How the DISC behavioural model helps you sell

Make contact, make a phone call, write an email, listen, answer, and close; all these skills are required in the tough Art of Selling and crucially, they are rooted in our human behavior. 

Recruiting the right employee, create effective teams, resolve conflicts, improve commitment and dedication; all theses challenges are encountered by every company, are similarly related to human behavior.

The take-away is that if you are selling something or leading someone, your ability to crush the competition relies on your behavioral skills.

There are plenty of models, solutions and tests that can help you understand the behavior of someone. But few are as simple and as documented as the DiSC model. The reason why the DiSC model is so suitable to apply to Sales is that DISC simplifies reality and allows you to take quick decisions. Your clients don’t have to pass a 1-hour psychological test, you already have clear knowledge about their behavior after the first phone call.

That is why the DiSC model truly can help you improve your selling skills and also your leadership skills.

What does DiSC stand for?

The DiSC model is a standard used to describe the different types of behaviors a person is likely to adopt in different situations.

The DiSC model is based on William Moulton Marston’s research from the 1930s   and belongs to one of the most extensively evaluated, conditioned, and most used instruments. It is used to describe basic human behavior but not to measure personality. This is a non-judgmental method.

The DiSC model identifies four different behaviour styles (D. I. S. and C) that have been enriched with specific colors and express four different ways you can react to a given situation.

> D (RED) stands for Dominance or how someone approaches problems and challenges.

> I (YELLOW) stands for Influence or how someone transmits thoughts and ideas to their surroundings

> S (GREEN) stands for Stability or how someone responds to ambient tempo.

> C (BLUE) stands for Conformity or how someone responds to ambient conditions and procedures

Everyone is a combination of these 4 styles but what separates people is the type of their dominant style and the percentage of each of the styles they possess.

Marston’s model is based on the natural reactions you can see if you observe a person in a given situation. More precisely the answers to two questions everyone will ask themselves instinctively, often without even notice it.

Do you see the environment, the situation, as either friendly or unfriendly?

Individuals who have D and/or C in its behavior style often perceive the surroundings as unfriendly. They see the challenges, obstacles, and possible pitfalls in everything they do.

Individuals with a lot of I and/or S often perceive the environment as friendly. They see the fun, warm, relations between people and an opportunity to successfully do what they do. No approach is right or wrong, they are simply different.

Do you see yourself as stronger or weaker than the surroundings?

In other words, which degree of influence or control do you think you have on the situation.

Individuals with a lot of D or I in their behavioral style believe they are stronger than their surroundings. They think they can achieve their goals through their own will power or through friendly persuasion.

Individuals with a lot of S and/or C see themselves as weaker than their surroundings. They believe they can achieve their goals by working together with others or by following existing rules.

Neither is more right or wrong than the other.

According to the DiSC model, everyone develops a basic behavior which is their natural behavior, their instinctive behavior, the one people express when they feel safe, in their comfort zone. It is shaped partly by genetics and partly by youth experiences. At the age of 12 (adulthood), the basic behavior is stabilized and won’t really change.

People also have an adapted behavior which is expressed by the changes people make to fit into a new situation (workplace, couple). People have many different adapted behaviors.

What are the four different styles in the DiSC Model?

Dominance Style (RED) :

People with a high D-style in their behavior will perceive themselves as stronger than a naturally hostile environment.

That’s why they will try to dominate the situation, to overcome the different obstacles on their way. They are challenge-driven and goal-oriented. They are willing to change if they think it can help them to achieve what they want.

A D-style will perceive himself as powerful, energetic, innovative, goal-oriented, and resolute. But they can be perceived by others as opinionated, arrogant, aggressive, governing, and insensitive.

Influence Style (YELLOW) :

Individuals with a strong I-style will see themselves as strong in a naturally friendly environment.

They feel they have nothing to fear from their surroundings. Therefore they want others to share their opinion and will try to influence them through friendly persuasion. Their primary goal in any situation is to be understood, accepted, and involved.

A person with high Yellow will see himself as blithesome, confident, generous, inspiring, and open. On the other hand, this person can be perceived as selfish, superficial, egocentric, and unserious.

Stability Style (GREEN) :

A person who has a high S-style will see himself as weaker than a friendly environment.

That is why their primary concern will be not to upset or change this environment. They want to preserve it because they feel safe inside. To change they must be convinced that they won’t lose anything.

An S-style will perceive themselves as loyal, good-listener, encouragingly, and calm. But they can be perceived by others as stubborn and reluctant to change.

Conformity Style (BLUE) :

A strong C-style person will think that the surrounding is hostile and feel weaker than the environment.

Therefore, because they think that they don’t have much influence on their own, they will use the preexisting rules, the actual structure to reach their goals.

They want to minimize the risks so they will analyze each situation carefully before making decisions on things deviating from the given structure.

A person with high Blue will see himself as fact-seeking, knowledgeable, systematic, diplomatic, and reflective.

On the other hand, this person can be perceived as pedantic, avoiding, indecisive, reserved, and silly.

When can you use the DiSC profiling method?

The DiSC model is well adapted to sales because of its simplicity (only 4 styles) and allows you to take quick and accurate decisions.

In Sales, the DiSC model helps you to improve your communication with leads and customers. The DISC model tells you HOW to communicate in the most efficient way to different people. The DISC model helps you maximize the chances to get a closure.

When you are working in sales, especially long-processes based sales, you know that your influence and selling skills are more and more important for each interaction with a potential client.

Here what is at stake is your

  1. Ability to understand your client’s natural behavior and adapt your communication to fit it.
  2. Ability to choose the right way to the argument, that will suit your lead’s mind best
  3. Ability to communicate with the appropriate tone, speed, and rhythm.

That is why if you know the DiSC model you will be able, in a first step, to identify your lead’s dominant behavior and, in a second step, to adapt your behavior and communication to him or her.

You will also be able to recognize which client would be a good fit for your natural behavior and which would not. That will save you a lot of time and make you more aware and efficient in your lead qualification routine and sales communication.

For example, if you are an S-Style, that is to say people-oriented, quite slow, focused on the well-being of others, you may have to do a lot of efforts to adapt yourself to a D-style customer. That is to say, a task-oriented, high-paced, energetic, and challenge-driven person.

It is with small details like your body language or the speed of your voice that you make the difference.

And of course, you will be able to use theses skills at every stage of the selling process: lead generation, first emails, first call, first meeting, closing, check-up, customer support, and so on.

Each time you will see your clients, your understanding of their behaviors will be more accurate. In the end that will save you a lot of time.

As a sales director or CEO, the DiSC model helps you create the perfect sales department or team and scale it.

The knowledge of the DiSC model is a key ingredient to build a strong sales team. Because once you know the DiSC profiling method you are not only able to identify your lead’s DiSC colors but also your rep’s DiSC colors.

Thus the first use case of the DiSC model is to put the appropriate sales rep on the appropriate lead in order to match their behaviors.

But soon you may see a pattern emerges among your best-performing reps, maybe they are D-Style in majority or I-Style. That means that maybe your Target Customer Profile has the same behavior and you should hire more people with the same DiSC profile.

In the recruitment process, the DiSC model can also be very useful to identify the DiSC colors of a candidate and see if he is a profile you lack in your team or not. You want to create a team with every colours to face any situation.

The idea that you are creating a team is also very important if you want to maximize the value you can get from the DiSC model.

With this model, you will definitely be able to create a powerful team combination to win the specific deal.

For example, you can create a duo with a Blue person and a Green person. The Blue person will be very good in the research phase because of its analytical and fact-seeking behavior and the Green person will be good at building a strong relationship with the prospect.

Last but not least the DiSC model will also help you to be a better leader.

First, you will be better at resolving conflicts. In fact, bad internal communication is the number one source of conflict within a company. Thanks to the DiSC model you will see immediately if the conflict is due to different behavioral styles failing to communicate.

It will also be easier to motivate your reps because you will know what triggers them the most according to their behaviors. For example, using competition is a good way to motivate challenge-driven D-Style but if you want to motivate an Influential yellow-style use a public reward like “employee of the month”.

Everyone has its own triggers and the DiSC model will make it easier for you to find it.


Now that you know a bit more about the different use cases of the DiSC model, what you do with it depends on you and your DiSC Style of course.

If you are a D-Style, you probably never reached the end of this article or convinced by the first lines you are already trying to contact us.

If you are an I-Style you are checking our brand authority, our number of fans on Facebook, followers on Twitter and try to see if other businesses use the DiSC model.

If you are an S-Style you are talking with other colleagues to see if they have heard about the DiSC model and what they think about it.

If you are a C-style you are looking for other information about the DiSC model on the internet to verify if what we wrote is true and check the scientific validity of the DiSC model.

Andreas LAlangas Blog image

Andreas Lalangas 

CEO & Founder Salesbox

Ps. Did you know that you can set the DISC color for each user and each contact in Salesbox? Salesbox also lets you decide what stages in the pipeline that should be performed by what DISC color.