Education+Training

The Merits of DiSC Training

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Help pinpoint personality traits in both dealership employees and their clients

In order to understand dealership customers, it helps to understand your own personality traits. Rich Clancy learned that lesson a few years ago, while taking part in DiSC training led by Honda.

“It’s valuable to understand your type of personality, and understand that there’s different types of personalities, and [learn] how to deal with those different types,” explains Clancy, the parts director at Lehigh Valley Honda, in Emmaus, Pa.

The acronym DiSC represents a behavioral assessment tool based on a theory developed nearly 90 years ago by a Harvard-trained psychologist, William Moulton Marston, who noted the four main behavioral traits of humans. Nowadays, most consider the traits associated with DiSC to be dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness. Among DiSC personality traits, "D" types are people that are typically direct, and somewhat impatient; "i" types are often energetic and outgoing; "S" types are supportive, yet tactful; and "C types tend to be analytical, yet compliant.

Workers in the "D" category prefer to be communicated with in a straightforward manner, while "I" types respond best to friendliness, "S" types welcome relaxed conversations, and "Cs" like concise talks.

DiSC training can, in theory, help a dealership’s employees become more effective, intuitive, and personable. Consider: Research shows that a consumer in the “i” category typically prefers dealing with a customer service person that’s willing to share a bit about themselves; if your dealership can’t provide that, you’re fairly likely to lose a sale. Some businesses also feel that considering the DiSC theory during both the hiring and onboarding processes tends to increase employees’ job satisfaction, along with employee retention within a company.

Clancy, a veteran of 25 years in the auto industry, explains the value of having dealership employees take part in DiSC training.

As told to Kelly Beaton

When Honda has DiSC training that’s close enough to drive to, I’ll send an employee to it. I’d say it’s $500–$1,000 per person, per day. It’s either at a training facility, or it would be your manufacturer taking you to a hotel where they’re doing off-site training. What they try to do at this training is ask questions, and get you to learn what type of DiSC personality you are.

DiSC training can help you recognize personality traits in yourself. You’ll answer certain questions as to which way you would handle certain situations, and it’ll tell you what type of personality you have. It’s just valuable to understand your type of personality, and understand that there’s different types of personalities, and how to deal with those differences. So, if you had a customer that was kind of laid-back, you know how to deal with the customer. For example, if the customer knows his stuff and does all kinds of research, you know that you have to handle that customer a different way. It’s basically helping you learn how to deal with specific types of customers.

This type of training is going to let employees know what other people are like. I don’t know that it’s going to change who they, personally, are, but it’s going to let them see those different personalities in others, and that could help them, especially if they’re usually pretty timid. For example, on the wholesale parts side of things, you’ll use the personality trait knowledge. Because, if you have a customer that doesn’t really want to communicate with you—because they just think you should know certain things—it helps you recognize that and how to deal with them.

When I had employees do DiSC training, they saw improvements in themselves. They said that they just understood ways to handle customers and other employees better. It doesn’t just help you in sales, it helps you see that there are different personality types out there. Like, in my department, I could say there are four different personality types. And now we can all see that, and understand how to work better together, knowing what each other’s personality type is.

I’d tell others in the industry to send people to DiSC training. I would always tell somebody to send their employees to it. I’m all for any kind of training. I mean, if you can pull one or two things out of every training you go to, it’s only going to make you better at what you do. 

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