Author: Coach Jackie Leavenworth Published in the NJ REALTOR® Magazine…
I have been in real estate since 1984 and in the people business all of my adult life. I thought I knew people, and I felt quite comfortable with my communication skills. And then, I learned DISC, the behavioral model developed by Dr. William Moulton Marston. I began learning about this profiling technique from Star Power, CRS and other real estate training venues. But, it wasn’t until I spent a lot of time with an international trainer to become certified to teach DISC that I really understood the system and the power that it provides to enhance relationships.
I have always been intrigued by the “horse whisperer” concept and how well horses respond to trainers who are deemed horse whisperers. It seems that the difference in those trainers and others is in the time spent learning the behavioral tendencies of that specific animal. As a result, the whisperer works with the horse based on that horse’s behavioral preferences, not that of the trainer.
I liken DISC to the method of the horse whisperer. After all, how many of us would love to have one of our more difficult clients become calm and easy to deal with? We all learned the Golden Rule, which, as we know, is to treat others as you would like to be treated. While the Golden Rule is a terrific concept, I would suggest that it doesn’t always work. What does work is the “Platinum Rule:” to treat others as they would like to be treated. The Platinum Rule is the basis for nearly all personality and behavioral profiling.
DISC is a universal tool used by many businesses and the US government. The goal of this wonderful system is to increase self-knowledge first, and then to learn about others. That allows you to better adapt your own behavior to increase compatibility. It also helps to, with fair accuracy, predict how a person might react or respond in certain situations. Just think of the impact this could have on relationships with family, friends and clients. It is amazing to me how much power we have to change relationships for the better. Just as important, it allows us to realize that the people who drive us nuts aren’t broken; they are just wired differently.
I distinctly remember a huge “aha” moment when I was learning about DISC. There is a person I love dearly in my life. I am acutely aware that, for many years, my presence was less than exciting to this person even though I immensely enjoy being with her. I had never been able to figure out why I had to walk on eggshells with her until I learned DISC from the pros. Once I identified my own style and learned to read the style of my loved one, I recognized that her lowest behavioral tendency was my highest. The last thing she wants is to be the center of attention or made to stand out in a crowd, or even be in a crowded place. I, on the other hand am rather loud, I love crowds and I enjoy being the center of attention (yikes, there I said it, the stage is my happy spot). We are exact opposites! That revelation taught me that if I want to enhance this relationship, I must learn to modify my behavior when we are together, so that she is more comfortable in my presence.
Many times in classes, I have been asked the question: “Jackie, aren’t you being less than authentic when you become someone else? What about being true to yourself?” My response: “I don’t think so. I have a choice to tone down my voice and not be the center of attention. The question is: would I prefer to be my overly gregarious, effervescent self? OR, would I prefer to honor the other person’s comfort zone in an effort to enhance our relationship?”
You see, people who haven’t learned about DISC can’t be held responsible for understanding how to adapt to me. The responsibility for compatibility is mine, if I care about enhancing the relationship. If I don’t care how they react or respond to me, I don’t need to worry about using DISC.
What does all of this have to do with real estate? I believe that, armed with the DISC model, we can become “Real Estate Whisperers!” This new “Real Estate Whisper” ability takes knowledge, skill and compassion. We need to explore DISC’s 4 basic observable behavioral styles of dominance, influence, steadiness and caution that make up a person’s behavior. We need to pay attention to what turns people on and what turns people off.
This is the psychology of sales, not the business of sales. We should not be learning how to “sell” people on anything other than ourselves. Creating a relationship that is built on mutual respect and understanding will create a business model and success level that is second to none.
What if by simply listening to a person’s voice mail greeting, you could predict whether your listing presentation should be charts and graphs, or a simple “sign here” technique?
What if you were able to predict what type of information and correspondence will work best with your over-priced sellers?
What if you were able to predict how your buyer might respond to getting involved in a multiple offer situation?
What if, when a person in your contact list calls you, you could know immediately whether to be fun-loving or caring and friendly or direct and to the point or accurate and in depth?
We are in the people business and our success depends upon people who enjoy being with us. Join me in the “Selling with Style: DISCovering Your Client’s Needs” class at Triple Play this December. If it doesn’t improve your business, it may save your marriage.
See you there….Coach Jackie