We are all wired differently. And that is true for how we build relationships and do business with one another. 

But most people develop business in ways that align with their own style. Meaning, they do things in ways that resonate with them. An overwhelming majority of clients we coach reveal to us that they have networking conversations, approach follow-up, present information, approach proposals, lead pitch meetings and try to close business the same way with all their prospects. 

But that means that they truly resonate only with a portion of their contacts, leaving opportunities on the table. 

This is where the DiSC Framework comes in! 

Understanding your prospect’s DiSC style and their buying preferences –  what they value, what motivates them, things that may turn them off, and interactions they prefer as a buyer of services – allows you to strategically adapt your approach to better connect and resonate with them thereby improving the effectiveness of your business development efforts.

Different styles have different preferences, sometimes to the point of being opposite of one another.  

For example, if your prospective client is a Dominance Style, the last thing you would want to do is to provide a highly detailed proposal or refer them to lengthy amounts of information because Dominance Styles can’t stand details and prefer that you succinctly get to the bottom line as quickly as possible.  They are all about results (the “what” not the “how”).  On the other hand, when it comes to a Steadiness Style, they prefer highly detailed information and that you present it in a step-by-step manner (they very much care about the “how”).  One thing you definitely don’t want to do with a Steadiness Style is rush them to make a decision because they prefer a casual, low-pressure approach.  You can see how these styles have different preferences and using the wrong approach can be a deal breaker.  

Another example is when it comes to forging connections. The last thing you want to do is invite a Conscientiousness Style to a large-scale networking event for relationship building and try to forge that relationship by showing lots of emotion and sharing loads of personal stories about yourself. Conscientiousness Styles are typically private and reserved and bothered by the display of emotions and oversharing of personal information. On the flip side, if you’re dealing with an Influence Style, then you very much want to network with them in an informal environment like a happy hour or a group event and be open to disclosing some personal information about yourself because they value that. In fact, if you don’t share about yourself, then they will view you as cold/detached and won’t connect with you.

Your contacts’ personality styles will also dictate what type of relationship building activities you would do and what kind of value you can provide that would be most effective.

Now imagine how much more effective of a business developer you can be if you understand the styles of your key contacts and prospective clients. Once you know what drives, motivates, and influences your key contacts and prospective clients, then you can adapt and customize your conversations and entire approach accordingly. 

But how do you know what style a particular individual has? 

The following three-step approach will help you determine someone else’s style even if you don’t know them that well, and even if you’ve never met them in person!

Here is what you do:

STEP 1: 

If you only had the following two options, would you describe this person as:

  • FAST-PACED & OUTSPOKEN (energetic, quick, assertive, dynamic, bold), or 
  • CAUTIOUS & REFLECTIVE (moderate-paced, calm, methodical, careful, thoughtful)? 

We all can be both, but think about what this person is like most of the time. Make a note of your selection.

STEP 2: 

If you only had the following two options, would you describe this person as:

  • QUESTIONING & SKEPTICAL (logic-focused, objective, critical, challenging), or 
  • ACCEPTING & WARM (people-focused, empathizing, receptive, agreeable)?

Make your determination and remember what you chose. 

STEP 3: 

Combine your answers and determine your prospects buying style: 

  • Fast-paced & Outspoken AND Questioning & Skeptical, your contact’s style is Dominance.
  • Fast-paced & Outspoken AND Accepting & Warm, your contact’s style is Influence.
  • Cautious & Reflective AND Accepting & Warm, your contact’s style is Steadiness.
  • Cautious & Reflective AND Questioning & Skeptical, your contact’s style is Conscientiousness.

What’s next?

Now that you know how to identify your prospects’ style, you can begin to adapt your approach to better connect and develop relationships with your potential clients. 

After working with hundreds of lawyers over the past decade, we can confidently say that this has been a business development game changer for most people. So use this information wisely!