Win the Trade Show Sales Conversation with Personality Profiling

by | Feb 12, 2016

You’re a sales person on the show floor and a prospect approaches you. Do you launch into a canned spiel? Or do you take a moment to first assess his or her needs, motivations and shopping behavior? There are profiling tools to help you do just this. A very practical one is called the DISC model. It breaks prospects into four personality types based on how they approach the buying process: Dominant, Inspiring, Supportive and Cautious. It’s easy for sales people to learn, and can be applied often after only a few seconds of conversation with a prospect. Here’s how:

Dominant types come off as confident and assertive in speech and body language. They make declarative statements rather than asking questions and will tell you what they want. They are motivated by control and tend to care about results and the bottom line. So be quiet and listen, then sell them on how your product or service will give them power and success – for instance giving them more control over their team’s productivity, or some other pain point. They will require figures and facts to back up what you say. Be ready with real case studies where your customers have seen dramatic results.

Inspiring personalities are outgoing, relaxed and ready to listen to a sales pitch. They are often interested in you personally and may ask a question to get to know you better. These people are innovators, the kind most likely to implement something new. They value what’s new and different and don’t want to be like everyone else. So focus on what makes your product and service different and unique, and how it gives them an edge. This type is also often open to giving your business positive social referrals, so don’t be afraid to ask for them.

Supportive types are steady and reliable and interested in harmony and maintaining a stable work environment. This means they don’t want to be rushed, and won’t make a decision without thinking it over and getting their team or key decision-maker involved. These people are sold by building a relationship over time, so don’t push, but keep in touch regularly to prove you are reliable and trustworthy. If you can, offer them case studies from customers as much like them as possible to build their confidence.

Cautious types appear cautious. They don’t want to chat or get to know you. They want to get straight to the point and will often ask several detailed questions. They’re driven by the fear of being wrong and will do detailed product research to avoid this, focusing heavily on facts and figures. To sell them, validate their thoughts and worries. Since they fear being wrong, they love being told they are right. They will need all the facts and statistics you can give them – so have these ready at hand. They also love step by step guides and videos. Your goal is to prove to them that with your product or service they cannot fail.

Of course not everyone fits perfectly into one or another of these personality types. But if you try, you’ll find that applying this approach will help you connect more effectively with most people. Oh, and by the way, what personality type fits you best?


This post is adapted from an article written by Mikita Mikado for Marketing Profs.