How to Sell to Anyone: 4 Personalities, 4 Approaches


The DISC Personality Framework is a common personality framework pioneered in the 1920s by Dr. William Marston; the framework allows for an increased understanding of personalities and preferences by simplifying personalities into four main components.

Its applications are endless, as are most personality frameworks, and the framework can apply to personal and professional relationships alike. Because sales relationships are driven largely by personalities and interpersonal relationships, sales professionals have a unique opportunity to apply the DISC Framework to the types of personalities they come across on a daily basis.

In the DISC Framework assessment, surveyed participants are given a list of statements and instructed to answer how closely these statements align with their personality, values, or traits. Examples include statements like, “I am very outspoken,” or “I would rather hear other people’s opinions before making a decision.”

Following the assessment, individual personalities are broken up into four major components:





Because every personality contains elements of each of the four components, the permutations for a specific personality are endless. However, the DISC Framework asserts that every personality is made up primarily by two of the four components. Stated another way: It is rare that one personality will have all four components in equal measure.

Why is this framework useful for sales? Because buying decisions are made by people, and people have personalities. If you agree that personalization is the key to a successful sales relationship, then personalizing your sales approach for the personality to whom you are selling is paramount.

Below are recommendations for how to identify and how to sell to each of the four major personality components as outlined by the DISC Personality Framework.


The Dominant

How to Spot the Dominance Personality Type

Dominant personalities are competitive, assertive, goal-oriented individuals. They are more likely to openly express their opinions than other personality types.

Spot a dominant when they talk about deadlines and targets, and place a strong emphasis on results.

How to Sell to the Dominance Personality Type

The best way to sell to a dominant personality type is to understand that they live in a “What’s in it for me?” world; the value proposition of your product or service will be very important to a dominant personality type, and they will want to know this upfront, specifically as it applies to their role and career growth.

In addition, dominants respect dominants. Approach a dominant personality type with a respectful, informed, but assertive style. Recognize that your dominant buyer may brush you off on a call or reply rudely to your email, not because they are rude, but because they are too focused on winning.

Don’t be afraid to keep pushing, and assert that you are intent on speaking with them because you believe that your product could help them get across the finish line faster. Dominant personality types are common in sales functions and leadership roles, so keep this in mind if these are your target buyers.



The Influential

How to Spot the Influential Personality Type

Influential personality types are collaborative, enthusiastic, and optimistic. They are focused on openness, persuasion, and building relationships. Unlike a dominant personality type, influential personality types will seek consensus and a team-oriented approach when addressing a problem or goal.

Spot an influencer when they loop in additional team members, defer you to their colleagues first, or ask about company, team, or departmental-wide benefits of your product or service.

How to Sell to the Influential Personality Type

The best way to sell to an influential personality type is to recognize that for them, the sum of a whole is greater than its parts. If you have trouble connecting with an influential personality type, try getting a referral from a colleague or a shared connection.

Influential personality types will always open an email where the subject line references a referral. Once you get past the initial introductions, focus on holistic value propositions: influential personality types live in a “What’s in it for us?” world. Looping their team members into conversations or demonstrations is always a recommended approach.

Once you have the influencer personality type on your side, you can use their skills at building relationships internally to gain more influence within the company as a whole. Influencer personality types care more about how they are perceived than whether or not they “win,” so make them look good and they will never forget you.



The Steady

How to Spot the Steadiness Personality Type

Steadiness personality types are known for their… well, steadiness. They operate on an even keel, and rarely get worked up about anything, regardless of the value proposition that it brings. Natural skeptics and generally resistant to change, steadiness personality types will be the most difficult point of entry for any new sales relationship.

Spot a steadiness personality type when they talk about their organization’s ability to manage without your product, or the fact that their process has always been done a certain way. Steadiness personality types will be polite in your initial conversations, but firm in their belief that they are just fine without you.

How to Sell to the Steadiness Personality Type

The key to selling to a steadiness personality type? You might have guessed it: steadiness. While a steadiness personality type may be harder to win over initially, this personality type will be your biggest ally in a longer sales cycle selling process, and will work consistently and diligently to see you and your product over the finish line.

To win them over, prove that you’re just as steady as they are. Use unemotional language, and don’t promise them that your product will change their world. Rather, approach them with realistic and moderate expectations for the dependable value your product can bring.

If at first you don’t succeed with a steadiness personality type, nurture this relationship over the long term with helpful, not salesy, outreach. They will appreciate your consistency, and you may just win them over.



The Conscientious

How to Spot the Conscientious Personality Type

Don’t be fooled by the conscientious personality type name – this type is not a pushover. Rather, the conscientious personality type is focused on the details. Typically an expert in their position or field, the conscientious personality type is highly objective in their evaluations of new people, products, or process.

Conscientious personality types are easy to spot, as they will be the first to call out incorrect data, typos, or errors. They will ask tough questions about your product, and will expect honesty and accuracy from everything you say.

How to Sell to the Conscientious Personality Type

Meet the conscientious personality type where they are – to this personality type, the devil is in the details. Approach conscientious personality types with the idea that although your product may not solve all of their problems, it may be able to address one thing extremely well.

Before demonstrating a product to a conscientious personality type, make sure you brush up on your product knowledge. They will ask the hard questions and will expect you to be knowledgeable, confident, and poised in your responses.

In addition, understanding as much as you can about the industry or company of your conscientious personality type prospect will help you win their respect.


While the above generalizations can help you win over your prospects, don’t forget that most people have at least two prominent personality types as part of their profile. A one-size-fits-all approach to your prospecting will fall flat.

Personalization only works if it is accurate, so do your best to avoid stereotyping or thinking of your prospects in only one dimension. Recognizing that your buyers have at least two, if not more, of these elements in their personality will help you make more accurate assessments about your approach.

Want to learn more about how you can make sales personalization work for you? Check out our article that explains how to make a great first impression and boost open rates with the perfect subject line, or request a demo to learn how the world’s leading personalized selling platform can help your business accelerate sales and increase revenue.

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