Buying Styles: Boosting Sales with DISC

by | Mar 14, 2024 | Blog

Unique Buying Preferences

Selling is like dancing. The better you know your partner the better your odds of not stumbling around the dance floor and stepping on each others’ toes.

How can you ensure your success during the transaction? Knowing the steps your dance partner prefers to take will help you waltz your way to the closing table.

Now if you’ve been in sales for some time you know how different buyers can be. Some want to jump right in and get to the close fast. Others you have to dance with for a while before they trust you enough to let you ‘lead.’

Developing your skill at determining which type of buyer you’re dealing with will help. Let’s explore some of the visible behavioral characteristics in buyers, equate them to the appropriate DISC style, and get you to the close without bruised feet.

Behavioral Sales 101

No two prospects are the same. Based on how the human brain is wired every person you’ll encounter has their own unique way of thinking, acting, and making decisions. And this is particularly evident when they’re making big buying decisions.

There are, however, common patterns that can be found that help to place prospects into similar categories based on their natural behavioral styles.

DISC provides clarity on the strengths and potential weaknesses of different personality types. The DISC assessment evaluates an individual’s behavior in these 4 areas:

  • D – Decisive
  • I – Interactive
  • S – Stabilizing
  • C – Cautious **

Knowing a person’s DISC profile helps you understand how they prefer to make buying decisions. A DISC assessment is able to uncover tale-tell signs about their buying preferences:

  • Do they like to decide quickly or slowly?
  • Are they risk averse or open to change?
  • Do they prefer to lead or be led through the sales process?
  • What’s their tolerance for details?
  • Do they like a lot of detailed information or prefer to stick to the high-level picture?

A comprehensive DISC report can provide you with the knowledge necessary to address each of the above styles, but how realistic is it to get your prospects to take a DISC profile?

Learn To Spot A Person’s Unique DISC Style

The behaviors measured in the DISC model are observable enough that you can at least get a general idea which one of the 4 behavioral types you’re selling to from general conversations with the prospect.

This short guide will show you how to read each style in your prospects through just a few minutes of interaction. It will teach you what those 4 core behavioral types are, how to identify which primary type your prospects are, how to most effectively communicate with them, and most importantly get them to buy.

The Four Unique Buying Styles

Here are the four basic buying styles, according to the DISC Theory:

1. Decisive (D)

High D’s tend to be direct, driven and decisive. D’s are strong-minded, strong-willed people who enjoy challenges, taking action, and getting immediate results. Their focus tends to be on the bottom line, and they love to be in control. Competitiveness and ambition are also associated with the D factor, and they usually enjoy a challenge. They rarely back away from a difficult or risky situation. Sounds like a fun sale, right?

On the downside, Decisive individuals are not naturally trusting of others. They prefer to achieve success on their own merits without asking for or expecting help or support from those around them. Should a situation arise where the assistance of others is unavoidably necessary, they will tend to issue orders directly, rather than asking for cooperation.

Spotting A High D

In a sales interaction, high D’s are usually:

  • Straightforward and up front
  • Confident, secure, and comfortable speaking out
  • Unafraid to confront difficult issues or ask sensitive questions
  • Not big believers in lots of data or specifics
  • Interested in practical results which you have accomplished, but not tons of detail
  • In charge, controlling the process with confidence and a purpose
  • Looking for signs of competitiveness
  • Could be perceived as aggressive
  • Hurried or impatient
  • Easily distracted

When Selling To High D’s:

  • Get straight to the point and don’t mess around with fluff and social formalities
  • Have a sense of urgency since they are usually in a rush
  • Leave the jokes at home. High D’s are all business
  • Be confident and competitive but don’t directly challenge them
  • High D’s don’t like flamboyance so be aggressive but not pushy
  • Keep it simple and practical
  • Talk business because high D’s usually prefer professional relationships
  • Demonstrate that you can lead and take command

2. Interactive (I)

High I’s tend to be influential, social, optimistic, and outgoing. High I’s are ‘people people’ who prefer participating on teams, sharing ideas, and entertaining and energizing others. Those higher on the Interactive scale often show a friendly and extroverted approach. They’ll appear warm and open to others, and could be seen as sociable and gregarious. These are social animals who enjoy meeting and talking with other people. They need to interact positively with those around them, and their friendly, open style usually helps them to maintain relationships. By their nature, High-I’s are extremely trusting and disingenuous.

Keep in mind that High I’s do find rejection tough to swallow. Their desire to be open with other people can lead them at times to reveal information or express feelings that more private types might prefer to keep hidden. For this reason, they could overshare and lack tact. If they do overstep, give them a minute and their natural communicative abilities often help them talk themselves out of difficult situations.

Spotting A High I

  • In a sales environment, high I’s are usually:
  • Very talkative and open
  • Optimistic and positive
  • Energetic and expressive
  • Very social
  • Seeking approval
  • Skilled in communicating
  • Smooth, good talkers
  • Likely to talk more than they listen

When Selling To High I’s:

  • Meet them in their sociable, positive, happy place
  • Feel free to talk, but not more then they do
  • Discuss the prospect and make it personal
  • Feel free to lighten things up with joking and humor
  • Focus on your ability to communicate with others and understand them
  • Show them that you understand people and have diplomacy

3. Stabilizing (S)

High S’s tend to be steady, stable, sympathetic, and cooperative. S’s enjoy being helpful team players. They prefer being behind the scenes, working in consistent and predictable ways. They are often good listeners. Higher S’s take a measured, steady approach to life. They are patient and undemanding, often showing sympathy for and loyalty to those around them. People with this behavioral preference are patient and sympathetic listeners, with a real interest in the problems and feelings of others. While other profile types might become bored or distracted, the person with high Stabilizing scores will soak up all the details you can give them.

Some challenges you could face in a sales environment include the fact that High S’s could be a bit more resistant to change than other types. They prefer a predictable and consistant environment. It may be tough to motivate them to make a decision due to their inherently passive approach. They avoid conflict or confrontation if at all possible, and will instead seek to adopt the role of peacemaker if a dispute should break out.

Spotting A High S

In a sales call, high S’s are usually:

  • Much more quiet than D’s and I’s
  • Softer in their approach to people
  • Less confident, more reserved
  • Slow or unhurried which you’ll hear in their speech pattern
  • Patient and willing to listen
  • Have a system they like to follow

When selling to a high S:

  • Be calm, reserved, and don’t get too emotional
  • Be kind and show respect
  • Strive to match their slower pace of speech
  • Show them how dependable and consistent you are
  • Take a slow, steady approach to the sale and let them know you’ll work with them until the end
  • Don’t rush or directly challenge them

4. Cautious (C)

High C’s tend to be compliant, conscientious, concerned, and correct. C’s usually focus on quality. They plan ahead, constantly check for accuracy, and seek systematic approaches. Individuals with high scores in the Cautious dimension dislike pressure and will tend to adopt an evasive style when confronted with difficult circumstances. Individuals of this behavioral type usually have personal codes of behavior, and tend to regard etiquette and tradition as important. Because of their inherent desire for fact and detail, it is also common to find that Cautious styles have a relatively broad general knowledge and skills.

In extremely challenging situations, they could be prone to disregard problems or delay actions until they become completely unavoidable. Due to these delays, decision making could be slow. The rule-oriented aspect of their personality drives a high C.

Spotting A High C

In a sales call, high C’s are usually:

  • Very deliberate and exact and they like when you are, too
  • Specific and direct
  • Interested in lots of detail
  • Quiet and reserved
  • Perfectionistic or very accurate
  • Analytical and logical
  • Methodical

When Selling To A High C:

  • Provide lots of detail and supportive evidence for what you say
  • Don’t skimp on the specifics
  • Ramp up your methodical side
  • Demonstrate how accurate you can be
  • Talk about rules, structure, and systems in a supportive way (e.g., process, rules, laws, etc.)
  • Feel free to get analytical


Now that you’ve learned a bit about the different buying styles demonstrate that you care enough to match your selling style and meet them on their terms. You’re now armed with the steps to complete this delicate dance.

Being observant to the behavioral and verbal cues your prospects send your way will keep you from stepping on each others’ toes whether you’re allowing your higher D sales partner to lead or pulling your higher S prospect forward then they start dragging their feet.

Knowing the kind of information your prospect thinks is important and the way in which they like to hear it, will help you close more sales.

**Note: The above terminology used to describe the D, I, S, and C was interpreted by Innermetrix. You may have seen or heard different words used to describe the categories like Dominant, Influencing, Submissive, and Compliant or Dominance, influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. All of these variations highlight the same types of behavior based on the science first studied by Dr. William Marston. Innermetrix has chosen positive terms more appropriate to the current times.


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