By Mark Erskine, Director and Owner of Seller Performance & LIFO Master Trainer and Coach
Most of the tools on the market reassuringly agree that there are four behavioural styles or “orientations”, we all possess and use to a greater or lesser degree.
We develop our own unique blend of styles as we grow up and naturally gravitate to the type of job where our preferences are most fulfilled. This makes us more content and more likely to be successful. However, if we are more self-aware then we start to recognise that greater or lesser use of some orientations can have a huge impact on our results, so we learn to manage our behavioural profile consciously rather than relying on our brain to do it subconsciously or intuitively. We also learn that communicating and relating to others needs conscious adapting behaviour too.Whilst there are many profiling tools available my choice is Life Orientations® or LIFO® as it is commonly known. Used by over 9 million people in over 30 countries it is, to my mind, very user friendly, and has a set of self-development strategies that are easy to deploy and understand.
The LIFO® Circumplex graphic visually demonstrates the differences between each orientation and why opposites normally don’t attract … as they have so little in common. But it also shows how they blend into each other. This is an important point as far too many people end up characterizing people as being one orientation alone…..and that just isn’t true as we are all a blend of the styles.
People end up characterizing people as being one orientation alone…..and that just isn’t true as we are all a blend of the styles.
Capitalising on our natural strengths by maximising productive use of our preferred orientations is the second step. Then we look to ensure we moderate the potential excessive overuse of those key strengths. This is based upon Erich Fromm’s widely adopted theory that our weaknesses commonly derive from over-playing our strengths especially under pressure. The fourth strategy is based upon learning to use our neglected orientations by Extending their use. The fifth strategy is all about Bridging to other people – learning to utilise techniques to mirror and match the profile of people we meet to better communicate with them. Here in particular is it vital to deploy this consciously – especially as this is so important in the world of sales. Finally the sixth strategy is that of Supplementing – to use others to fill our blind spots – who can help us as role models with a particular orientation we don’t currently use productively or provide that input for us with others we may struggle to connect with.
In the world of sales and account management where relationship building and communication skills are so vital to success, this increased self-awareness and a clear strategy can help improve conversion ratios in new business, reduce sales cycles and extend and develop business with key existing accounts by improving personal performance.
Our next blog out on Friday (7th April) will explain in some detail how this can be done.
Blogs previously posted in this #Capitalise series:
Blog 1: Changing profile of the buyer
Blog 2: Who holds the cards?
Blog 4: A new selling environment