Author – Russell Bourne 7/21/2021
We’ve probably all had the experience of calling a customer - scheduled or not - and feeling like they’d rather not be on the call. Or, you’ve probably been in the middle of a call and suddenly thought, “I don’t know why I’m in this call, and neither do they”.
Needless to say, when a customer doesn’t know what they’re doing on the phone with you, they start finding ways to get off, and not answer next time.
It’s becoming more and more popular for leaders to hold team activities on the topic of personality type - and for good reason! Whether it’s DISC, colors, Myers-Briggs, or something else, there’s much value to be gained from knowing your profile, being able to identify others’ profiles, and tailoring your communication style around both.
One concept that often comes up in personality profile activities is introverts recharge their energy by having alone time, and extraverts recharge their energy by socializing. When your customers find ways to get off of calls with you - assuming your content is on point - you can bet it’s because the call is sapping their energy.
So, how do you make sure your interactions give your customers energy? The answer is where personality type comes into play.
I gravitate to the personality profiles that have a simple 2D axis: introvert versus extravert, and thinking versus feeling. Each person’s personality has a dominant quadrant, a secondary, and so on. For the purposes of this article I’ll focus only on the dominant one. Your customer contacts could be:
“Do it the right way” - people with this dominant profile are very interested in details and the accuracy thereof. If this is your customer, make sure you have detailed data to support anything you want them to consider. Give them the data in writing (such as in a meeting recap) and allow them time to analyze it. They are formal in their approach, so be secure that even if they don’t give you friendly vibes, they still see you as an ally.
“Do it together” - people with this dominant profile crave consensus. If this is your customer, ask for feedback often and let them answer at their pace. This is where still waters run deep, and they must think in order to speak.
“Do it now” - people with this dominant profile want you to get to the point fast and directly. They reward confidence, while also wanting to feel in control. If this is your customer, when you call on them be brief, lead with a summary, and have high-level data ready to support what you say.
“Do it the fun way” - people with this dominant profile need to socialize before getting to business. They like to entertain and be entertained. If this is your customer, when you call them make sure to allow for a good chunk of social time to start the call, stay away from details and routines, and remember they are the most persuasive people in their company - get them on board with you!
You might be thinking, "But what about me? Why do I always have to adapt to the other person?" Simply put, it's because you're aware of these profiles and you can't take for granted the other person is. This is the beauty of being aware: if you wanted to get right to business but the other person needed to socialize, and you had no awareness, their socializing would drive you crazy. But by simply being aware of their inclinations, you become tolerant and adaptable. That makes you very powerful!
Whatever your message is, or whatever the goal of your communication is, tailor it to the other person’s personality type. You’ll find it much easier to be on the same page as to why you’re on the call, and what should happen next.