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Sometimes, the workplace can feel like a jungle: your customers like different species of the animal kingdom, living in niche habitats, speaking different languages.
Unfortunately, a one-size-fits all approach doesn’t work when it comes to customer interaction. You can’t mass market, you can’t provide template business solutions, you can’t treat your customers as data. Treat them instead as the individuals they are, with different motivations, needs, and fears, different shoe sizes.
That means you’ll have to connect on a human level, adapting at the drop of a hat to market, communicate, and problem solve person-to-person. That sounds hard, doesn’t it?
Don’t go bananas and start slinging mud just yet. There are four highly-evolved, 21st century nerds (and a personality assessment) who may be able to pull you out of the jungle’s primordial ooze.
The personality assessment is the DiSC®, which can give you detailed insight into the behavior and communication styles of your customers. The four nerds are the characters on the hit T.V. show The Big Bang Theory. Those gaming, comic-reading, science-fanatic Trekkies perfectly represent the four types of behavior classified by DiSC®. Who knew?
This first behavior describes Type A’s, those high-energy, driven, early bird people who seek total control and power in their lives. They shape their environment by overcoming opposition to accomplish results and are:
Howard is a clear D. He’s singularly driven in chasing women (until he snags Bernadette, of course) and proving that, despite the absence of a Ph.D., he is a highly intelligent and invaluable member of his field. Like all Ds do, he more than proves his worth when he’s selected for a NASA mission.
Howard also demonstrates strong D qualities in his dealings with Sheldon. He doesn’t appease him like Leonard and Raj, but puts him firmly in his place. Oh, and he does NOT live with his mother. She lives with him!
When meeting, communicating, or doing business with a client who is a D, it’s important to be:
Dominant people respond best when you provide options and don’t push for final decisions. Keep in mind that building personal relationships is ancillary to them.
Influencers are masters of persuasion. These silver-tongued social butterflies care a lot about what other people think of them and shape their environments by influencing others. I’s are often:
We know, we know. By definition a nerd is none of these things. But Leonard is an atypical member of the geek squad. He’s more socially aware than the rest of the gang, more adventurous, more willing to stretch beyond his comfort zone. He was the first, after all, to have a girlfriend— who, bubbly, bright, and an Influencer to the tenth degree, may be rubbing off on him.
He’s the anchor of the group, the glue that holds them all together. He’s the designated Sheldon-sitter. He’s also sensitive to people’s perceptions of him, none more so than his critical and distant mother.
When meeting, communicating, or doing business with a client who is an I, it’s important to be:
Influencers respond best when you ask questions to get them back on track and spend time building a personal relationship.
Stable and even-keeled, S’s are the level keeping the group on an even plane. They are patient, persistent, and thoughtful and believe in cooperating/collaborating with others to complete a task. They are:
Raj, for all his hopeless—and persistent—fumbling with women, is still sweet and lovable. Shy and quiet, he’s like the beating heart of the group, keeping everyone in rhythm. Raj isn’t one for conflict and doesn’t really mind being the butt of the joke, especially if it’s about his status as the token minority. He’s very loyal—if his bromance with Howard is any indication!
When meeting, communicating, or doing business with a client who is an S, it’s important to be:
Steady people respond best when you avoid meeting too fast, allow them to make decisions, and build a personal relationship.
This behavior describes those obsessive-compulsive types, who revere structure and organization. They believe in working conscientiously within the bounds of existing circumstances to ensure quality and accuracy. C’s are often:
Sheldon is the epitome of Conscientiousness. A vintage-superhero-t-shirt-wearing super geek, he lives by the axiom of logic and is literal-minded to a fault (he once tried to use science to devise the perfect joke.)
He’s deliriously systematic, sorting his breakfast cereal numerically by fiber content and creating the Roommate Agreement, a veritable tome, which outlines tedium such as the temperature of the thermostat and a bathroom schedule.
Believing firmly in his intellectual superiority, he has no interest in socializing, no time for the world outside of science, comic books, and obscure factoids.
When meeting, communicating, or doing business with a client who is a C, it’s important to be:
C’s respond best when you present information in an orderly, step-by-step process. Personal relationships are not a priority.
Can you identify clients who possess these traits? Armed with this knowledge, how can you better communicate with them? Sound off in the comments!