Have you ever been in a scenario where you didn’t respond quickly and you get that nudge from a prospect asking you where things stand? And in your head you’re like, “I promised that to you this morning…chill.” That can be frustrating, to say the least. Or maybe you’ve been in a scenario where you worked really hard compiling everything someone asked for and then…crickets, which leads to disappointment and frustration on the selling side.

Understanding the personalities you’re engaging with will help you communicate more effectively and will result in fewer disappointments or surprises on both sides of the purchase or evaluation.

One of the most popular ways to assess this is using the DiSC assessment. If you’re curious, feel free to read up on the history of DiSC. Here’s a breakdown of how these four personality types are defined:

D: Dominance

  1. Common Characteristics: Direct, Strong-Willed, Decisive, Demanding, Risk Taker, Self Starter, and Action Oriented.
  2. Focus/Values: Big Picture (not the details) & Goal Achievement
  3. How to Communicate: 
    1. Be direct and concise. Don’t beat around the bush.
    2. If you need to disagree or challenge, do so objectively with facts.
    3. Keep this person in the loop. They like to be involved, especially for key decisions. Don’t let them feel like the decision was made without them, even if it was.
    4. Provide options and choices. They want to make the decision; not be told.
    5. Set clear goals and objectives


I: Influence

  1. Common Characteristics: Talkative, Enthusiastic, Persuasive, Outgoing, Social, Humorous, People-Oriented, Energetic, Vocal, and Inspiring.
  2. Focus/Values: Friendship, Happiness, Social Approval, Team Motivation
  3. How to Communicate: 

This person will gossip, so be sure to give them good reason to gossip about you in a positive way or to spread the message YOU want to spread internally.

If a disagreement is necessary, be especially cautious about the environment. Remember, social approval is important and you don’t want to put that at risk.

Try to involve them collaboratively and in group settings. 

Compliment them when appropriate. They appreciate compliments more than most. You will see them light up with a compliment or with recognition, which is a good indication of the “I” personality type.

Be sure not to jump straight to business with this personality type. Try chatting a bit upfront to be a little social before getting to the agenda.


S: Steadiness

  1. Common Characteristics: Even-Tempered/Calm, Patient, Humble, Understanding, Good Listener, Reserved, Sincere, Introverted, People-Oriented, Supportive, and Stable.
  2. Focus/Values: Balance, Trust, Loyalty, Security, and Helping Others
  3. How to Communicate: 
    1. Like the “I” above, try not to jump straight to business. Chat a little bit upfront with a friendly tone and build rapport. Rapport is important to this personality type.
    2. They will answer questions when directly asked, but prefer listening more than speaking, so don’t be alarmed if a stakeholder with this personality is quiet.
    3. Change can scare this personality as they enjoy stability and security. Ensure you’re directly addressing how to handle any change your proposing. Make them feel comfortable about it.
    4. They perform better with individuals or small groups of people they know well. Be cognizant of this. 
    5. Give them time to make decisions and take extra time to walk them through things. They do not like to be rushed.


C: Conscientiousness

  1. Common Characteristics: Analytical, Systematic, Perfectionist, Even-Tempered, Precise, Competent, Skeptical, Cautious, Detail-Oriented, Careful, and Consistent.
  2. Focus/Values: Objective Reality Check, Facts, Accuracy, Quality
  3. How to Communicate: 
    1. Be prepared to back up any statement you make with facts and/or data. 
    2. If proposing change or challenging this stakeholder, just like a “D” profile, show up with the facts to support your case. 
    3. This person’s objectivity can come across as being insensitive, but know it’s not personal. They sometimes don’t take others’ feelings into consideration.
    4. This person is considered highly-reliable internally. If they say something will work, it’s believed because the rest of their team knows how objective and detail-oriented they are. If they’re a functional or technical evaluator, be sure you’re checking the boxes this personality wants to check. 
    5. Show them appreciation or compliment them on their thoroughness and attention to detail.
    6. This personality type tends to value personal space, so be sure to give that to them in a one-on-one situation.


Not to further complicate things, but most stakeholders may have traits or characteristics across each of these personality types. Most reps won’t have the time to go to this level of granularity, but imagine if you’ve got a stakeholder that’s categorized as “Di” (Dominance & Influence), and they’re classified as an opponent in terms of vendor preference. That’s a problem you should pay attention to.