Updated: Aug 27, 2021
Which question have you asked yourself in your lifetime. I think I have asked all of them at one time or the other.
Why can't I seem to get that promotion in my company or any other company?
Why can't I gain more customers/ market share?
Should I open my own business?
Why isn't my business growing?
A bigger question is: Is THIS where I thought I'd be at this point in my life?
Let's look at what could be holding you back, This is for your self reflection.
How long does it take you to decide whether someone is attractive? Science says just 3 seconds.
One of the first things we teach is "Knows Yourself"!
If you want to know what you are like, just look at who you choose to invest your time with. If you want a promotion, ask yourself ,if those you spend your time with are hanging around with people who could promote you. Most people ignore that at their own peril. If you are in Sales this is critical for high end sales positions.
If you are starting a small business, would your target customers, potential employees, bank Presidents, suppliers be the type of people you have as friends? More importantly, would they be friends with you?
You are going to spend a lot of time with them, and they will determine your level of success.
It used to be Who You Know, Today it's ‘Who Knows You’ and how would they describe you when you're not around!
People like to be around people they are comfortable with, people they believe are trusted business partners and subject matter experts or will be. Especially when they are challenged, they will call someone they like and trust. Cost is less of an issue for someone they count as one of their "Trusted Business Partners". They may be different, but they appreciate the differences because they complement and care about each other. That takes understanding, respect and appreciation over time.
Second thing we teach is “Know Others!”
Do you have the knowledge and skill for Reading and Understanding Communication Styles ("Behavioral Styles") of your family, friends and colleague to be seen as a trusted partner, trusted business partner and subject matter expert? Someone they can communicate with comfortably?
A friend and client who was a CEO once said to me " I only want to consider hiring people I look forward to seeing every morning".
Strong, Healthy enduring relationships are the key to a happy and successful personal and professional life.
You can improve Effectiveness of Relationship building by Assessing and Understanding Communication Styles before you Communicate and before you need relationships.
Third thing we teach is “Know How To Control Yourself” (EQ/EI)
Yes, Finding the RIGHT PEOPLE in your life to build those STRONG, ENDURING RELATIONSHIPS IS KEY to a happy and successful business and life in general. Your ability to communicate with the right people depends on your ability to identify and understand YOUR "BEHAVIOR STYLE" and THEIRS. Once you understand how someone prefers to be communicated with (Behavioral Style), you must be able to adapt your behavior for successful communication with them. Especially under stress. The most important communications leading to change happens with mild to moderate stress.
This is where we have to talk about the difference between 'sympathy' and 'empathy'. 'Sympathy' is when you share the feelings of another. If you get just as upset as they are you can be of little help. 'Empathy' is when you understand the feelings of another but do not necessarily share them. With 'Empathy' you can attempt to help the person through the upset, at the least give them some space to calm down. Just understanding without joining in the upset can be of help in calming someone down. We spend a good deal of time teaching skills to leadership and sales teams on how to de escalate an upset.
This is especially important for sales reps and team leaders.
When we as sales reps or small business owners calling on a potential client or clients, we are usually proposing they change how they do things and/ or what they use in their work. Stress will always be present during a decision for change. Knowing how to read someone's stress level and help them manage it will determine their comfort level during a change consideration and a successful sale.
When we as leaders encourage our teams to find a better way or adapt to a new way of doing something our teams experience stress. Knowing how to read our team's stress level (frustration level) and helping them manage it will determine their success level during change.
People who are comfortable, experiencing no stress with a product or process are not likely to change. People seriously considering change experience mild to moderate stress. People under serious or extreme stress are not likely to make any change. Think about the last time you were extremely stressed; didn’t you experiencing the emotions of fight or flight? Logical, rational decision process was nonexistent or extremely difficult for at least 4 hours after your stress level went back to normal. (This and points below will be explained in more detail in our workshops)
Emotional Intelligence skills are more important than IQ!
Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.
Knowing how much you care starts with how comfortable they are communicating with you.
Have you ever met someone, and you just know you do not like them? Have you ever worked with someone who seems to get on your last nerve every time you talk to them? We all have! Since we need people to increase our capacity for success. A diverse team increases creativity and production, so wouldn’t it be great to rarely run into someone we could not have on our team, in our life? If we learn to observe people’s communication style and adapt our communications to their style we could successfully communicate with most people. The most successful people in life have learned these skills.
Let’s explore “Behavioral Styles” below because “Behavioral Styles” will give us indicators of how to read stress levels, increase job satisfaction, creativity and production.
You will realize that when communications increase stress, a customer can make the wrong buying decision. When communications increase stress, a sales manager/ leader could miss out on the right talent for his team and territory!
There are 8 basic “Behavioral Styles” and humans are roughly divided equally between each behavioral style. Most people can get along with 4 of the 8 behavioral styles.
If you are a sales rep, can you afford to not be successful if you are not comfortable with half of your customer base or Potential customers?
If you are a Sales Manager, can you afford to limit your available talent pool by 25 to 50%? Remember, a diverse team is more creative and productive!
The Best Leaders will adapt their communication style with each team members behavioral styles for maximum team success. The Best Leaders will help the team understand each other so they more effectively work together.
If you want to increase Sales Success in business, improving communication at every level of your organization and your current customer base by teaching “Communication Styles” is a great place to start.
However, that can be easier said than done for your team — communication is a huge area to focus on. How can your team find out where they are at in terms of communication strength, and then where they need to improve?
That is where communication style assessments come in. Using tools that dive deep into behavioral styles not only help people understand each other, but also creates a shared language in an organization.
Here is how to improve communication with your colleagues and customers through assessments.
Communication Styles in the Sales Environment
Communication styles can be viewed through different lenses. Let’s look at two assessments that can be used to improve communication.
The first assessment is the EQ Assessment, which measures emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is a huge factor in improving communication because it helps you understand the feelings of others.
If you adopt the concept of EQ (managing your stress and those around you) into your organization and especially your sales force, you can decrease conflict and help individuals become more aware of themselves and others. By introducing understanding about emotional hijacking and self and social awareness, you can help your people grow. In sales and or leadership we know:
· P56eople do not consider change when they are not experiencing stress with their current product or process.
· People consider change when they are experiencing mild to moderate stress when considering a change in product or process.
· People will not consider change when they are under severe stress.
The other assessment that really helps with communication is DISC, since it reveals primary “Behavioral Styles” and what those actually mean in your day-to-day experience. As you read each “Behavioral Style” think about the other behavioral styles and see if you can see how there can be conflict between styles without understanding. Without understanding of all behavioral styles, we hear judgements like “What a jerk!”, with understanding of behavioral styles we hear observations like “They are time sensitive!". Judgements lead to failed communications and that can be devastating to a sales rep trying to maximize sales in a territory or sales managers trying to find the right rep for a particular territory. Observations lead to successful sales calls and interactions with colleagues or customers.
An example would be a sales rep that is a Direct Communicator (explained below) making sales calls in a rural territory. Rural customers tend to be very relational, slow passed. I remember one potential rural customer I called on as a Hershey rep said “Son, I’ll consider buying from you after I’ve seen you a few times, get to know you. I don’t do business with trunk slammers that blow into town, sell you something and you never see them again!”
So, as you read through these communication Styles, think about family, friends or coworkers that would fall in a “Behavioral Style” and how comfortable you are with them. Consider without education, understanding and practice, the failure to communicate with one or more “Behavioral Styles” can lead to a loss of creativity and production. Remember, the best sales reps and leaders must get along with their inside team and their target market. If humans fall roughly evenly in each behavioral style, can any of us really afford to not be successful with 25 to 50% of your market?
A leader must realize that each “Behavioral Style” has a value to the organization. Just looking at the basic 4 styles,
D - focus on getting tasks done as quick and efficiently as possible. Especially the tasks they perceived as the most important.
C - focus on details, all the details that need to be considered to minimize bad decisions caused from missed information
S - focus on keeping the team together and works to make sure everyone is heard
I - focus on making sure everyone keeps the vision, big picture top of mind
This is a simplified view but helps you see the value each brings to the team.
I once meet a business owner that was a high D. They were proud of being a high D and believed things would be better if their whole team were high D’s. Everyone wanted the tasks they believed were the most important and if they were given a task they perceived as being of lesser value they were insulted. Collaboration was minimal at best. The conflict and tension in that business was significant. The owner could not understand why the business was in trouble.
What Are the Types of Communication Styles?
Direct communicators (known as High Ds) are ambitious, forceful, decisive, strong-willed, independent, and goal-oriented when dealing with problems and challenges.
Direct communicators are straightforward and to the point. They want to find the most unambiguous path forward, which can lead to bluntness and hurt feelings with less direct communicators.
Direct communicators that are customers want you to give them 3 or 4 bullet points of the best reasons for a decision and then leave them to make up their own mind, and they usually make decisions quickly.
Direct communicators are time sensitive and expect sales reps to respect their time. They appreciate getting to the point of the call, they generally do not want to talk about sports, family, or vacations. They are all business, you might hear them say “so let’s get down to business, what are we talking about”. They prefer to make decisions without a committee. They see committees as a waste of company time and resources.
Reflective communicators (known as Low Ds) are cooperative, low-key, modest, and mild when dealing with problems and challenges.
Reflective communicators prefer to take a back seat, especially when it comes to conflict situations. They work hard to avoid conflict which can lead to miscommunication and more conflict in the long run due to lack of clarity.
Outgoing communicators (known as High Is) are magnetic, enthusiastic, friendly, demonstrative, and conversational when it comes to people and contacts.
Outgoing communicators thrive on connecting with others! They need lots of interaction and conversation to succeed in the workplace. They can be easily distracted, however, and might focus on talking over doing.
Outgoing communicators like the big picture and let others deal with details.
Reserved communicators (known as Low Is) are restrained, controlled, non-animated and reflective when it comes to people and contacts.
Reserved communicators prefer to measure their words and make communication count. They are not fans of small talk or blustering, and they prefer to observe before speaking. They can get lost in the background with these communication preferences.
Steady communicators (known as High Ss) are patient, reliable, predictable, and relaxed when it comes to pace and consistency.
Steady communicators are great team players. They enjoy thinking through their responses and interact thoughtfully in the workplace. Their responses might get lost if a project or conversation is moving quickly, and they likely will not interrupt the flow to ask for what they need.
Steady communicators would prefer that all stakeholders in a decision agree before anything is finalized. If you upset a Steady Communicators, let’s say you tell them they don’t need to get agreement with their stakeholders, they can make the decision alone or you ask them to bypass the committee and get them an appointment with their superior, they may tell you what you want to hear and then after you leave through your business card in the trash.
Precise communicators (known as High Cs) are dependent, neat, careful, and compliant when it comes to procedures and compliance.
Precise communicators are focused on getting things done the right way, and communication is no exception to that rule. Speaking of rules, they thrive on establishing procedure and sticking to it. They can have a hard time keeping an open mind while communicating and won’t be happy if you can’t backup your opinion with facts. They can be seen as slow in making up their mind. If you ask a Precise Communicator how long it takes them to buy a car they would say weeks to months. They will collect amazing amounts of data from wherever they can to make sure they are making the right decision. A sales rep expecting a quick decision could push for a decision and the Precise Communicator would go to their “back up behavior” and disengage from the sales process. A sales rep with understanding of the Precise Communicators behavior style would show up with as much well-organized data as they can collect and then be patient with the decision process. They would expect more requests for data might be likely.