The Magic Bullet for Restoration Success

We all want to find that magic bullet to one up our competition to dominate our market. We look for ways to separate our company from the others. Years ago, my business partner, Larry, and I were looking for ways to improve our business, so we attended a conference with several high-powered speakers. All of the speakers were great, but we were blown away by one in particular, Dr. Robert Rohm. Dr. Rohm is an expert in the DISC personality model of human behavior. He explained the four types of personalities and the positive and negative traits of each. Then he went further and did a deep dive on how each type likes to be communicated with, sold to, and what they are seeking when receiving service. 

Dumbfounded by how much we learned from Dr. Rohm, Larry and I sat in the hotel bar that night and jotted down all the ways we could use our newfound information to super charge our company and our team.

We realized when selling new losses, if we better understood what DISC type the client was, the better we could better serve their needs to feel good about us; we could sell new losses easier by catering the sales messaging to fit their personality. We could then better communicate for the remainder of the loss in the style that made our clients feel best taken care of. When on the job site, our team, once we trained them in DISC, could give better service to our clients because they would understand themselves and their DISC traits, but also be able to read the client better and cater their job site behavior more to client needs and desires.

Larry and I looked at each other that night realizing this was the magic bullet we had been looking for. We went back to Southern California ready to learn how to teach our whole team DISC. We were sure they would be just excited about our new find as we were.

They were not.  

In fact, they hated my weekly DISC training at our team huddles. Most of them would sit cross-armed and look back at me as if they wanted to kill me. They could not understand why we were talking about all this “thoughts and feelings” stuff. 

But I persisted.

I knew we were onto something and I would not quit. So, I kept at it week after week. When there was a problem with a client, my first question would be, “what is Mr. Jones DISC profile?” Over time, my team began to see my DISC lessons play out in real life before their eyes. Field techs would come back to the shop and say Mrs. Jones is a high C type and wants proof and details of everything we are going to do on the job. My CSRs would get off a tough phone call and say “that guy was a high D and was bullying me on the phone.” My estimators would comment that Mr. Smith is a high I type and would concentrate long enough to pay attention to the scope of work conversation. They were changing, and you could hear it in the conversations they were having about their work.

Awesome, I thought. 

I am getting buy in, slowly but surely. So I doubled down in our weekly lessons and started to teach them how to become more self-aware of their own behaviors, and how that affected their interactions with our clients, and also within the team. In fact, one day one of my mitigation managers ran into my office and said two of our guys who worked on a van together as a team were about to have a fist fight in the shop. I summoned the two guys into my office and expected to have to mediate World War 3. As the two technicians sat down I asked them to explain what the issue was.

Fully expecting them to start throwing verbal mud balls at each other, I instead got a lesson in how powerful my DISC training had been. The first tech explained he was high D type and valued production and results over all else; he was mad at the other tech because he was a high I type and spent too much time talking to the client and not enough helping do the manual labor. 

Calmly, the other tech agreed with that assessment, but countered tech #1 by saying he felt the clients were being neglected due to too much emphasis on production and not enough on service. 

I watched, intrigued, as these two young men worked their differences out by compromising all the while talking only in terms of their DISC profiles. They never once uttered the other person’s name while stating their case, only the other person’s DISC profile. They used the tool to take the personal aspect out of the disagreement. After 10 minutes of discussion, they shook hands and worked together every day for several more years.

Hello, self-awareness.

Imagine what can happen to your restoration company when your entire team is self-aware. Aware and able to discern a client or co-worker’s likes and dislikes, and then able to cater their communication style to speak in terms the other person is most comfortable. The power in this is life and business changing.

Beyond customer service and sales, DISC is a great employee retention and attraction tool. Team members who are consistently invested in tend to like where they work more. Beyond that, the employees can use DISC in all aspects of their life, not just at work. More than a few times, I have had a team member tell me they could go across town and get a few bucks more an hour at a competitor, but they were not leaving my company because we invested so much in their personal development. 

That was as important as money for them.

So, as you look for ways to improve your company, look into DISC or some type of personality awareness training for your team. It will create better team members, happier clients, and a business that is doing internal work that few of your competitors are willing to do and is a great way to separate your company from the pack.

Eric Sprague

Eric Sprague is a long time cleaning and restoration business owner. Having sold his service business in 2018, Eric is now Director of Education at Super Tech University and Co-Host of the Blue Collar Nation Podcast. Eric’s passion is help­ing service business owners and their field technicians be the best they can be and grow as people and service business professionals.

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