Have you ever had a discussion with a renter, employee or HOA board manager that just didn’t click? Would you like to know how to communicate with people in your industry, regardless of how different their personality is?

A few years ago, I was introduced to the subject of personality profiling. By understanding the four different personality types, you can significantly increase understanding of board members, employees, and even your family. You will

experience amazing results. The personality profiling system is called DISC testing.

The letters DISC stand for the four prominent personality types. All people fit into this scheme in one way or another, and are usually a combination of a least two of these types. These types are as follows:

High D stands for dominating.

High I  stands for influencer.

High S stands for steadiness.

High C stands for compliance.

Let’s first take a look at how to use DISC testing to develop a team, and then study how to use this system to communicate more effectively with prospects and clients to really enhance your abilities in any endeavor.

Most property managers and some company or board presidents will find that they fit into the High D category. If you are a High D, you’ll be the driving force in your company. You are the leader. You are the quarterback of the team. You are innovative and organized. You want quick results. You want everything abbreviated, because you have the ability to quickly assess a situation and make a rapid decision.

Although all these are outstanding qualities, you, (High D’s) have to remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Just because something has been discussed, it doesn’t mean that the task is immediately accomplished by waving a magic wand. You need to learn to be more patient and to listen more often. Most importantly, you need to realize that the rest of the people in your world are trying frantically to keep up the rapid pace you have set for yourself.

If you are just a bit friendlier, and make an effort to compliment your staff on a job well done, it will go a long way in gaining their trust. They will then feel more comfortable in approaching you with new ideas, or with problems they may have

Let’s take a look at high I. The high I personality, or the influencer, is a very social person. I find that many great sales people fall into this category. They are the master net-workers. They are charming and upbeat, with loads of team spirit, and are instinctively great communicators. This is the type of person who is motivated by popularity and acceptance.

Give the high I on your team lots of interaction with clients and prospects in order to fulfill their social needs. They need to be able to interact and socialize—this is very important to them.

The High I typically lacks organizational skills, and will need help from the high D on your team in this area. They will also motivate others towards the common goal.

They are the cheerleaders on the team. They are the people who work the room at a cocktail party, and often walk out with fifteen to twenty business cards. These are the people who are at various events at CAI, MHA, Twin West, etc.

Let’s examine the high S. The high S person is noted for loyalty. These are the team players. These are the people who have an amazing ability to add a personal touch that sets the team apart from their competition.

As long as the High S has a clear understanding of the business model, they will carry it out with extreme devotion, because they crave a stable environment to work in.

They are characterized by their ability to maintain deeply loyal relationships, because they are motivated by safety, security, and recognition of that loyalty

However, if the high S has a disagreement with others on the team, watch out! They will be inclined to hold it inside, since they don’t like conflict or sudden change.

To complete our tour of the four personality types, let’s look at the high C. High C personalities are the analytical problem solvers of the world. They border on being compulsively meticulous. I’m sure you have most likely had clients along these lines.

High C’s have the ability to offer creative solutions to complex problems, because they deal well with facts and calculations. This is your classic engineer. At the same time, they are inclined to focus so much on the hard data that they omit the human factor. They can over think the situation, and quite literally make a mountain out of a molehill. When you need a solution that requires close attention to detail, the high C will strive for perfection, and will set an excellent example for the team to follow.

You may find that their attention to detail slows things down too much. This is especially true if you are a high D. The high C likes to work at a snail’s pace, while the high D is running 100 miles per hour. C’s are the folks you dread in the homeowner association; because they are nit-picking every single detail and they cause you lots of headaches.

By testing yourself and your team members, you can gain insight into why certain people click, and how to approach each other with the most favorable outcome in mind.

I have provided you with a cursory DISC test. This test will enable you to assess someone in an initial conversation.  This is not a supplement to a DISC test—the full test is in excess of 100 questions. However, there is a way to be relatively sure of someone’s personality profile by just asking yourself a couple of questions:

Question #1: Is this person more assertive, or more reserved?

Question #2: Is the person more logical, or more emotional? This question may take a few more seconds of conversation for you to answer, since it is a bit more difficult to determine the answer.

Let’s imagine that a new prospect named “Tom” calls to talk with you about the possibility of hiring your property management company. During the conversation, you ask yourself the first question about Tom, “Is he assertive or reserved?”

You notice that he asks lots of questions, and is very forthcoming with information about what his wants, needs, and concerns are. You don’t have to draw information out of him because he is telling you what he wants. You notice that he’s taken control of the situation, and you are having a tough time getting a word in. This means he is assertive.

Since a D and an I are assertive, you’ve determined that Tom is either a high D or a high I, and you are now working within the top half of the quadrant only. An S or a C would be much more reserved.

You then ask yourself, “Is Tom more emotional or more logical?”

He often uses the phrase, “I think.” (instead of “I feel”) He takes time to evaluate his options and to crunch numbers. This leads you to believe that Tom is a logical thinker. The two logical thinkers are high D and high C. However, since you’ve already eliminated high C by asking the first question, we’ve identified Tom as a high D.

Once you’ve established a prospect’s personality type, you have a better understanding of how they process information. This understanding is key to communications.

Let’s continue with Tom. You’ve figured out that he is a high D. You can know put to use your knowledge of the high D personality type. You know they don’t want to take too much time out of their busy day to speak with you. They want things to happen quickly, and they are fast decision-makers. You need to be brief, to the point, and as efficient as possible.

On the contrary, if you have a high I, things are different. On the grid, we have an assertive person who is emotional. With a high I, you want to take some time to ask about their personal interests. You want to ask what they did last weekend, and about their family. Get social, because they relate to that. When you have future appointments with them, be sure to schedule extra time to accommodate their need to chitchat for an extra ten minutes. These touches aren’t to manipulate a person, but to honor them by communicating in their preferred fashion, even if they aren’t aware of what that is.

Let’s say you’ve determined that this person is a high S. Now we are looking at the bottom-right corner of the grid, which represents reserved and emotional. You need to win the trust of a high S. They are loyal team players. If you can make them feel a part of the team, they will champion your cause to the degree that they will be an additional sales rep out in the field.

Don’t be too aggressive when you speak with a high S, because they need to absorb information at their own pace. You must provide them with solutions that speak to their needs of security and stability. They are very family-oriented.

The final personality type you might run into is the high C. Quite frankly. C’s can be the most difficult people to work with. (Except my wife, who is perfect in every way.)  They are very logical and very reserved. They are going to be low-key, and have a long thought process. A high C doesn’t want to listen to a fast-talking person. Deliver information at a slow pace, and deliver facts only. They don’t operate on emotion. These people do very well with spreadsheets.

When receiving a referral from someone familiar with DISC, I might hear: “This person is a high C.” I immediately know that this person will need time to determine whether to work with me, and that they will want to see the numbers in detail. They will also ask lots of specific and detailed questions that I’ll need to be prepared to answer.

In conclusion, working with members of your extended team in utilizing this process is very helpful. The best part about this is that the client wins. They are being treated in the way that works best for them.

This article written by Steve Hoogenakker of Concierge Landscape Environments. Steve has 20 years in the landscaping field.  He can be reached at 763-213-2410 or by email at Steve@Landscape.Pro.

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