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Sales Lesson #5: Determining (Leveraging) Personality Styles

chappy75's Avatar

Personality styles are so much fun. A great sales person can figure out who's who quickly and speak in terms that will draw the buyer in. This is also a lesson in adaptability and diversity. How must you act to influence others?

I think I am a pretty good at reading personalities. I will even take a stab at identifying some people in the forums that I have never met.

Frank- I am guessing that you are High S 

Roger- I think you are a High C or D hard to read. I haven't spoken with you. You are likely a C with a trailing S. But could be a C with a trailing D which makes you a slippery character. Chameleon of sorts. 

Kim- I think you are a High I

Greg Bruce- High S

Toni- High S

Betsy- Hi I with an equal or trailing S

Charlie Lumsden- Definitely High S

Take this test... It is only 19 exercises. you will get a HUGE report on how you answered the answers and what those tendencies are.

There are reasons that most of the people are S in this group. AND those reasons are why there are fewer D's. 

Who am I?

There are reasons also, why I can call some of you friends and others I know are not and I know why not and really don't care enough to fix it. 

This is the fun part of sales Try it out and post your score it's kinda cool!

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chappy75's Avatar

Roger, there it is above...

I am making my assumptions from past interactions. If you do that little test (It's free) it explains everything much better than I can. I just know what I see and I have conducted hundreds of interviews of people of all types for multiple positions within our Real Estate team. I have interviewed burnt out realtors for sales positions Admins that thought they should be boss even delirious transplants from the North that thought they could take a job for a couple weeks for $1000 per week.

The test gives no negatives. The personality traits are neutral and all good for people are generally good. The question is, what is good or bad? By your personality you will perceive good and bad. I love this stuff!

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kdc's Avatar

My Results:

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kimmyk's Avatargold

How interesting.  I was a little concerned when I first read "Kim I think you're high..."   lol

I'm too tired to take the test right now, but will definitely do it this week.  Thanks!

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williamj's Avatargold

Kathleen, your results are surprisingly very close to mine. Except that I have a little more D than I. My sister !!!

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chappy75's Avatar

Kathleen, thanks and yes I would have pegged you as an S too. 

My bet is that Matt is an S too. Scott is going to be a higher "I" that Daniel. Daniel is a high "S" with a trailing C. Ralf Machesky is a high D. 

We are going to get into driving ambitions and decision making triggers we call these "Motivators". Every personality type can be sold. Some take more of an established "Relationship" some people are driven by "Pretty". Some people would rather see the immediate gratification and others need to be proven over a period of time.

There was once an attempt to say there are 2 worlds in the non-discipline of inventing the "Inventor" world and "Business" world. I took exception to that because of what I know through this Discipline/Skill/Tool. There are really 4 worlds people fit into that have different Skills and tools to survive in. If you raise the personalities by the varying degrees of 7 motivators you have the world of infinite personalities. 

The Myers-Briggs has 16 personalities. I feel that it is all the same thing and the 4 personalities are easy to pick out. The motivators are not so easy. Personalities determine "how" we communicate and motivators determine "why".

An Exercise/ Discipline becomes a "skill" once we truly understand and internalize it . a "Skill" Becomes "Tool" once we know how to leverage the skill to accomplish a goal.
~James Chapman

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betsykaufman's Avatarg8_badge

Chappy, your results work for me---so I don't need to take the test. Personally, I think personality traits can be fluid when we grow, are inspired and want to change. 

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chappy75's Avatar

That is Exactly what an "I" would say and how an "I,S" would react with a motivator of being highly "individualistic" with a "regulatory" trailing.

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williamj's Avatargold

I believe Betsy to be spot on in saying our traits are 'fluid' as we move forward in our separate lives.

I took the test yesterday and for some reason I retook the test just a short while ago. I was truly surprised at how the results I scored today differed from the score I got yesterday. There was/is a marked difference between the two. When I get time I'll post the two results for comparison.

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chappy75's Avatar


You're right that you can change your personality to some degree. Under stress, for example, people tend to act different from  when they are without.

That means we are dynamic. We do act in a particular way that makes us unique. When you walk into a room full of people do you

A: start a conversation

B: sit down at a table in the middle of the room

C: take note of all the exits and find a place near there

D: head straight to the dance floor?

One thing is right; personalities are dynamic! That's is why learning them is so critical.

You don't present a 20 minute product to a high D. And you better have pictures if you're presenting to an I and a ton of supporting data if you have a high C.

I mean, this isn't my system... People much smarter than I am developed it. To be a better sales person we must internalize this, own it so that we can adapt.

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kimmyk's Avatargold

Whew!  Just came out of that website...  I agree with William and Betsy in that how I feel at any given time can greatly affect how I respond to things.  I'm also a very different person now than who I was in my 20's. 

I had trouble deciding how to answer a lot of those; they all seemed to be a similar importance, so it took me a while to figure out the order.  I can't say I agree with all of it, but a lot is spot on. It tells me I'm a very high S, moderately high C and I, and very low D.  Now to wade through it and figure out how to use the information, but that's for another day.  :)

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chappy75's Avatar

Right Kim,

Tests can be manipulated and things can change. I have had people apply for the position of administrative assistant and come off as a High D when they are 66 years old and really need a job and they are nice as pie. I have people come in and take the test to reveal a High S  while they really want to be a manager and control the direction of company. This phenomena, I call, "Lies, Illusions & Facades". 

People try to put their best foot forward all the time. They embellish the truth, they pump up facts, they stack truths to reveal or hide things... It happens all the time. The exam is a snap shot. That is why there is an interview. For example, I know for a fact that the majority of people in these forums are High S. OR they want to be perceived as such. 

Why would you want to be a High S?

High S is the stabilizing force. They bring order and need structure where there isn't any. The High S's Mantra is "Family all are We". This means High Ss really stick by each other. The moment their is a "they" A high S will be there for "We". A High S is Affable and agreeable. They are the most liked of the personality types. A High S will always have many deep friendships and is the first to put another's needs above their own. You always want a couple High Ss on your side and in your corner. Beware though, you better figure out how to reward a high S and what makes them tick. They conceal their emotions for the good of the group and if you do something to Break a high S's trust you won't know it but in that they are gone. The best way to get on a High S's bad side is to outwardly go against the established norm. 

The Best way to keep a High S is to consistently reinforce the sense of family; Us against them, "Family all are We Mantra". High S goes with a High C very well who's mantra is "The rules are the rules, everybody follows the rules; that's why they are called the rules".

We just had an assistant leave our team who was a High S. Very tricky personality because she had all the hallmarks of a High I. We will not name her... Her nick name was "Tweety". She got that name for many reasons but one in particular. We had hired a runner on our team named Caz. He courted her on a daily basis, starting the day with a hug always. We even had to interview her to find out how it made her feel and if it was inappropriate. Finally we had to stop it because it was just weird and unprofessional.

She ALWAYS had a sunny disposition and I mean ALWAYS! Caz's schedule was from 10:30 - 4:30 When he would come in it was kinda creepy. Well, one day, half annoyed by her cheery, "Good Morning James, How was your weekend?", I could have been nicer but raised my (index) finger and said, "My computer isn't turned on and I haven't had coffee, shhhhh until further notice"... She laughed it off and continued to talk, it was pleasant and it was actually nice. She was wearing a yellow outfit hence the Tweety nickname was born. 

During the interview of her comfort level of Caz's on comings, after I called him 'Sylvester' for stalking tweety, Caz earned the nick name Pepe 'le pew by her designation. It stuck, and he was let go 4 days later. As a Hi S she never turned on him. She also did not tell me how uncomfortable it made her feel. Instead, she used a cartoon reference to describe how it made her feel. I said Sylvester meaning aggressive and afar, she made it about a space invader and inappropriate romantic gestures. She thanked me for firing him afterwards.   

Mark Bartlett
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kimmyk's Avatargold

Funny, when I looked at Kathleen's results, I thought I bet mine are similar. They actually are fairly close.  And William said his are similar too.  Triplets!!  They world isn't ready for that!  lol

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jdowney9000's Avatar

This causes me to want to go "disc" golfing.

(I get it Michael, low s, low c, high-larious!)

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chappy75's Avatar

That's funny Michael. The disc is actually  the exact opposite of a "get in your box system" not created... Developed. It is an analytic tool that recognizes tendencies and future paces plausible decision trees of people based on their most obvious outward personality indicators.

You don't have to accept it. It is a tool. I didn't make it up. It is a long standing apparatus that is used by Master sales people.

I brought it to light because it is fun for me... 

You answered that just like a high D btw... 

There is a balance of good and bad for every style... Good and bad does not exist in personalities without judgement. Good and bad are perceived values.

One person's decision-maker is another person's control freak. One person's amiable is another person's most dependable friend. One person's slow indecisive is another person's very informed decision maker. 

It is a snap shot... That's it. The trick is this. We can tell who we are being by the way we are perceiving others... By assigning motivation to another person's action we project our own. 

See, it is all just the way it is. As far as I am concerned, you can take it or leave it. Your battle isn't with me. You should go find Tony Robbins or the plethora of other coaches and consultants that use it and disagree with them. Tony Robbins would say "Good for you..." And move on. 

The DISC is the simplest of systems to understand and the fastest to use. There are systems and algorithms that are complex and way more convoluted that are being used on you by the minute to figure out what and how much you'll consume next. 

Don't shoot the messenger.

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chappy75's Avatar

I don't feel shot at or anything else; it was an expression. Really, I have no emotion attached to this at all.

The DISC is simply a tool. It is like if we were building a house and I said "here's a nail gun to drive nails." And you say back to me "I don't accept the nail gun, I prefer to use a hammer and sometimes I use screws. In fact I don't even like people who build houses & I won't live in a house built with a nail gun."

How can you make a point within that logic or have emotion attached to that?

Nobody likes a crappy salesman. You can believe though, that you're already "sized up" a good salesman calls that "pre qualification".

No technique is fool proof and there are times when there are false reads. You won't close 100% of opportunities... But you will close more by using the right tools. 

I have the least amount of patience with sales people. Often they are so focused on selling that they don't listen. Or if they commission is to low they won't bother with a sale. The worst is when they talk about how much money is in the deal for them with a, "this is going to be a great OR I need this commission check" mentality. We call it "Commission Breath". 

Commission Breath is that hot, nasty and repulsive way that slimy sales people have when they get around some opportunity. They are so busy with the up-sell and manipulation that they forget they are dealing with a human. It's disgusting!

Those are mewbies and they are learning. They won't sell much that way. Rejection is a marvelous teacher. 

That's why a good sales person asks questions! ... But wait there's more... A good salesperson listens to the answer.

In the realm of invention commission breath is when you say, "I have this million dollar idea and it is still just an idea". Yuck!

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speedbump's Avatar

 I didn't take the test because I don't feel comfortable putting in my personal information just to take a test. I might have been sold things in my younger days but as I've aged like not so fine wine I feel that I now buy products and services as opposed to being sold  something. I'm not an impulse buyer .... I usually won't buy anything from someone who initiates the contact..... girl scout cookies, school fundraisers etc being some of the few exceptions!  If I need or want something I'll research what I'm looking for and then decide if I really want or need to make the purchase.  I tend to do business with places I have been to before as well as people who I'm comfortable with. 

I understand that the person who is in the sales position will be trying to size me up to make a sale but I do the same and won't buy from anyone I don't consider honest whether my critique is valid or not it's still my money . I will have a tendency to buy from someone who works to get me the best deal available .... I'm not referring to going back to the manager and coming back 5 minutes later with this great deal ..... I will always shy away from a hard sell. I'll usually contact someone I know that I consider to be straight forward if they have what I'm looking for realizing they are still trying to make a sale and have to make some money for themselves or their employer.

Everyone is different and much of the sales interaction probably hinges on the how much thought the buyer can or is willing commit to the process. 

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chappy75's Avatar


That reply was written just like a "C" would respond. Cs are cautious and are fully capable of gathering their own information. As a C gets more mature they "feel" their way through situations and their decisions are almost intuitive. Not because they magically "Know" stuff but in that they have dedicated so much of their time studying and gathering information about stuff.

Cs are the most difficult to "Sell". The only way to gain a Cs trust is to have and share a lot of data about a subject they are interested in in the moment. 

Cs are slow to trust. You lose the trust of a C by going against the established norm. Remember, "the rules are the rules, everybody follows the rules;That's why they are called the rules."

Cs are the least spontaneous and are meticulous planners. Cs are excellent engineers and accountants and prefer to be a lone wolf unless it is balanced with S. 

When a C is under stress the are likely to become more of an I and a terrific source of information, they would prefer to make no decision than make a decision and be wrong. 

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chappy75's Avatar


That quote is not accurate and certainly not a universal truth. Some people would say it lacks ambition. In competitive circles the language is in terms of wins and losses.  Any time you're trying to improve you will have both.

If we are just who we are then we will always have what we have had. I don't think this group is like that. If everybody is just content with who they are and what they have then, why invent?

If you're not competitive then I would say that your research is lacking. If you're in Business youMUST have the speak of competitive people. That is what investors speak.

Accepting and taking a noncompetitive stance turns off an investor quick and defines the line between a world inventors belong to separate from the business world. I don't accept that distinction.

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chappy75's Avatar

See, that's exactly it Michael. You are coming purely from an innovators position and not acknowledging the fact that there are people out there looking to kick butt.

They are aggressive and they are looking to build better products than you cheaper and faster. That is the world of Chinese knockoffs.

Business is not altruistic. If you are trying to sell big companies your product, you must be able to tell them why they are going to kick the competition's butt. 

The sales style depends on the client. If you try to be a concierge with a high I, they might never buy. If you don't ask for the sale with the S, they might never buy... If you don't listen to exactly what a C wants and deliver... They might never buy. If you don't sell fast enough then the D will walk away regardless of the product.

If you don't know or care about these traits or how to identify them, your success rate, at best will be 25-50%. A master sales person can bounce between and show the diversity to help anybody, not just those most similar to self.

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speedbump's Avatar

James .. I'd say that critique is pretty spot on. I know there are volumes written concerning the subject of personality traits and it's always fun to see where you fit in ... or maybe don't fit in. Alli G. posted another personality profile on here some time back that was under the title of "Raise a Toast to Lazy Bums". It was very informative and I felt it also had a lot of good information to be considered. Though I've never spent much time trying to decipher who I am I think the more you understand about yourself the easier it is to understand why you interact the way you do in certain situations. 

I believe how you view the proper approach to sales might depend on your personality .... I tend to agree with Michael's thoughts that my product would need to be attractive enough to sell its self. I also think you have to sell yourself before you can sell anything else. I can see where a good sales person would need to be somewhat a chameleon to fit the situation ... lol

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betsykaufman's Avatarg8_badge

Michael, you could sell me Anything!!!!  You're the kind of spirit that lights up a room and I'm so glad to have you as a friend! Your enthusiasm, creativity and kindness are infectious! Love to you and your fam!!!

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toni's Avatarg8_badge

Besty you are so right.  Michael is a wonderful man and could also sell me anythig.  Love to you  and your family. xo

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betsykaufman's Avatarg8_badge

What an AWESOME cabin! SOoooo cool! :-D

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chappy75's Avatar

Wow Michael, That's beautiful! Looks peaceful I can almost smell the trees... Oh Wait, I can... The Christmas tree... in my living room... it is 80 degrees outside! lol

I never understood why people would subject themselves to icy conditions though; that stuff kills! lol...

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kimmyk's Avatargold

Beautiful cabin Michael! Nothing better than what you described... then a toddy by the fire to thaw out.  :)

I can't believe it's already time for that much snow to be on the ground.  Brrr!

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kimmyk's Avatargold

Btw Chappy, a lot of my selling involves getting to the right person in the doctors office or clinic I'm calling on, then do they have appropriate patients/ large enough pool of patients, right insurance, interest in the technology, etc.  So many factors to consider before anything actually happens.  It can be frustrating when you get a person that just can't make up their mind...

It always throws me into high gear though when I meet one of those docs that just want highlights and then makes a snap decision...  it's like "what just happened here?"  lol    Makes up for the ones dragging their feet.  I always love when someone "gets it!"

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chappy75's Avatar


There are so many nuggets in what you said! 

First off, The predominant personality type of doctors and engineers is C. These are Analytical people that are always looking for new ways. Their lives are about information. The good news is they are an intelligent and proactive group the bad news is that they need a lot of information. Since they are always doing research and have a pretty good idea of what they want/need in their business when you show up with the right solution they make decisions quickly, so it appears. That decision took them months to make, really. They just have enough information to move forward.

I am a recovering High "C". I had to learn to make quick decisions by putting rules in place. More about shifting personality styles later.

I see you have a set of criteria that you have to select the right clientele. That is called prequalification or "prequal". 

Does your company prequal the leads for you or do you have to research your leads on your own?


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chappy75's Avatar


The High D is going to make Fast Decisions based on little facts. It is more a "feeling". High Ds look at a bad decision as a learning opportunity so long as the decision was made quickly. Ds are less than patient and are highly competitive. They get things done.

The fact they need little information makes them very fun to work with from a sales capacity. They are also very good at rejection and they justify rudeness with the idea that they are protecting their time.

A very interesting thing about the D personality is that the I's natural transition under stress is to a D. You can believe I's are a wolf in sheep's clothing. If you put a I under the gun or they have an emergency to attend to they will make fast decisions without 2 thoughts and they get very bossy. 

Hard Sales is made for the I; the objective is to get a I to transition to the D while being in rapport. They LOVE to buy!

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kimmyk's Avatargold

Thanks Roger!  It can be a challenge...

I have colleagues that prescribe to the concepts that Chappy has outlined, but I'm usually too busy trying to make sure I don't leave things out of my presentation and I'm answering their questions to figure out what their style is.  Maybe I'll get there someday...

Chappy, I do my own leads, but the company is now doing the research for some of the sales force.  I like doing my own actually.  You can learn a lot that way, and since I've lived here my whole life, I kinda know where to poke around.  I have been surprised though at the changes and growth that have taken place that I never noticed before.  Makes for an adventure!  I am guilty of using the shotgun style, but I've found some of my best providers that way.  I'm now in the process of going back and checking out the ones that may not have been ready earlier on.  This has been a real learning process for me as I had no sales experience before except a little retail, and that was more of a cashier job than selling.

Docs can actually be all over the place in style.  Some want to be first to try a new product, and others want to know who else is using it and what the results are before they will even entertain the thought.   Then there's the dinosaurs...  they won't even look at something new but invariably, these are the ones that advertise that they use the latest techniques!  lol   The new docs are so much more tech savvy, so it's much easier to speak to them.  They just instinctively get the concept, which is nice.

PS: Is there a 12 step program for that "High C" issue you're fighting?    ;)

Ralph Machesky
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davidasarnow's Avatar

Though a bit vague, I kind of understood what many are point at. 

It is very interesting and a bit concerning but everything is still within grasp.
understanding such basic information may prove useful with a bit of leadership coaching on the side

James Chapman
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chappy75's Avatar


 I agree. Not many people can or even should use these tools on an everyday basis and certainly not without the right guidance/coaching to accompany.

nothing is absolute... The whole thing is merely a snapshot of what a person is in a moment and that can even change without notice in the blink of an eye. Once one of these tests are administered though. You have a base knowledge of the person.

Any divergence from the expected norm should serve as a modifier for expected future outcomes. For example; If my test study says that most Blond hair women prefer ice cream over soup AND I expect all blond haired women to choose ice cream then I have set my expectations wrong because I set expectations at all. In stead, observing situations to provide information that modifies the rule should be the practice.

Most people struggle with the basics so it is hard to go deeper and get a real grasp modification of ones own opinion.


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