This one isn’t just for online personal trainers!
The techniques here can be applied to communicating with offline clients when you’re not face to face.
We’re going to use a principle you should be familiar with from your PT school days, and apply those principles to your everyday messaging + communicating.
You will start to see this pop up everywhere, too.
Client DISC Personality Types
DISC doesn’t try to determine someone’s personality exactly. It’s best to to think of DISC as describing someone’s natural behavioural tendencies. It’s completely possible that someone falls into a particular behaviour style, but has overridden a natural “weakness” associated with that type.
It’s also important to recognise that no type is better or worse than the others, they’re just different!
Hopefully, you’re all across the different types. But it’s likely some of it has slipped from your mind, so just as a refresher:
D – Dominant
When someone has a D personality type, they are by nature outgoing and task-oriented. A D is direct, assertive, and decisive. They seek challenges and control, and are very comfortable with conflict.
I – Influential
Individuals with the I personality type are outgoing and people-oriented. They’re confident, enjoy people, and get excited to explore fresh ideas and new projects. I’s are sincerely interested in the feelings of others, and generally considered to be charming by those they interact with.
S – Steady
People with the S personality type are by nature reserved and people-oriented. They are innately supportive, sympathetic, and place high value on positive interactions. An S enjoys routine, consistency, and cooperation.
C – Calculating
Someone with the C personality type is by nature reserved and task-oriented. They are very analytical, detail-oriented, and logical, ignoring emotions and quickly changing their mind when presented with new information. C’s naturally gravitate toward process, structure, and rules.
(From ‘CrystalKnows’ – a new web service that predicts a contact’s personality type, based on their writing style + social media accounts. Watch this space, interesting stuff coming from them soon).
Training for personality types
When we were going through our PT training, we were shown examples of different personality types – according to ‘DISC’ profiles. This was useful to learn alongside the ‘do’s and don’ts of training technique for each personality type.
If you had a client that responds best to the ‘drill sergeant’ (D type) of instruction, they would likely see the best results if you applied that technique.
On the other side of the coin, the ‘C’ type of personality would not respond well to this style at all, and may not show up for their next session.
It is a trainers’ responsibility to be adaptable and supportive, no matter which way the client needs.
Some of the best trainers are simply the most perceptive of client needs, and the most adaptable.
But what happens outside of the gym?
Communicating for Personality types
I want you to think about your ‘outside-of-the-gym’ communication.
That could refer to sending personal texts, or the same email or SMS to a SGT or bootcamp group. (or even a group chat/post on Facebook.)
You can communicate in a way that is accessible to all personality types – meaning no ambiguity, but is that enough?
Is that communicating with influence?
What works for 1 or 2 types may not be well-received by others.
If you tend to write in a very ‘natural’ or conversational way (such as you would communicate in person), then this can be even easier to observe:
How often do you send an email or a text, and someone will completely take it the wrong way?
You should also take particular note if you are in a position of leadership and are dealing with subordinates.
You need to apply the same principles of DISC personality type training for clients, when you communicate with them.
Other than saving time re-explaining what you’ve already said in messages, you can use the DISC principle to be more successful in getting what you want.
When you deal with hard things, saying no to an unreasonable request, rejecting job applicants, or selling something – DISC could be your saviour.
Converting a client who has expressed interest
Familiarising yourself with, and applying the DISC strategy will help you immensely with your client interactions.
It can be the difference of sending an email that will get a client to want to sign with you, and pissing them off.
Further down, I give a brilliant example of an email nobody wants to write or read, that takes this principle a little further.
If you’re curious about applying influence psychology to the way you train clients, ask for sales, and run your business – sign up for my free course below.
It’s free at the moment, but I plan to add worksheets and a video component to it in version 2.0 – but keep the core content the same.
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picked rejection letter – because even though it’s not one you would be likely to send (until you start growing your business), it is probably the most difficult email for me to send or receive. Ouch. Yikes. Nobody likes rejection.
It’s not me, it’s you: I type
Guess which Personality type would be the least receptive to the following rejection letter?
Subject: Moving forward
Thanks so much for coming in to meet the team yesterday. While I enjoyed our meeting, I want to tell you that we’ve decided to hire a different candidate for the position.
It was really tough decision, and ultimately came down to experience with our technology. Please keep in touch, as we may have other opportunities to work together in the future!
If you are a C or an S type, you probably felt like I was a little bit insincere.
You should be direct and to the point, and include as many detailed reasons as you can.
This is a really great rejection letter to receive, if you are an Id personality type (Primary: Influential, Secondary: Dominant) person like I am.
It’s not me, it’s you: C type
This (Ci) is my polar opposite personality type, so the below example is highly irritating to me.
Just cut to the chase, man.
But it is a brilliant example of how to communicate the first example in a manner that will be much more respected by the personality type receiving it.
Subject: Position update + feedback
Thank you for taking the time to interview for the position yesterday. I am unfortunately writing to inform you that we will not be extending you a job offer for this role.
We had many well-qualified candidates that we believed could do the job well, including you, and the fact that we could not bring on multiple people was a simple result of our budget constraints. Rest assured, you have a very impressive skill set and I have complete confidence that you will find a comparable opportunity quite soon.
To give you some more detailed feedback on the interview itself:
- Your design portfolio was great, but very focused on only a couple of projects. It would have been great to view a more well-rounded overview of your work.
- You seemed a bit nervous at first, but seemed to get along well with the team after a few minutes. I thought it was quite helpful to hear about your leadership experience at your last job, and it became clear to me that you can effectively articulate ideas to a group.
- I did notice that you were fairly tentative about the idea of working some irregular hours. If that’s something that makes you anxious, I would encourage you to seek opportunities with some larger companies, where a more established structure exists.
Please keep me updated as you continue to hone your skills and progress in your career. There might be an opportunity to work together in the future, and I am happy to share new position openings as the emerge.
Rob Di Toro
Notice the contrast between the two examples?
Have a really good think – which one would you feel more comfortable receiving?
The last client you spoke with: If you were breaking up with them as their trainer – which style would they prefer to receive?