill. You can see the latent need, short sales cycle, and short relationship at the top of the slide. Equally, I also know someone who has recently sold a year’s training as a Sales Director for that particular company. Their needs were specific, so very much an expressed need. The sales cycle was long, consisting of many visits and slow development. The relationship was critical and long, consisting of a lot of built-up trust and careful development over time. Therefore the skills associated with that type of selling tended to be towards the sales partner. These are just two examples, but you can see how cleverly the product helps pinpoint the ideal candidate or development if that’s required. 

So you can take this even further, and in their report, it spells it out for you. You don’t have to work it out. You can turn to this particular page (19:53) to summarise the job roles that are highlighted through the different combinations of those three sales models. So the report helps to define top roles that the person would find natural or potential roles that might need some development. It also contains marginal roles that the person can develop but may struggle and need longer to develop if they even need it at all. This slide (20:34) shows an existing skill or ability that this particular person has 82% match for a sales creator. A sales creator role typically consists of a latent need, short sales cycle and long relationship. You can see also that this person has a lot of potential roles and, in fact, seven different potential roles that they could develop a lot more easily. Currently, this person doesn’t necessarily have any marginal roles. They tend to have a top role and a lot of potential roles. The report shows that if you need a sales partner for your product, this candidate may not be suitable without in-depth support or development in that area. It’s not that they may not be suitable. It’s just a matter of knowing that actually, that might be a marginal role for them or that you need to put in a lot of support to help this person in that particular area. It’s a great and easy page to use, and it basically spells it out for us. So when you are hiring, this is a great page as you know what the person’s development needs might be. 

There’s no right or wrong in selling. There’s no right DISC personality style. There’s not necessarily a right person, right then and there, but with development, there can be. Some styles suit a different product, some styles of people suit a different cycle, like a long relationship cycle and short relationship. The new FinxS Sales Competency hiring report tends to point the finger right at an individual’s development style to get the best fit or determine that that individual might easily develop into the best fit. In summary, it identifies issues very clearly so managers or individuals can see how a candidate looks against a product need. It breaks skills right into base levels, so empathy drive, follow-up cold caller, attitude, experience etc. The process prints out an easy to understand dashboard, and that dashboard basically is the report. There are lots of great summary pages in the report, so you can go in-depth as much as you need or read the summary pages to help pinpoint the right sales development area. It goes even further, it also pinpoints mindsets, and that can be measured against competencies and evaluate clashes, strong points and urgent needs to develop. Mindsets are really important to consider when looking at a salespersons competence and abilities. Every product or service has disciplines associated with needs, relationships and cycles. This report evaluates how any salesperson might measure against that product, service or sales profile. So the effect of all, this selling as a discipline it’s a process. The more an individual can understand their style, the better it is. The styles of the people they might be selling to are so critical, and the needs of the product or service profile become critical now. The tighter the fit, the tighter any training can be. So for that matter, the tighter any recruiting can be. So the new sales competency hiring report is a powerful tool available from FinxS that generates usable and highly valuable information for anyone involved with development or hiring.