© 2015 by Thomas M. Deliganis
A Behavioral Approach to
Winning in Your Career and Your Relationships`
Section One – Cringe Worthy
I cringe a little as I recall early in my sales career, a lunch meeting with a sales prospect I had never before met. Our lunch was at a popular downtown restaurant. I arrived armed with only this instinctive notion: that being friendly, and establishing commonality would quickly win him over, and thereby generate a trust relationship with me, my company and our products. My luncheon could not have been more of a failure. He seemed completely uncomfortable with me from the beginning, and our meeting went downhill with every question I asked.
“Do you have a family?” Yes.
“Oh really, how many kids do you have?” I have four.
“Wow four? That’s a big family by today’s standards” Yes.
“Uh… Did you grow up here?” No.
“Really, me neither. I’m from South Texas!” A long silence.
“Uh… how long have you lived here?” 12 years.
And so it went. By the time I actually started asking business related questions, he was generally disinterested, and increasingly uncomfortable. I never sold to this prospect. As time marched on, I met with him on several other occasions and learned a lot about his style, if not about him. Eventually it occurred to me that I had made every mistake possible in my first encounter. I never really recovered in my subsequent lame attempts to win his credibility. Knowing what I now know, I would never, ever have taken this fellow to lunch; especially not on our first meeting. Likewise, I would have avoided all reference to his, or my personal life. I recall eventually trying to wow him with some important product features; this was likewise a mistake.
Section Two – Naïve Assumptions
In the first few years of my business career, I naively assumed that a one size fits all personal style would be consistently successful with each person I was attempting to influence. Most people I know assume the very same thing.
But how could I have known to behave otherwise? My approach and style had generally performed successfully on so many occasions. So why did it completely and utterly backfire on other occasions? If only I could better understood my prospects’ personality and behavior, and what they value in life as well as business interactions. Yet how could I accomplish this? Especially on first meetings.
There are actually tools that exist to better understand such things. However they have severe limitations for practical application. Assessments such as The Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory have existed for decades. Such instruments can determine a person’s motivational and behavioral characteristics, and provide reasonable guidance on how to improve interaction with other people. In my personal and anecdotal experience, I’ve found them to be fairly accurate and even helpful. So wouldn’t business be more rational if somehow everyone took the Myers-Briggs, or similar personality assessment? And wouldn’t it be convenient if we all had access to each other’s report prior to meeting; and thereby we would better understand each other’s “hot” buttons? We would surely become more adept at avoiding subjects and mannerisms that are potentially offensive or annoying to each other.
This of course will never happen. However and if it ever did, it would undoubtedly be like living in a Saturday Night Live skit. In this improbable skit, persons X and Y would exchange Myers-Briggs reports prior to a negotiation, a date or any other significant interaction. In doing so, they would be poised to accomplish great things together and would soon become the best of friends, or lovers! I would like to see that skit! However, we all know that practical application of personality assessments in the go-go pace of our daily lives is a fictional fantasy at best. It’s one thing to review your own personality inventory, but it’s quite another to allow someone else to see it. I’ve worked for a couple of companies that compelled employees to take such inventories or assessments, with the seemingly benign intention of assisting management to better know how to direct and motivate you. I’ve always believed it to be a borderline infringement of my privacy and personal liberty; because we all know that there will be at least one #$%!& on the management team who will attempt to use the information gathered to make hiring, firing and promotion decisions. I don’t know this for a fact, but I am guessing that the demented disciples of Stack Ranking probably pay close attention to such inventories, as they arbitrarily and ignorantly “lop off” the bottom 10% of their employees. If you are unsure what Stack Ranking is, then I recommend you Google or Bing it. Prepare yourself for a minor shock!
However, what if there really was a quick and accurate way to assess other people’s personality style? And what if you could do so in an unnoticeable way, which allowed you to adapt your behavior on the fly? What if by doing so you could increase your chances of winning in these interactions? How much more efficient and successful could we be? So forget the “what ifs”, because here comes the good news!
In The Behavioral Selling system, every person with whom you come into contact falls into one of three primary personality categories. Each person is catorgorized either Ascendant, Symbiotic or Insulated. Your goal is to figure out their personality category, and then appropriately modify your own behavior accordingly. If you can learn to accomplish this, then you will have much greater success in your career and in your personal relationships. As previously mentioned, this system may be applied effectively in sales, interviewing for a job, business and personal negotiations; as well as daily relationships with significant others; and even people with whom you struggle to interact. In the following pages I will provide specific guidance and application for this system. If you end up retaining and using this system, even a little, then I assure you that your interactions with others will be more successful.
Throughout this publication I often refer to Ascendant and Insulated with masculine pronouns – he, him, and his. Likewise I often refer to Symbiotic with feminine pronouns – she and her. This is because approximately 70% of these three personality/behavior types tend to follow those stereotypes. Also it’s difficult to write using androgynous pronouns. However these are stereotypes indeed; and as with all stereotypes – you will meet, and have met scores of exceptions to such broad-brush characterizations. This is very important to understand, otherwise this highly effective and accurate system will quickly backfire, merely based on gender-based presumptions. As we explore this system in more detail, I am confident you will soon fully understand why, early on, you need to approach each business meeting, and important interaction with an open mind and a clean slate. At least until clues to their behavior and personality style begin to clarify themselves.
It’s also important to remember that almost all people have fairly complex personalities. And even though I believe that most of us have a primary personality/behavior that generally drives relationships and encounters with others, there are many flavors and facets that comprise the all-important “person”. However I have found that if we can determine which one of the Ascendant, Symbiotic or Insulated styles really drives each person we meet, we can lead them to trust us, like us, buy from us; and therefore help us. As you become more experienced with this system, you will be able to take into account secondary and even tertiary personality/behavior traits. Though in most cases, unless you are dealing with the extremely rare well-balanced human, the primary trait is all you really need. Rarely do you really have the time, or the opportunity to go much deeper. Plus, as mentioned earlier, the point of this system is to make it simple, recallable and practical. Especially on your first meeting or encounter, where you will rarely have the time and luxury of really getting to know them without fully exhibiting your own personality/behavior style – which if exhibited too early, can make the requisite adaptation much more difficult.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like a copy of the full transcript!