Increase Your Influence, Increase Your Sales
Selling is everyone’s lifeblood whether they realize it or not. We all sell in the sense that we attempt to convince others to go our way. That is the way that we want something to go whether we are convincing our children, our coworkers, bosses, spouses, clients or customers. Here's how you can be more influential.
There is a style of convincing others, influencing or “selling” for everyone. Understand we are using the term “selling” here very loosely. I bet many of you are saying, “I don’t sell people. I hate that!” Although this may sound like it’s about sales, it really isn’t. You’ll understand shortly but indulge me for a minute. There are several types of popular styles of selling: relationship selling, non-manipulative selling, pressure selling, what’s-important-about-that-to-you selling. Whatever approach and philosophy that works for you is fine. Actually, we’re not trying to change your personal style of selling. But if we can give you additional insight to influencing others regardless of who they are, would that be helpful? “Yes.”
Let me ask you, when you really connect with someone, isn’t that a wonderful experience? When this happens, you connect with them and feel closer in a shorter period of time then with someone else you may have known for years. What happens here? You click, connect, have great rapport, and there may even be chemistry between you. You know you are being heard and listened too. Wow, isn’t that wonderful when it happens! Wouldn’t it be great if we could increase our opportunities to connect with each other in general? It can be done.
There is a universal unspoken language based on observable behavior. What that means is, we can see the behavior just by watching others. We look for tone of voice, pace, body language and words used. These are the clues that help us to identify how to communicate better with that person. Research has shown that behavioral characteristics can be grouped together into four quadrants or styles. People with similar styles tend to exhibit specific types of behavior common to that style. A person’s behavior is a reflection of who they are naturally. According to William A. Marston, “All people exhibit all four behavioral factors in varying degrees of intensity.”
This model categorizes how we act. Nothing more. It is simply used as a tool for more effective communications between people. Sound good? You bet.
In all the cultures studied, the model has been found to be valid. All cultures have people who are outgoing, expressive and animated. All cultures have people who are more cool, aloof, introverted and analytical. Ask yourself, is this person people-oriented or task-oriented? Are they an introvert or an extrovert? Because you can learn to see the answers, it is observable. It is a universal language because it has no cultural boundaries. Are you intrigued?
You’re probably saying, that’s all great but how does this apply to me getting my way? Oh, we are so self-centered at times. When you are getting your way, I trust it is for the benefit of all who are affected by the decision. Because what we are talking about is not for self-centeredness, manipulation or control.
Any time we have greater understanding of ourselves, it provides us opportunities to make the best of an interpersonal communication process. That insight provides a solid foundation from which to move forward. If we know we have a particular habit that may interfere with the communication process; we can work on improving how we communicate. For example, if we know we are not the best listeners in the world, we can work to improve our listening skills. If we tend to come on too strong for some people, we may choose to tame it down in those situations. When you know yourself, you have the choice to modify your own behavior so the other person can be ready to hear what you are saying. Let me repeat that, this is a very important point, “When you know yourself, you have the choice to modify your own behavior so the other person can be ready to hear what you are saying.” Again this is not about manipulation or controlling others; it is taking control of ourselves! It is about you having a true desire to be the best communicator you can possibly be. The goal is to communicate on a level so the family member, coworker or customer can relate to what you say. When we communicate in a manner that is appealing and open, the person is more likely to feel connected to us and understand and be open to what is being said by you. The results are better communications for everyone’s benefit. Not only will it improve sales; the benefits will spill over into all areas of communications in our personal and professional lives. Many of us need improved relationships with our family, friends, and customers, do you? Just simply having greater understanding of the communication styles is a big step. We know we really can’t change others, only ourselves.
Some of the benefits of learning this universal language are gaining commitment and cooperation, building more effective sales teams, resolving and preventing conflicts, gaining endorsement, increasing sales, better time management and having better family interaction. W.W. Tornow & M. London says, “Self assessment can motivate change. Fear of self-knowledge can prevent it. However, feedback results that are verifiable, predictable, and controllable are difficult to deny. It is important that the recipient be ready for feedback—that is, be able and willing to accept it and to do something with it that will result in change.”
Now that you understand what we’re talking about, let’s look at the four styles we have been referring to: DISC, D = Dominate, I = Influencer, S = Steadiness, C = Compliance. In simpler terms, it addresses how we handle problem solving, how we influence people, the pace in which we do things and our willingness or possibly unwillingness to follow rules and procedures. A person whose strongest style is a “D” is ambitious, forceful, decisive, direct, independent and challenging. A strong “I” style is expressive, enthusiastic, friendly, demonstrative, talkative and stimulating. A strong “S” tends to be methodical, systematic, reliable, steady, relaxed and modest. The strong “C” is analytical, contemplative, conservative, exacting, careful and deliberative. We all exhibit some of each of these four styles. Most of us have one or two of these styles that are more prominent then the others. When a person is identified as a Dominate, one who likes to solve problems, you can direct the sale in a way to help the customer solve their problem of making a decision or a purchase. Ask questions to provide insights and answers as to what they want to accomplish with this purchase. The high D is a greater risk taker. Show them something new and different. When communicating with them be clear, concise and direct. When someone is an Influencer, a people person, you’ll want to allow time to build rapport with him or her. Don’t be afraid to chitchat. Talk about things other then business to break the ice. Too much detail and technical information will overwhelm this person. Give details when they ask for it. Show them unique, unusual and designer options. Be creative. Help them to visualize and image how their friends will react when they see it. A Steadiness person is not one to make quick-on-the-spot decisions. That is unless they have done considerable research and shopping already and know exactly what they want. They hate to be pressured and will not be pressured. They love stability and harmony. They tend to be very loyal. They appreciate strong relationships and relatively low risk situations. Assure them of your guarantees and that it’s risk free. Inform them of your return policies. When you have provided them with the knowledge they want; they will want to go home and think it over. They will come back. Know that 40% of the population falls into this category.The Compliance person is one who likes rules and regulations and likes lots of information. They like details and more technical types of presentations. Show them supportive materials that provide back up and validation to what you’re saying. Pull out the professional industry association brochures to show them supporting statistics. Give them a brochure or a business card with your name and phone number for them to refer to later.These are just a few of the ideas that can be used when you understand the four basic behavior styles. It is worth an investment of time and resources to learn this easy universal language. When you use it, it will increase your bottom line! A simple questionnaire, and subsequent report will provide the necessary insights to your behavior styles. With a little training and practice you can learn to observe these styles in others with 85% or more accuracy! The beauty is that it is simple, easy and observable. And best of all, it is fun, will increase your personal effectiveness and your “sales.” “Seeing is believing” is true here.
Copyright 2005 Eln Albert
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
An expert in Interpersonal Communications, Eln Albert works with those that want to be at their best when influencing others. Eln is a Professional Speaker and Author.For more information on how to be the best influencer as a parent or a boss go to http://www.ElnAlbert.com. Check out other articles by Ms. Albert and subscribe to get her free The Magic of Influence e-newsletter. In addition, she also offers numerous free articles and free team building exercises.