Struggling to Connect with Your Customers?

Selling to Different Mindsets 

Have you ever taken a “personality” assessment for school or work and been impressed with its accuracy? These assessments are designed to reveal how we truly think and feel about things. Perhaps you liked some of what the assessment revealed about you and disliked some parts too…but you very likely found the results to be pretty accurate. 

Personality tests, usually based on research from Myers & Briggs, reveal why we do what we do. Another assessment, based on research done by William Marston and commonly known as DiSC®1 Behavior, extends personality traits into behavior as a result of personality. Behavioral assessments will accurately predict what we do.

Personality drives behavior, and behavior is something we can observe. For our purposes, we won’t worry about the subtle differences between the two, we’ll just lump them into a single term I like to call “mindset.” Mindset determines what we do, what we say, the questions we ask, and how we act. We can observe and then consider all of those factors when we communicate.

You can train yourself to pay attention to another person’s behavior to get clues about their mindset.

If you’ve ever thought that you “just naturally” connect with someone else, then it’s likely you see most things in a similar light. On the other hand, if you just can’t seem to get along with another person, it’s likely that you see the same things from a different perspective. 

Your mindset is likely different than someone else’s mindset. Therefore, it’s also likely that you will be more effective in communicating with another person by shifting your mindset closer to theirs. 

For example, if your customer is showing signs of impatience by fidgeting, looking at their watch or interrupting you in mid-sentence, then they have revealed a mindset of wanting to get to the point sooner rather than later. Continuing to share technical details about your product would not be an effective way to continue.

Which of these mindsets most accurately describes you at work?

Control: Get it done now! It’s your way or the highway!
Persuasive: Get results by networking, inspiring others; others work the details.
Status Quo: Things are fine the way they are. Leave me alone and I’ll get it done.
Need All the Facts: More information is better when making a decision.

Your first pick is likely the most accurate. Now that you “see” yourself in this way, it will also be easier to see your customers as having one of these mindsets as well. 

How can you apply this thinking to selling?

It’s easy. When you are a mindset match, keep selling with your natural style. When you don’t match (which will be about 75% of the time) adapt your selling style to your customer. Here’s a short list of how-to’s for each mindset: 

Relating to a Control Mindset
Be strong and confident.
Be serious.
Focus on solving the problem.
Get to the point. 

Relating to a Persuasive Mindset
Be engaging.
Share your own experiences.
Be a good listener.
Emphasize what’s exciting. 

Relating to a Status Quo Mindset
Be sincere.
Appreciate their work contributions.
Emphasize how risk is minimized.
Don’t be pushy.

Relating to a Need-All-the-Facts Mindset
Recognize that they have already done research.
Ask what kind of information is important.
Be prepared with data…lots of it.
Don’t expect them to decide on the spot.


This is fascinating, useful and fun stuff. There is plenty of online information about DiSC® Behavior research available for free.

Try implementing this strategy into your thinking when talking with anyone and everyone. A good place to start is by honestly looking at yourself the way you think others see you, and then ask a few friends how they see you and compare.

You might be surprised. I know I was. 

About the Author:
Tom Piscitelli’s 40 years’ experience in HVAC sales training, sales management, sales coaching, marketing and consulting have given him a broad and diverse business expertise. He has developed his sales training and business capabilities by working with major manufacturers, distributors, contractors, builders and utilities. His articles have been published in many trade magazines, he often speaks at industry conventions and he particularly enjoys bringing cutting edge training approaches to our industry. 

About TRUST® Training and Coaching:
Tom founded TRUST® Training and Coaching 1997 and began conducting sales seminars that have improved the confidence and sales performance of over 10,000 HVAC sales professionals. TRUST® Training and Coaching is an authorized training provider for International Comfort Products.

1Everything DiSC® is a registered trademark of John Wiley & Sons, Inc.