EPISODE 289: Personality Expert Merrick Rosenberg Explains How Identifying Whether Your Prospect is an Eagle, Owl, Dove or Parrot Will Determine Your Success With Them 

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[EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a replay of the OPTIMAL SALES MINDSET Webinar sponsored by the Institute for Excellence in Sales and hosted by Fred Diamond on October 15, 2020. It featured Personality Enthusiast, speaker and author Merrick Rosenberg.]

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EPISODE 289: Personality Expert Merrick Rosenberg Explains How Identifying Whether Your Prospect is an Eagle, Owl, Dove or Parrot Will Determine Your Success With Them

MERRICK’S TIP TO EMERGING SALES LEADERS: “If you’re selling to someone and their style is different than yours, one of you is going to leave that interaction exhausted and it better be you because it takes energy to flex. Do you want your customer flexing, or do you want to be the one who is flexing? Notice how if you are imposing your style on your customer, you’re focusing on YOUR needs, not on THEIR needs.”

Merrick Rosenberg: Let’s do it. First of all, Fred, thank you for having me, IES does great work and it’s great to be a part of it. We’re going to have some fun. I know most people at some point have taken some type of personality assessment, in fact, I spoke at an event, it was a lot of fun. I was talking at an event and I was talking to a massive group of sales folks and I said, “I want you to raise your hand if you have taken some type of personality assessment throughout your career.” How many hands do you think went up?

Fred Diamond: Either a hundred or zero.

Merrick Rosenberg: A hundred percent, literally every hand in the room was like, “Yeah, of course, we’re using this stuff.” I turn to them and I say, “This is fantastic because if you have learned about personality styles, maybe it’s the DISC model, maybe it’s some color system, maybe it’s some other model, you must be infusing it into everything you do every day. It must be how you interact with new customers, how you even leave a voicemail for a customer, how you pitch a customer, how you try to close the deal, it must be a part of everything you do. Raise your hand if that’s true.” How many hands do you think went up for that question?

Fred Diamond: I would say a hundred hands. We have a great audience here, by the way, Merrick. We have people from all over the world.

Merrick Rosenberg: That’s awesome.

Fred Diamond: I see some people here from DC, we’ve got some people from your neck of the woods over in Jersey as well, they’re excited.

Merrick Rosenberg: Yeah, just outside of Philly. Here’s the interesting thing, everybody knows the styles but most people aren’t incorporating them in a way that transforms how they sell. What I want to do is I want to show you how we can reinvent the four personality styles so that people can be using them all the time. Let’s start off and I’ll show you what I’ve done. First of all, you see these four birds here, let’s get rid of this alphabet soup of letters, people just don’t remember it. In fact, it’s almost like an intermediate step, you have to go like, “Which one’s the D again? Which is the I?” By the way, not picking on the DISC model, I used DISC for about 20 years, nobody owns DISC, DISC is in the public domain so this isn’t picking on the inventor of DISC – actually, the inventor of DISC was in 1928. It’s out there, I’m going to parallel those four styles with four birds so let’s do it and then I’ll show you how intuitive it is and how you can be using it every day.

Let’s start off with the eagle. In fact, let’s have people enter some words here. When you think of an eagle, if someone had the traits of an eagle, what do you think they would be like? What would be their characteristics?

Fred Diamond: Merrick, let’s see: domineering, leader, dominant, bold, strong, confident. Thanks Amy, good to see you. Powerful, [laughs] someone wrote narcissistic.

Merrick Rosenberg: The confidence, they dial it up a lot and that’s what you get but notice what you’re saying here, confident, bold, assertive, take-charge, you don’t have to memorize this. It’s so intuitive that if it’s intuitive today, it’s going to be intuitive at any point. Let’s do another one, how about the parrot? When you think of a parrot, what comes to mind?

Fred Diamond: For parrot let’s see what some of the thoughts are here that come through. Someone said social, someone said engaging, someone said colorful.

Merrick Rosenberg: Charismatic is colorful.

Fred Diamond: Talkative, fun, creative, interested.

Merrick Rosenberg: They’re social, they’re optimistic, they’re enthusiastic, they have charisma. Check this out, I don’t have to teach you what the four birds are, they’re so intuitive that you already have it. Let’s do the next one, the next one is the dove. When you think of someone that has the traits of a dove, what would they be like?

Fred Diamond: Someone wrote happy, someone wrote interested again, someone wrote peaceful, someone wrote empathy – thanks, Jeff, good to see you. We do daily webinars and some of the people, like I mentioned here, come to them every day and empathy is one of the big five words that we’ve heard through this.

Merrick Rosenberg: The doves embody that, it’s just so much a part of who they are.

Fred Diamond: Shy, kind, gets along with others.

Merrick Rosenberg: Yes, beautiful, they’re more introverted, they’re a little quieter, they connect with people on a very personal level but you get it. They’re compassionate, they’re caring. How about the last one? I’m going to guess the first word everybody thinks of, wise.

Fred Diamond: It’s the owl and we see wise, we see sage, someone wrote analytical, someone wrote data-driven, someone wrote intelligent, inquisitive, thoughtful.

Merrick Rosenberg: What’s interesting is that it’s not that the owl is necessarily the smart one, any of these can be intelligent but we think of owls as intelligent. Every cartoon owl that’s ever been drawn is pictured as intelligent because they’re thoughtful, they’re observant, they have a process and a plan and a system, they’re going to do something, they’re going to do it properly. Once again, the beauty of using the birds is you don’t have to think about, “Wait, which is the D?” It’s right here for us and if you look on the left side, eagles and owls are task-focused. Eagles want it now, owls want it right. On the right side, more people-focused. Parrots want people to be engaged and happy and having a great time, doves want people to be getting along, they want to be connected. On the top, the pace is fast, they’re outgoing, they’re talkative, they’re quick decision makers which we’ll talk about from a sales perspective. The doves an owls are more even, steady-paced and they’re quieter, they’re more reserved. There’s no good, there’s no bad, you’re not just one of these, you’re a combination of all of them but I’m going to show you how you can meet someone and figure out their style from a handshake, from a voicemail, from a LinkedIn photo, from their outgoing voicemail message, from an email. I’m going to show you how you can meet people and instantly figure out their style and if you can do that, you can flex to them immediately.

Our theme for the day is this, we all have our strengths, we all have our style, it’s our natural approach but what often happens with sales folks is that we impose our style on others. In other words, if you’re an owl and you were going to go buy a car and you want someone to give you all the detail and tell you all the specs and all the information about that car, how much information do you probably provide when you’re in the sales process and you’re the salesperson? You’re probably selling a lot. I’ll give you an example, imagine if we impose our style on others – because that’s going to be our theme – are you imposing your personality on that prospect, on that customer? Imagine you’re an eagle, you arrive, you’ve been talking to someone for a while, today’s the big day, you walk into that sales call and you get to meet them. Before you get there, what is your mindset on your drive over? You’re the eagle, today’s the day, what are you thinking as you’re driving over about this sales call?

Fred Diamond: “We’re going to close the deal, we’re going to move this to where I need it to be.”

Merrick Rosenberg: Right on the spot. “I’m making it happen, done.”

Fred Diamond: I got the eye of the tiger.

Merrick Rosenberg: Exactly [laughs] it’s like Rocky, it’s like, “Bam, I’m doing it.” So you arrive as the eagle and when you arrive, the person says, “I’m so happy you’re here, it’s so nice to meet you. Did you have a good ride? Would you like some coffee? Let me take you around, I want to introduce you to everyone, I’d like to give you a tour, tell you a little bit about the place. How about you, how are you doing?” As an eagle, what are you thinking to yourself?

Fred Diamond: First of all, you’re going to be caught off guard unless you’re prepared. You’re thinking, “This isn’t going the way I thought it was going to go, this is going to go longer, this is going to be a harder sale than I thought it was.” If you’re imposing your own personality, [Inaudible 12:20]

Merrick Rosenberg: You’re pushing and you’re trying to close the deal right on the spot, how’s that working for the dove? That’s what we’re talking about. I’ll give you an internal sales example. I was at an event and I was speaking with somebody and she came up to me and she said, “This is the perfect time to learn about the styles and learn about this.” She said to me in three weeks – she was based in New York – she was getting flown to Silicon Valley to meet the CEO. She was given 30 minutes, not a minute more, she’s been creating a new product with her team, she thinks this could be it, this is a game changer. Not just the product, this could be a product line, maybe its own spin-off business. She said, “Is there anything you can show me that will help me as I meet with the CEO?” I said, “First of all, let me look at your graph.” She took the assessment, she is the owl and I said, “Do you know the CEO?” She laughed and I said, “What do you think? Do you know the CEO’s style?” It was such a great one-liner I locked it into my memory, she said, “He is an off-the-scale eagle. Not just an eagle but off-the-scale eagle.” I said, “Let me ask you a few questions” and I’ll put you to the test, Fred, see if you can answer them as she answered them. Remember, she’s an owl. I said, “Do you have a PowerPoint presentation?” What do you think she said?

Fred Diamond: Of course.

Merrick Rosenberg: “Do you have a lot of charts and graphics and data?”

Fred Diamond: Absolutely.

Merrick Rosenberg: Timelines, milestones, statistics, charts, models, goals. What do you think?

Fred Diamond: Absolutely.

Merrick Rosenberg: Now can you guess what I told her she needs to do with her PowerPoint presentation?

Fred Diamond: Slice it down to three slides.

Merrick Rosenberg: Exactly, what I said to her was, “Here’s what I want you to do. Whatever is your last slide, I want you to start with that. Everything else is backup data.” Let’s try to understand why she was going to do this because she was going to impose her style on that CEO and that’s a sale setting, she’s selling internally, she’s influencing. Imagine if she had done this, she’s thinking to herself, “How can I possibly make this sale? How can I close this if he doesn’t get all this information?” Can you hear the owl mindset? “I have to share all this information.”

But let’s play it out, if she had gone and done what she planned to do – this wasn’t theoretical, she’s doing it, she’s got the PowerPoint. She shows up and 22 minutes in after sharing all the charts and data and statistics, timelines, thought process and goals she finally says, “And therefore, this is what we recommend.” At minute 12 she’s lost him and it’s because as sales folks what happens is we impose our style on others because we assume that if I want something, they would want something. If I would want all this information, they would want all this information. I’ll give you a framework for how I think about selling. First of all, let me ask you, do you think it would draw a little energy, a little exhausting for her to have to flex into eagle mode and not provide that detail? How do you think that feels for her?

Fred Diamond: It’s very difficult and as you’re talking about this, we’re doing a webinar a day at the Institute for Excellence in Sales, we bring thought leaders like you from all over the planet to DC when we were doing live events, now we’re doing a webinar a day. A lot of the reasons why we keep doing it is because you know how you should be but it’s hard to make that shift. Obviously as an owl, she’s intelligent. All these people are intelligent like you talked about and to be at the level to be able to sell to a CEO you have to be skilled and intelligent but it’s a challenge for a lot of people to apply things that you and I teach every single day. I’m just curious how she responded to your guidance and how she was able to remove herself as this overly analytical owl to be able to move her company’s business forward and provide value to her customer.

It’s interesting, showing all these slides to an eagle, you’re not providing any value to your customer. Last point here is one of the other key things that we’ve learned every day from the webinars that we’re doing is that more than ever, Merrick, you need to bring true value to your customer today to help solve their problems today because of the situation. If you’re going to be showing all these data points and slides to someone who doesn’t care or someone who isn’t ready or willing to internalize them, you’re not providing value. You’re not going to get anywhere further.

Merrick Rosenberg: I saw her several weeks after she went and met him and I said to her, “How did it go?” and she said, “15 minutes.” I was like, “15 minutes good or 15 minutes bad?” and she said, “I just started with the end in mind, told them the goal, a few minutes later he said ‘alright, sounds interesting, take a run at it, see what it tells you and let’s see what you got.'”

Fred Diamond: And walk out of the room.

Merrick Rosenberg: You closed it, get out, don’t talk any more [laughs]

Fred Diamond: Don’t say, “I need to show you these slides”, walk out of the room.

Merrick Rosenberg: Here’s the thing, if you’re selling someone and their style is different than yours, one of you is going to leave that interaction exhausted and it better be you because it takes energy to flex, but do you want your customer flexing or do you want to be the one who is flexing? Let’s take that first question that was asked, how do you sell to technical people? If we flip the scenario around and she was the eagle and the CEO was the owl, she’s going to have to dial up a ton of detail, a ton of statistics, a ton of data, she needs to be organized, when you sell technical people you have to get into owl mode. It may take energy, it may be exhausting but that’s how you sell technical people is you put on your owl hat and you give the details. I’m going to show you how this plays out in all different settings.

Let’s take a few different scenarios here and let me show you what plays out. In other words, fast implementation. For some people, the ability to buy a product, buy a service and be up and running instantly, that is a major selling point, very important. Other people, not so much. If I said to an eagle or a parrot, “You sign that deal, we’re going to have this rolling within a week.” What do you think an eagle or parrot says?

Fred Diamond: “Looks good.”

Merrick Rosenberg: “Let’s do it.” Here’s the interesting thing, you’re an eagle/parrot and you as a salesperson focus on fast implementation but you’re selling an owl/dove. To an owl/dove, what does fast implementation mean in their mind?

Fred Diamond: First of all, they want to get it right so they don’t want to rush into it.

Merrick Rosenberg: “If we do it fast, what can happen?”

Fred Diamond: Problems can arise.

Merrick Rosenberg: So in other words, you may be focusing on what’s important to you because you think it’s important to them. If you’re an eagle/parrot selling fast implementation, they’re excited. Now, if we’re going to take our time, we’re going to implement this but we’re going to really make sure that we do it properly and you’re saying that to an eagle or parrot they’re like, “Wait, so how long is this thing going to take? You mean I’m not going to be able to have this up and running immediately?” We impose our needs on our customer’s thinking they have the same needs yet they may not.

Let’s take another one, how about level of support services? If I’m talking to a dove or an owl and I focus on, “We’re going to be there for you, we’re going to answer your questions, we’ve created a process, if issues arise we’re going to help you, we’re going to support you.” To a dove or an owl, what do you think they’re thinking when I focus on this, “We’re going to be there, we’re going to help you.”

Fred Diamond: “That’s great.”

Merrick Rosenberg: Fantastic. Now, if I say to an eagle, “We’re going to be there and support you, we’re going to help you.” What does that say to an eagle?

Fred Diamond: “How much is this going to cost me?”

Merrick Rosenberg: Yes, and, “Do you think it’s going to not work properly? Why can’t you just sell this and it’s going to work? Why do you need to be there and have all these extra layers of help? Do you have problems with your service or your product?” If I’m selling to a dove or an owl, I may be focusing on how we’re going to support you. If I’m selling to an eagle or parrot I’m focusing on, “You implement this, we’re going to have it up and running fast, you’re not going to have issues.” Notice how you’ve got to focus on the needs that that style inherently has.

Let’s do another one. Let’s talk about who else is using it. Here’s the interesting thing, all four of these styles may find this important but they find it important for a different reasons. In other words, if you’re talking about a parrot, why does a parrot love the fact that, “Our competitors are using it, everyone’s using it”? What’s a parrot thinking?

Fred Diamond: I’m guessing they’re thinking they’re going to make a safe choice, it’s going to be the right choice that they’re making, people are going to be happy in the company, I’m not going to be the one who’s going to be blamed for bringing in this wrong solution.

Merrick Rosenberg: Especially for a parrot, they want people to like them, they don’t want people to make a bad choice and if all these other people are using it, they’re happy and, “I want to be in with the in crowd, everyone else is doing it, we want to do it too.” For a dove, they may say, “It’s been tested, it’s safe, we know it’s going to work, it’s not going to stress people out.” For an eagle, “If our competition is doing this and they’re getting results, then we better be doing it too.” For an owl, “It’s been data tested, it’s out there, we’re not going to be the guinea pig, I’m not going to download the new IOS for my iPhone on day 1, we’re going to let other people do it. Let’s let them find the bugs and once they do, then we know it’s safe and it’s working properly.”

For the owl, “Yes, it’s important, other people are using it” but you’ll notice that it’s important for a different reason. If you talk about testimonials and other companies who are using it, you may frame that in a different way depending upon who you’re speaking to. Here’s the most important theme that I often focus on. Whose style do we sell in? How do we frame what we’re communicating? The answer is our own. If I’m a parrot, I’m going to sell you like a parrot. If I’m an owl, I’m going to sell you like an owl but if I’m talking to someone who’s different from me, remember, it’s going to take energy but you don’t want them flexing to you. You need to be the one flexing to them.

Let’s do one more just to give you a sense, there’s so many different aspects that we impose on our customers. How about new and innovative features? I’m talking to a parrot, new and innovative features. What do you think?

Fred Diamond: Like you said, there’s different levels with each of these. I know the owl definitely would be a little bit concerned because of the risk that we talked about before.

Merrick Rosenberg: “New and innovative? Wait a minute, hold on here.” You’re right, that’s right for the owl.

Fred Diamond: Maybe they’re a little bit excited, like, “We’re going to be out there, we’re going to be seen as ahead of the curve, ahead of our competition?”

Merrick Rosenberg: Perfect. If you’re the parrot, you are focusing on new and innovative features. You are going to be out there, no one else is doing this, you’re going to be the first ones, they’re loving this idea. Say that to a dove, “It’s new, it’s innovative, no one else is doing it” and all of a sudden they’re like, “Hold on here…” How about to an eagle, what do you think an eagle would say about this? “It’s new, it’s cutting-edge, it’s innovative.”

Fred Diamond: I would think they’d probably be for it, eagles lead the pack, “This is going to help us beat the competition”, I don’t think they’re even going to be thinking about, “But what if it doesn’t work?” Like, “We want to be ahead of the curve, we’re out there, we’re leading the way.”

Merrick Rosenberg: Exactly right. Notice how if you are imposing your style on your customer, you’re focusing on your needs, not on their needs. We have to make sure that there’s so many aspects that we can touch on around our product, are we focusing on the right ones for the customer who we’re talking to in that moment? Let me show you, let’s take this and give you an example. We’ve got this flying car, maybe we’re at the infancy of flying cars but they’re not really out there yet. Let’s pitch a flying car to a parrot. You’ve got a parrot, that’s your customer, you’re selling a flying car. What’s the pitch? “It’s new, it’s exciting, it’s different, it’s flashy, people are going to be looking at you and saying, ‘Who is this guy? Who is that? Who is she? She’s in a flying car, how amazing.'”

Let’s talk about an owl, safety features, let’s talk about testing, let’s talk about reliability, let’s talk about service. Notice, does that sound different? Same product, completely different pitch. “It’s safe, it’s comfortable, it will allow you to spend more time with your customers, you’ll get there faster so you’ll be able to spend more time connecting with your customers.” “You want to get results? You want to be in the back of the line or you want to be in the front of the line? You’ve got to move, you’ve got to get there fast, you’ve got to be making things happen. Flying car will make it happen.” Notice, same product, four pitches.

Fred Diamond: Merrick, we have a great question here that came in from Jeffrey and I’m sure you get this all the time, Jeffrey is in Washington DC. “Buying is usually a team sport.” A lot of people who listen to the Sales Game Changers podcast or watch today’s webinar, they sell for enterprise companies, they’re not selling to a person, they’re selling to a committee, to an organization so Jeffrey says here, which he’s right, “Buying is usually a team sport with several players representing all four of the personality types. How do we be successful?” Thanks Jeffrey, for keying up the next slide.

Merrick Rosenberg: Jeffrey you are a psychic keying up the next slide. Now here’s what I want you to imagine, I want you to imagine that today’s the big day, you’ve been spending weeks talking to that contact and finally they have walked you into the board room. You don’t know these people, they walk you in and there’s a group of 8 people who you’ve never met before except that one. Now, whose style are you most likely to sell in? Either your own which is actually probably the answer or the one person you’ve been talking to for three months. What’s the problem? To Jeffrey’s point, you’ve got a room full of people, what if there’s eagles, parrots, doves and owls in that room? Let me show you what you do.

I walk in that room, I’m a parrot/eagle, how much detail would a parrot eagle provide?

Fred Diamond: Not a whole lot.

Merrick Rosenberg: Not a whole lot because, “What’s this doing?” but what if there’s owls in that room? What if there’s doves? I’m going to do something and see if you can figure out what I do in this pitch for a new product. I’m not going to name the product but I walk in and I say, “Bottom line, here’s what we’re going to do, here’s when we’re going to do it, this is going to put you so beyond your competition, it’s going to take you to the next level. Let me tell you something, this is so powerful, it is transformative, it changes everything, it is going to take your customers to the next level, it’s going to take your employees to the next level, this is going to blow your mind, I can’t even wait to share it with you. Now, I know it’s new and I know it’s different, we’re going to be there for you, we’re going to support you, we’re going to help you. When this is in place, I can tell you your employees and your customers are going to be happier. So, let me walk you through step by step and I’m going to show you exactly how this product will impact your world.” Now what did I do?

Fred Diamond: You spoke to everybody, of course. If you think about things like the Challenger customer and Jeffrey alluded to the fact that there’s committees, you need to be smart as a sales professional to figure out who’s the key stakeholder here that could stop the deal and you probably want to focus on them as well. Let’s say you’re selling some kind of enterprise technology or you’re selling new products to an existing customer, you need to do your homework and figure out who is the key person that may be the biggest objector. For what reasons and where do they fit in? Then you need to be smart about the techniques that Merrick is talking about here to ensure that you communicate properly to sway that person.

Merrick Rosenberg: And a lot of times we don’t know exactly who the decision maker is, sometimes the person of power isn’t the ultimate decision-maker and we will maybe look at the CEO and say, “There’s an eagle” so you focus in eagle mode but the decision-maker is really the owl sitting at the end of the table, not the eagle at the head of the table and you’ve been in eagle mode and that owl didn’t get their needs met. Here’s the cool thing, if you trigger their hardwiring, when you give that big picture and focus on the goal, eagles tune in. For a parrot, the more excited you are, the more excited they are, they tune in, it triggers that hardwiring. When you’re a dove, you create connection with them, they tune in. That’s who create lifelong customers with a dove. When you provide details, facts, data and plans, the owl is all in. It shows us that when we utilize the styles and don’t impose our personality on them, it’s what takes our sales to the next level but we have to be able to read them.

Fred Diamond: We have a question here that comes in from Nick and Nick is in the Chicago land area. Nick, good to see you again. Nick wants to know, “What if we’re doing all of this over Zoom?” When you talk here you said you get into the board room finally, again it’s October 9th, not a lot of meetings are happening in board rooms especially with enterprise type customers. Maybe if you finally get this meeting you’ll see 4-5 people on a little block like people see us here. How does what you’re talking about here work today when you may not get everybody physically in a room for the foreseeable future?

Merrick Rosenberg: We’re living in a virtual world, we have to be able to sell in a virtual world. Let’s start off with body language and tone. How about this? I’m going to show you a variety of ways that you can read people’s styles fast. In fact, I’m not going to teach you how to read styles, I’m going to show you that what we’ve already done has taught you how to utilize the four birds for people reading. I’ll model it for you, see what you think. I meet you at an event, this one’s a face-to-face one and I go to shake your hand. Which style am I? I walk up to you and I say, “Hi, there. Nice to meet you, Merrick Rosenberg.”

Fred Diamond: If you’re getting pretty close it’s obviously either eagle or parrot, I’m going to guess the eagle.

Merrick Rosenberg: That definitely is eagle. How about this one? “Hi, how are you? It’s so nice to meet you, Merrick Rosenberg, welcome.”

Fred Diamond: Probably the dove.

Merrick Rosenberg: Right. “Hey! Welcome, so good to meet you, glad you’re here.”

Fred Diamond: The parrot.

Merrick Rosenberg: Right. “Hi. Nice to meet you. Merrick Rosenberg.”

Fred Diamond: That’s the wise owl.

Merrick Rosenberg: Notice how fast you’re able to do that, I don’t care whether you’re in Zoom or face-to-face, body language shines through. Let me show you a variety of ways. How about this one? I’m talking to somebody, I’m not face-to-face, this time I just have an email from them. If you got an email from an eagle, how do you know it’s from an eagle? What do you think?

Fred Diamond: A lot of caps.

Merrick Rosenberg: How long is it?

Fred Diamond: It’s probably not too long.

Merrick Rosenberg: And what’s the tone? Is it very flowery or is it direct and to-the-point?

Fred Diamond: It’s probably direct.

Merrick Rosenberg: Right, you get it. Now, I get an email, contrast that to an owl email. How long is that one?

Fred Diamond: An owl might come with some attachments, it might have some reference to some percentages and studies and data points.

Merrick Rosenberg: And the scroll bar pops up like, “Wow, it keeps going, there’s more.” You get it. Dove, how does a dove email begin?

Fred Diamond: “Hope you’re doing well.”

Merrick Rosenberg: “How are you?” Alright, parrot email this is the big quiz question for you, there is one key stroke, it is the dead giveaway that you’ve gotten an email from a parrot.

Fred Diamond: I’m going to say some kind of emoji, exclamation mark?

Merrick Rosenberg: Exactly, the exclamation point. It’s like, “Hi!” Parrots sometimes do an exclamation point sweep to make sure that they don’t have too many exclamation points, sometimes they’ll even write a sentence, they’re so excited about it that they put an exclamation point but then they write the second sentence, realize the second sentence is even more exciting so they go back, make the first one a period and make the next one an exclamation point. Here’s the thing, I’ve said this for many years, you can do this, your viewers and listeners can do it. I always say, “Show me a half a dozen emails, I will tell you their style” and you just did it. That’s what you’re looking for.

Let’s do another one, I’ll show you another way you can figure out people’s style. How about voice mail? I was speaking at a conference in December and this is why I threw this one in here. Someone asked me a question and I thought, “That’s a great question.” She said, “I leave so many voice messages a day, I hit so many voicemails in a day. Can I figure out their style from their outgoing voicemail message?” and I thought, “Let’s see” so I did it right live in front of several hundred people on stage. Eagle voicemail, “Leave a message.” Parrot voicemail, “I hope you’re having a great day, I’m not here right now” but it’s bursting with energy. Dove voicemail, “I’m sorry, I’m not available right now but if you please leave your name I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.” Owl, “Please leave your name, number, time you called, reason for calling, a good time I can reach you.” [Laughs] like a list of things that you have. I’m telling you, there’s so many places you can read their style and if you can read their style, you can flex to them and you can flex to them fast.

Fred Diamond: Merrick, we have a question here in another scenario. The question comes in from Vince, we have a lot of people here who listen to the podcast and who are members of the IES who schedule appointment, BDR type people or they have to make a lot of phone calls. Most of them are prospecting calls typically not video, usually on the phone and we spend a lot of time with phone suggestions. Let’s say you get through, how can you figure out where these people fit in on a cold prospecting call when you think you have maybe 30 seconds to make an impression?

Merrick Rosenberg: You’ve got to do it fast. First of all, I’m going to show you in just a second how you can read somebody’s style just from their LinkedIn photo, so before you even make that call you can figure out their style. If they just jump right to the point and they’re like, “What have you got?” Eagle. “Hey, how are you? It’s great to talk to you” and they schmooze for a while, parrot. “How are you? How have you been handling everything that’s happening in the world around us?” and they start asking about you, that is the dove. If they start asking you very specific questions, you know you’re talking to the owl. Those are the clues, you can hear it in their tone, you could hear it in what they’re saying, their directness, the energy level, the taste, it’s all in there.

Let’s do one more, we’ll do a speed version of this. I’m going to guess in the sales world a lot of sales folks watch shark tank so what I did was I went to LinkedIn, I did not pull up a random photo I found of the sharks, I pulled up their actual LinkedIn photo, this is their avatar photo. See if you can read their style just from their LinkedIn photo because imagine the power of that, if you could read somebody’s style before even picking up that phone call. Here’s Mark Cuban. He’s on a private jet with his NBA championship trophy with a cigar in his mouth, what style is Mark Cuban? Look at that picture.

Fred Diamond: He’s definitely an eagle.

Merrick Rosenberg: Totally eagle and some parrot in there too.

Fred Diamond: Also a lot of owl, he asks a lot of very interesting questions.

Merrick Rosenberg: Look at Daymond John, he is standing in a very formal position, his hands are positioned with a geographic shape of gears behind him, he’s forcing himself to smile. What style do you think that one is?

Fred Diamond: I’m thinking parrot but I’m not sure.

Merrick Rosenberg: He’s got more of an owl, it’s very posed, very formal, it’s very business-like whereas notice the eagle in Kevin O’Leary, they’ve darkened the side of his face, they’ve cut off part of his face, no smile, it’s like he’s looking at his prey. That is as eagle as you get. Both Barbara Corcoran and Lori Greiner, big, teethy grins. Notice how that’s different than Daymond’s smile, Daymond just barely smiles. They’ve got the parrot but look at Robert Herjavec, notice not a big teethy grin but that’s those smile lines, the connection, that’s the dove. I remember once Kevin O’Leary had said something and he thought he was being mean and Robert Herjavec said, “Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness.”

He’s very dove, he cries every now and then when he hears personal stories but here’s the cool thing. If you’re going to use this, you need to be able to read people and you could read people from their LinkedIn photo, you could read people from their voice mail, from an email, from a handshake and once you can read them, you can flex to them. This is what we’re talking about with the birds, this can’t just be an interesting exercise in self-awareness, it should be all about application and using this every day. What have you got? Questions? What else can we talk about here?

Fred Diamond: We have time for one or two quick questions that are coming in, then, Merrick, I’m going to ask you again for your final action step that people should take today. You’ve given us so many great ideas. Go back to the question Vincent had in the very beginning, do you recommend creating a customer persona’s worksheet for your audience?

Merrick Rosenberg: I actually have one, if you went to takeflightlearning.com you’ll see that there, it’s a customer reference guide, it shows you all four styles, it shows you how to interpret their style, it tells you how to adapt to everybody’s style because if you can read them quickly, this gives them some tips on how to flex to them.

Fred Diamond: Merrick, I want to thank you again for the great insights today and this is another skill that if you want to take your sales career to the next level, you need to practice, you need to figure it out. The key thing that you talked about here today wasn’t necessarily identifying the customer but ensuring that you’re going to deal with the customer in their mode as compared to your mode. You’re not going to go in with the eagle if you’re talking to the dove, you’re going to go in talking to an eagle if the customer’s an eagle and if you’re a dove, you better figure out how to do that. One last question here that comes in from Merrick and Meryl, Meryl is in New Jersey as well, maybe they’re neighbors. Meryl’s question is, “How does this relate to NLP?” Neuro-linguistic programming. We’ve had a couple of guests, Umar Hameed, Klyn Elsbury who are NLP experts. Give us a short answer on how that fits and then give us your final action step for the day.

Merrick Rosenberg: NLP is that process of mirroring and reflecting back that person’s energy to them and that’s exactly what we’re talking about. This is a language of NLP, this is a skill set of NLP. It’s giving you a way to read their style and reflect their energy, their tone, their language, the kinds of words, the amount of information right back to them. It’s very consistent, these go hand in hand.

My action step for you, here’s what I want you to do. I will tell you every salesperson has some standard letters that you send all the time, the “thank you for having a meeting” letter, the “here’s my proposal” letter. Guess whose style that letter is probably written in?

Fred Diamond: Yours.

Merrick Rosenberg: It’s probably written in your own. I want you to take your standard letter and I want you to rewrite it four more times. I want you to have one version of each letter for each style and then I want you to have one letter that hits all of the styles in case you meet with a group of people. That’s how you apply it and I’ll tell you what I’m going to do for your listeners here, if you connect with me on LinkedIn – sales folks, we’re all on LinkedIn – connect with me on LinkedIn and tell me you’ve tuned in to today’s show and I will send you a link to a complementary Taking Flight with DISC assessment and you can see which bird you are. You can take a free profile, connect with me, I’ll send you a link for it.

Fred Diamond: Merrick, thank you so much for the great information. For everyone listening today, thank you so much as well. Take care, Merrick.

Merrick Rosenberg: Thanks, Fred.

Transcribed by Mariana Badillo

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