I’m sure you’ve heard of the “Golden Rule” – Treat people the way you want to be treated. It’s a great golden-rulephilosophy for life in general, but in my opinion it’s not the whole story.

Why? Because we’re all individuals and how I want to be treated is not necessarily how you want to be treated. So applying my standards of treatment to you, thinking you’ll be grateful might completely miss the mark. Especially when it comes to persuasion.

Here’s an example – yes, it’s a bit silly, but it illustrates the point well.

Bob and Jane are a newly married couple.

As children, whenever Bob was sick, his mother always lovingly fed him tomato soup. Jane’s mother always gave her chicken soup. Jane loved these times as she felt really close to her Mum.

Fast forward to their newly married life. Bob gets sick, and Jane (you guessed it) brings him chicken soup. After all, this shows she loves him.

Bob’s hurt as he now thinks Jane doesn’t love him. If she loved him, she’d have brought him tomato soup. And naturally the reverse is true too. Bob bringing Jane tomato instead of chicken soup would put a strain on their relationship.

Of course all of this could have been avoided if Bob and Jane talked about their feelings and what made them feel loved – but that’s a story for another day.

But it does illustrate the pitfalls of assumption in communication and persuasion.

The simple rule is do not assume the other person is like you.

On that note, I’m continuing a series on persuasion based on personality styles and how you can relate to four common variations so they feel comfortable dealing with you.

We’ll base these styles on the DISC model of Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness. While there are stacks of different models out there, DISC is an easy one to grasp. Bear in mind that while it provides a basis for understanding personality it’s just a model and every human being is unique.

We’ve already discussed the Dominance and Influence types in previous articles. So if you haven’t read these, click the links above:

Today we’ll cover the Conscientiousness or “C” type – you’ll recognise them as many accountants fall into this category.

People with high “C” styles adhere to rules, regulations, and structure. They like to do quality work and do it right the first time. High “C” people are careful, cautious, exacting, neat, systematic, diplomatic, accurate, loyal and tactful. They tend not to be overtly emotional.


But just because they don’t overtly display emotions, make the mistake of thinking they don’t have any. We are all persuaded by our emotions, and justify our decisions with logic. In the high “C” case, the logical justifications are more overt than with the other types.


Like a Dominance type, these people are not interested in fluff. However, unlike the Dominance type who just want the big picture, high C’s revel in the detail. They will pore over every last bit of information you can provide, read every review, so the more detail you can provide, the better your argument will be.


So when selling to a high “C” always…

•             Use data and facts – they thrive on them

•             Be precise, exact, and analytical – Explain your argument from all sides

•             Keep on track – don’t socialise

•             Focus on quality

•             Avoid new solutions – use proven ones. Remember, these people can be very cautious and dislike rocking the boat. They certainly don’t like sticking their necks out!

•             Be patient and slow down – these people need to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. Rush these people at your peril.

•             Answer questions patiently

•             Don’t pressure them for an answer. Give them time to think and decide. This is incredibly important!

A couple of noteworthy high Conscientiousness types are Margaret Thatcher, Martin Luther (the Protestant reformer) and believe it or not, Adolf Hitler!

And in my own family, my father is a high C. Someone you can absolutely depend on, fiercely loyal, quiet, unassuming and a rock you could cling onto in turbulent seas. And yes, he was a Chartered Accountant and a first class classical musician who while being up there with the best, preferred playing second fiddle (literally) as he felt his best role was a supporting one. Quietly efficient, someone who got things done – a perfect example of a high C.

Over the last 3 articles I’ve covered Dominance, Influence and Conscientiousness types. Next week we’ll delve into the Steadiness type.

Remember, these are just models and useful constructs to help us deal with people. We are not our personality types so please don’t go around labelling people!

And it should go without saying, (but I’ll say it anyway), these principles are a small portion of what we teach in our advanced sales and persuasion skills workshops.

Other aspects of persuasion include how to rapidly gain rapport, elicit buying criteria (so you know what really motivates them to buy) and navigating complex, high value sales.

Like to know more? Call us on (02) 9499-7958 and we can help rapidly improve your (and your team’s) sales and persuasion skills so you have more people willingly buy from you, faster.

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