Should you try to persuade different personality types with different principles of influence? Several years ago I conducted a survey on that topic and the results seemed to indicate there were certain principles of influence that were more effective with particular personality types.
My original survey contained a mixture of business and personal questions, which led many people to contact me because they felt they responded differently in business situations vs. personal settings. For example, in business they felt friendship was far less important when it came to saying “Yes” to someone than it might be away from the office.
Because much of what I write about is oriented towards business I decided to conduct a new survey that would be entirely focused on business-related issues. I’m happy to report that more than 500 people participated in the survey!The actual survey questions can be seen here. Without going into great detail, what’s important for you to understand is each question had three possible answers:
- A relationship answer (liking or reciprocity)
- An answer to help overcome uncertainty (authority or consensus)
- An answer to motivate action (consistency or scarcity)
For the most part those who contacted me years ago were correct – people seem to respond to different principles of influence in the business environment than they do away from work. For example, with each personality type those taking the survey responded most often to the principle of authority. That’s not to say another principle such as liking was irrelevant but it was clear from the data that given the choice to respond because of friendship versus a perceived expert or hard data, people choose the expert or authoritative information when it came to saying “Yes.”
Something else to understand about the survey are the four personality types I asked survey participants to choose from. The personality choices are similar to the DISC profile you may be familiar with:
Pragmatic/Driver– This is someone who is more focused on accomplishing tasks than building relationships. They’re also more focused on control of others and situations than they are self-control. Donald Trump would be an off the charts representative of the driver personality style.
Expressive/Influencer– This person is more focused on building relationships versus accomplishing tasks. They’re also more focused on control of others and situations than they are on self-control. Oprah Winfrey would be a classic example of the influencer personality style.
Amiable/Facilitator– This is someone who is more focused on building relationships than accomplishing tasks. They’re also more focused on self-control as opposed to control of others or situations. Based on the roles she plays, Sandra Bullock comes to mind for this amiable personality style.
Thinker/Analytical– This individual is more focused on accomplishing tasks that building relationships. They tend to display more concern about self-controlvs. control of others or situations. Albert Einstein would be the perfect picture of this analytical personality style.
In the coming weeks I’ll share details on each of the four personality types and give some tips on the best ways to persuade people when you have a handle on their personality.
Chief Influence Officer
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.