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Can DISC Personality Profiling help win more clients?
Tanya Ces Maneiro explains the benefits of DISC
An interview with career coach Tanya Ces Maneiro of Vida Coaching
As a Marketing consultant, I'm naturally curious about human behaviour. So I was interested to find out more about DISC Personality Profiling and how it might be applied to sales and marketing to win more clients. I interviewed Tanya Ces Maneiro of Vida Coaching, who specialises in career transitions and work-life balance to learn more. I asked Tanya about the benefits of DISC Personality Profiling and how it might help teams work together more productively.
Below is an edited transcript of our discussion.
Prefer to listen? To listen to the full interview, grab a cuppa and listen in to our unedited conversation on Vanessa Hunt Consulting's channel on YouTube (20 minutes).
Tanya and I welcome your comments on the subject of DISC Personality Profiling here or on YouTube.
Vanessa Hunt: Thanks very much, Tanya, for your enlightening feedback on my DISC profile.
Could you explain what DISC Personality Profiling is, for those business owners who haven't already heard of it?
Tanya Ces Maneiro: Sure. DISC Personality Profiling measures behaviour. In the 1920s, a psychologist called William Marsden developed the theory that behavioral characteristics can be grouped together in four major groups, which spell the acronym D-I-S-C.
Marsden said people with similar styles tend to exhibit specific behavioral characteristics that are common to that style. All people share these four styles in varying degrees of intensity. Some have them in stronger intensity than others.
The acronym DISC stands for the four personality styles, represented by the letters:
D which is like dominance or a driver
I which is influencing or inspiring
S which is steady and stable and
C which is correct and compliance
These dimensions are shown in the chart below:
Vanessa: Fabulous. And yes, it was interesting to discover I was rather high 'I'!
So, recently, I read the book 'Reading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything' by Ann Bogel. She writes that some people resist personality frameworks, because they say frameworks put them in a box.
How do you think personality profiles like DISC can help business owners?
Tanya: Yes, some say it can put people in a box - and I understand their concerns. But it's just one tool to help people understand more about themselves. And people I've worked with have found it really useful to get to know and understand themselves. Soon you start to notice things in other people - your family, your friends, your co-workers.
For me, DISC is about helping you work more effectively with other people, by understanding yourself and others better:
- You're able to communicate more effectively because you understand how other people like to communicate. So you can avoid conflicts with others.
- You can ensure you recruit the right people into your team, because you know who you need in the team.
- You can also lead more effectively, because there are DISC leadership profiles where you can learn more about your personal leadership style, and that can be really helpful.
- You can retain staff longer in your organisation because people are happier since there's less conflict and they're working more effectively together, because they understand each other better.
Vanessa: That all makes sense. You've mentioned before that DISC profiling could be a quick method for recruiters to pre-qualify candidates for jobs.
In your experience, how reliable do you think DISC is as a pre-qualification tool?
Tanya: It works really well. One HR director I spoke to, used DISC in their organisation and they improved sales by 20 percent, simply recruiting sales people who were a better fit in the organisation.
I always stress that it's just one tool. I'm not saying it's going to solve the world's problems (unfortunately!), but people perform better when they're in roles where they're a good fit and where they're also a good fit for the culture of the organisation.
DISC allows you to find out the personality traits of the individual and it can uncover ways that the individual reacts to challenges or how they like to behave in a team situation. So it helps you understand if they're going to fit into your team. It also helps the candidate integrate into their job better, learn more about themselves and what they're good at and maybe recognise the areas they need to work on to perform the job to its full potential.
Vanessa: That's really helpful, Tanya.
Another challenge we've discussed in the past is how difficult it is to target people with sales and marketing messages that resonate with them. The marketing content that works best nowadays is personalised and dynamic.
Do you think it's possible to adapt marketing messages based on an individual's DISC preferences?
Tanya: For sure. People are using DISC to improve their website content, as well as for individual marketing campaigns.
If we think about a 'C' profile, they like a lot of detail. A 'C' likes to read up a lot about a subject before they come to a decision about whether they want to buy the product.
So if you want to target that kind of person, you know you need to include a lot of information on your website. Companies tend to include bullet points on the Home page, which will be more impactful for a 'D' personality, who likes short and sharp content. They just want to quickly read something to get the main idea. But then it's also advisable to have click-throughs to other areas where individuals who want more detail can find as much information as they want.
So you're making sure both types are satisfied with your website content. That's one example of how you can use DISC to ensure everybody's needs are catered for.
Vanessa: Absolutely. Different profiles will also have preferences in the way they're sold to. For some people giving them a lot of information would be really useful, for others it might just bamboozle and overwhelm them! So understanding somebody's profile is important.
Do you have any specific advice for sales or pre-sales people about how they might flex their own style for each of those DISC dimensions?
Tanya: Yes. If you're selling to a 'D', they like short and sharp information. They're quite decisive, so will make a decision very quickly and don't want a lot of waffle or a lot of information thrown at them. They want to know exactly what you're trying to sell, what it's all about and then they'll make their decision. They're quite direct individuals, so they'll make their feelings fairly well known.
With 'I' personalities, like yourself, I think you need to make it fun, and have a laugh. They like to chat and build relationships with people. So it's all about listening to the 'I'. They often have a story to tell, so making sure you listen to them is really important. Have a fun, chatty conversation with them and they'll appreciate that.
'S' and 'C' types are more reserved and far less keen to be sold to. So you have to be more careful. You should expect them to want to go away and think about it before making a decision. A 'C' will have researched the product or whatever you're selling, and they'll have lots of questions they want to clarify. So be prepared for quite a long conversation going into detail about it.
With the 'S', they don't like to be pushed. And they don't like to be really sold to. So it's about building up that relationship. They are more reserved, but they're still very people orientated. So it's about listening to them (because they're generally very good at listening to other people). If someone listens to them, they like it. So take time to really build up that relationship, and give them time and space. Don't be pushy. Be more relaxed about the sale.
Vanessa: That's really important. I think sometimes a lot of people sell in the way they'd like to be sold to. They don't necessarily adapt their style to the buyer.
Tanya: I think that happens in many areas. We behave with other people how we like people to behave with us. So if you're a very personable person, you're very chatty and like to build up great relationships with people. But there might be people who are a lot more reserved and just don't chat as much.
Vanessa: I'm sure most of us recognise such traits in some of our colleagues and customers as well.
As a business owner myself, learning I'm high 'I' helped me identify the type of team members I need in my team to support my business and to do the things I'm less inclined to do myself.
What do other business owners and leaders say are the benefits of going through the process of DISC Personality Profiling?
Tanya: It really helps with teams in larger organisations. It helps managers understand their team better and how they can get the most from team members. Rather than behaving the same towards everybody, they can flex their style to get the best from the whole team.
I've also used it with new teams or where there's some sort of conflict or the team’s not performing well. When everyone gets to know one another a lot better, you see where some of the difficulties lie. You can open a conversation about how to improve the situation. Sometimes people think others are being difficult, and actually they're not. They just behave differently and sometimes we don't understand those behaviours because it's not what we would do. So it's a really good way to share how each side sees things.
It's also been helpful for franchise owners. When you've got your own franchise, it can be useful to find out what the best personality profile is for somebody that you're working with as a franchisee, to try and recruit similar styles of people. Because sometimes if you're selling a franchise, people can be really good at the particular job of the franchise, but maybe they aren't so good at the business side of it. Or vice versa, they might be good business owners but not so good at the softer side of whatever it is that you're selling. So it can be quite useful for that. And we've talked about sales and how it's helped people with that.
I've also used it with business owners who are looking to up-scale the business. They're looking to drive the business forward, but there are some pain points there, and they're trying to understand how they can manage these areas. Often it can be us as business owners that are causing the block sometimes, because of things that we could do differently, but it's hard for us to take a step back and say "Oh, maybe I need to get someone on board to do this part because that's not a strength of mine. Or maybe I could deal with the situation from a different perspective because I usually do it like this, but… oh and – actually, look, that's what my profile says I usually do. But maybe I could just change and do it slightly differently and see what happens." So it can help business owners push things forward in their business.
Vanessa: Excellent. Tanya, it's been really useful to hear the benefits and practical ways you can implement DISC within any kind of organisation, regardless of size.
How much time does the profiling process take for an individual or for a team?
Tanya: It's an online profiling tool, so the individual completes the questionnaire online. It only takes 10 minutes. Then I have a one-to-one with the individual, generally by phone. I tell them more about DISC and go through their profile in more detail. This usually takes 45-60 minutes. Finally I send them the report (about 28 pages), so they can read up more on it. And obviously if they'd like more coaching afterwards, I can also provide that.
With teams, I would generally profile all the team in that way. Then I would deliver a half-day training session, to help team members start working through the areas that need attention.
Vanessa: Fantastic! I see there are many applications for sales and marketing, but I also see applications for when I'm training people. I'll be able to anticipate how an individual's learning style might be different because of their DISC personality.
Finally, what's the best way to contact Vida Coaching for more information on DISC Personality Profiling?
If you'd like to hear to the interview in full, listen to Vanesa Hunt in conversation with Tanya Ces Maneiro.