Step Two: Refine Your Persona

Are you keenly aware of how others perceive you? Do potential clients grasp who you are, what you represent, and how your products or services can benefit them? Many entrepreneurs are surprised to learn that prospective buyers have absolutely no idea what they’re selling. Others are shocked when they receive honest feedback regarding how they come across. Do your customers see you as uncertain about your product? Do they sense that you’re comfortable in your own skin? Do they judge you as confident or pushy? Calculating or indecisive? A mover and shaker or just plain sloppy? Ask some of them. You might be surprised by their answers.

Contrary to the hype peddled by popular motivational speakers, not everyone should strive to project the same persona in business. If you try to squeeze yourself into the mold of some super sales guru, you’re likely to come across as awkward and insincere. Give yourself permission to be yourself. If you’re naturally laid back, don’t try to be a raving extrovert. If you’re not detail oriented, don’t attempt to answer complex questions off the cuff. Learn to lead with your strengths.

One man I knew was brilliant at engaging others in conversation. He was a master at forming questions and could get people talking for hours. When asked complicated questions about his product, however, he would stammer, lose confidence, and often lose the sale. Acknowledging his limitation, he was able to train himself to affirm his clients’ questions, solicit other concerns they might have, and promise to get back to them with itemized proposals answering all their questions. The approach worked for him because his highly relational style earned him such good will with his clients that they were willing to wait for his proposals. Incidentally, this man couldn’t make a convincing thirty-second pitch to save his life. If he had had to make a living speaking in front of groups, he would have starved to death. You must identify your natural strengths and limitations and tailor your approach to put your best foot forward.

I recommend that all of my clients order a DISC personality profile. You can complete the DISC survey online in just a few minutes. Your responses will produce a report, describing your behavioral preferences and offering suggestions designed to help you refine your style. The term DISC is derived from an acronym representing the four basic styles:

  • Dominance. The “D” or dominant personality is active and forceful in dealing with people and problems. “D”s want to get things done but can be perceived as overbearing.
  • Influencing. The “I” or influencing personality is highly communicative and emotional. “I”s use charm to win others over but can be perceived as egocentric.
  • Steady. The “S” or steady personality is patient, and persistent. “S”s are dependable but can be perceived as sluggish and resistent to change.
  • Conscientious. The “C” or consciencious type is methodical and attentive to detail. “C”s are sticklers but can be perceived as skeptical and indecisive.

Your customized DISC report will gauge to what degree each of the DISC styles is represented in your unique personality. It will help you identify the positive as well as negative tendencies of your style. With this valuable information, you’ll be able to refine your persona so that you come across consistently with clarity and confidence.

Your marketplace persona is what establishes you as a credible provider of your product or service. Knowing and projecting it consistently is vital to your success as an entrepreneur. With a strong, well-crafted persona, you’ll be able to define your deliverable, establish its value, and present yourself as competent to deliver.