The short answer is ‘Yes’, but just as there are a bunch of different selling environments, there are a commensurate number of appropriate DISC styles. Let’s ask the question a different way and see if that simple ‘Yes’ can still apply.
- Is there an ideal DISC style for a hunter/gatherer type salesperson? Yes!
- Is there an ideal DISC style for someone doing a more consultative type of sale? Yes!
- Is there an ideal DISC style for an inside salesperson vs an outside salesperson? Yes!
Can one salesperson do it all? Not ideally, but we’ve got a DISC style suggestion for roles that are sales-adjacent and very helpful to the 3 sales styles listed above.
Let’s dig into each one and explore all that DISC has to offer in the world of sales.
Click on the link If you need some DISC basics and want some background on the science behind DISC along with in-depth descriptions of each category.
DISC Basics In The Sales World
Now that you know a bit about the 4 DISC categories here are some of the strengths each style brings to sales environments.
Higher D people can be seen as assertive, decisive, and results-oriented. You could also describe them as naturally demanding, driving, and forceful. Add to that a healthy dose of competitiveness and you’re looking at someone who is determined to get to the close.
When individuals score higher on the I on the DISC behavioral scale you’ll find people who look outgoing, enthusiastic, and persuasive. You could also describe them as gregarious, inspiring, and approachable. They typically thrive at connecting with others. Put them in a room full of strangers and they’ll be quite comfortable navigating the space. In fact, that space will charge them up and ramp up their already high energy level.
Salespeople higher on the S scale of the DISC profile seem calm, patient, and reliable. They are typically excellent listeners and enjoy building long-term relationships. Some things they value are stability, consistency, and predictability. They like to create harmony and balance in their own world and like it even more when they can share that with others.
The last column on the DISC profile scale but certainly not least is for the higher C. These folks value systems, process, and organization, and are usually quite detail-oriented. They value analytical thinking and logic and enjoy data and crunching and numbers.
How do those strengths apply to different types of salespeople in different types of sales environments? Read on.
The Hunter/Gatherer DISC
A salesperson who has to find their own leads falls into the Hunter/Gatherer category. We could also refer to them as Outside Sales. They are not waiting for prospects to come to them. They are actively seeking prospects. And we should stress the word ACTIVE. They don’t believe in sitting around waiting for something to happen; they prefer to MAKE things happen. The more sales opportunities that come their way the better they like it. And who has time to build a prospect list? In the time it takes to make a list they could have made the first call already! Before they’ve officially closed the sale, they’re thinking about the next sale and asking for referrals.
A salesperson who succeeds in this type of environment usually benefits from a higher D and a higher I. A good mix of assertiveness and persuasive ability helps a Hunter/Gatherer be comfortable with a high activity level and provides them the resilience and persistence needed to hear 50 ‘No’s’ before they get to a ‘Yes’.
You don’t need to see much S or C on the DISC for a high-performing Hunter/Gatherer. They may feel that patience and detail-orientation slow things down and don’t help them get the results they seek or feed their competitive spirit.
Here’s an example DISC report for a Hunter/Gatherer:
When looking at this and the following DISC examples, the info we need is in the colored bars. Also focus less on the height of the columns and more on the pattern that the bars make. In this case, the D and I should both be high with the S and C a bunch of points lower.
The Consultative Sales DISC
A salesperson who takes a more Consultative approach to sales will have a slightly different DISC. Yes, they’ll still benefit from having a higher D but they tend to prefer to ask more questions rather than come into the sales interaction with all of the answers right up front. A bit more patience is called for since the sales cycle is typically a bit longer in a Consultative environment. While they’re still not afraid to drive for the close, they’re all about making a friend and building a long-term relationship.
In order to succeed in a Consultative sales environment a slight drop in the D is indicated, along with a raise in the S. This brings that patience needed along with an improved listening ability. This creates a more harmonious sales process in their eyes and harmony is something they strive for in their interactions.
This is a snapshot of someone with the behavioral potential to be a top-notch Consultative salesperson:
The pattern you’re seeking here should be a relatively high D and I, along with a significant presence of S.
Sample DISC for Inside Sales
While a Hunter/Gatherer or Outside Salesperson is actively seeking leads, an Inside Salesperson is more comfortable working a lead list that’s been handed to them. Patience definitely comes into play for someone in Inside Sales since some of the lead lists can be lengthy and warming up a prospect can take time, but this plays to their strengths. They attack that list with consistency, methodically moving from one lead to the next. While they’re not so focused on winning the deal, they do get a kick out of seeing progress, making it to the bottom of the list, and making friends along the way.
You’ll notice the D drops while the S increases. Yet the I should remain fairly high since they will need to be comfortable with lots of people contact. They’re in it for the long haul whether it means getting to the bottom of their lead list or keeping someone on that list for a long time until they’re ready to be passed off to ‘the closer’ (higher D). An Inside Salesperson’s job is to warm the prospect up until they’re ready to be sold.
This is an example of a DISC for a successful Inside Salesperson:
An Inside Salesperson’s pattern should have the I and S be on the higher side with the D a bit lower but still in the mid-range.
How A Balanced DISC Supports The Sales Team
This last DISC sales type is the person who can be a little bit of everything to everyone. Ideally they work behind the scenes to aid in the sales process without doing any actual selling. This more balanced DISC makes them excellent candidates for sales marketing roles and sales data crunching roles.
Their balanced DISC allows them to stretch each category just a bit to meet their sales counterparts where they are. If their scores were too high or too low it could make communication trickier and more stressful. They can communicate easily with those in direct sales roles by dialing up their D to match the high D of those who drive for the close. They can be very persuasive when they need to by increasing their I so they can match the enthusiasm in a top-tier salesperson. They have the ability to access a deeper level of patience when researching a new market by leaning into their S. And they enjoy taking the time to dip into data which happens when they ramp up their C. Their balanced DISC allows them to stretch each area up and down as the situation demands.
Here is an example of a Balanced DISC:
The pattern of a balanced sales professional in a supporting role shows all 4 scores on an even keel, kind of like their behavior.
The ‘Right’ DISC For Sales Depends On The Role
Now that we’ve examined a variety of DISC patterns that can succeed in a selling environment, we hope you realize the importance of determining the type of sales or support they’ll be doing. Only then can you determine the ideal DISC for the Sales professional you need.