How to Click With Prospects Using DISC

Are you writing business-to-business (B2B) email in a tone that “clicks” with your prospects — or are you inadvertently alienating them?

One way to find out is by using DISC psychology. DISC has been used by many major investment firms to profile their high-net-worth audiences and the brokers who sell to them. By taking a 10-minute personality test, you can learn if your style matches or clashes with your clients — and learn how to adapt your selling style.

If this approach works for face-to-face selling, it’s got to work in copy, too.

Here’s a rundown of the four personality types and how to sell to them:

  • Dominance. This style represents 18-20 percent of all people. This personality is ambitious, intimidating, strong-minded, and daring. Think CEO. With this type, you want to focus on winning and profits; touch on the high points (think executive summary, not long proposal), and be direct. As we saw it written somewhere, “Be brief, brilliant, and be gone!” The best style is staccato, with a lot of bullet points and bold headlines.

  • Influence. This style is 28 percent of the world. These people care about social recognition, new experiences, and their appearance. Many people in all different job titles fall into this group. Here, we’re visualizing salespeople, advertising and marketing professionals, fashion executives, and so forth. When you write to this group, take a more personal approach. Name drop, and focus on the big picture.
  • Steadiness. This is where 40 percent of people are found. These are the “good guys” and “steady Eddies.” They make wonderful friends, are loyal, and would rather listen and support than be center stage. They’re generally family-centered. With this group, write in a relaxing, supportive style and focus on how your solution benefits them and their families, personal or corporate.
  • Conscientious. This style represents only 14 percent of the marketplace. But whole professions attract these analytical types: accounting, law, and engineering, for example. These professionals need data and facts to make decisions. They want you to stick to business. They are skeptical, value knowledge, and need to know the pros and cons of any situation. If you offer a white paper to download, this group is most likely to read it. But it had better be real research, not a thinly veiled advertorial.

Karen took the DISC test recently and found in work situations, she can be an influence personality. As she runs her own business, she must be persuasive and friendly. But in day-to-day life, she’s more of a steadiness personality, which makes sense because she has kids. Knowing that, she had to kick it up a notch when writing a recent promotion to investment brokers, who tend to be high dominance personalities.

You must really know your email prospects, so you can write directly to them. If you have a creative brief, visualize the people who match the target audience’s demographics. Hang up pictures of your ideal prospect, read the magazines they do, and learn what their hot buttons are.

If possible, assemble a focus group to see what kind of marketing approaches appeal to this personality type. If you show them a short presentation and they demand more details, you know you have an audience of concientious personalities. On the other hand, if you lead with details and their eyes glaze over, you’d better try a big-picture approach.

The key is not to write impersonal, electronic communications to the masses. Create personalized email precisely targeted to your ideal prospect. With email, versioning is cheap and easy. So if you’re selling a product at multiple levels of an organization, write in the style that befits each personality. You’ll have a better shot at making the sale.

Got any case studies or success stories? Send them to Karen.

Want more email marketing information? ClickZ E-Mail Reference is an archive of all our email columns, organized by topic.

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