Tips on Navigating Personalities


By Larry Kendall, founding partner of The Group, Inc, author of Ninja Selling

Have you heard of the Golden Rule? Treat others the way you want to be treated. It’s a pretty good philosophy for business and for life. Ninjas go a step further and practice the Platinum Rule: Treat others the way they want to be treated. Fit into their personality, their decision strategy, their learning modality, and their preferred communication style—not your own. It’s not about you. It’s about them.


Customers come in all shapes and sizes. They each are unique. In order to connect with them and treat them the way they want to be treated, you will need to understand their personalities. The Ninja System uses the four basic personality types identified in the DISC personality profile assessment (

We have found that many people cannot remember what the DISC stands for, so we prefer to use the definitions provided by Chris Helder in his excellent book, Stop Selling, The Art of Reading the Client and Winning the Business. Chris Helder is, in my opinion, one of the top speaker/trainers in the United States and Australia, and a personal friend. I shared information with Chris, and he shared Power, Party, Peace, and Perfection People with me. They are categorized as follows:

Power People (15 percent to 20 percent of the US population)

• Time Frame. They are focused on the future. How fast can they get to the future? Can you help them get to the future, or are you in their way?

• Motivator. They are motivated by their goals. They have a sense of urgency about them, and that urgency is to get to their goals in the future.

• Focus. They are task and bottom-line oriented.

• Energy. They are outgoing and energetic.

• Decision Speed. They are fast decision-makers. They need just a few pieces of key data, and they make a decision. They will not give you much time unless they are doing the talking. When you talk, they get restless.

• Decision Strategy. They are risk takers. They make decisions to move toward what they want and are willing to take risks to get there. They focus on winning.

• Your Materials. They won’t take the time to read your materials other than perhaps an executive summary. They want the highlights, and they want them quick. They look at charts and graphs. They want to get the big ideas in a hurry, make a decision, and move on.

• Recognizing Them. They tend to talk fast and move fast. They are often fidgety. They write short, cryptic emails and have a take-charge attitude. Often, they walk with a forward lean, as if they can’t wait to get to the future. Their cars are big and fast, preferably in black or white, because their world is black or white.

• Careers. They are usually CEOs, entrepreneurs, and sometimes salespeople.

Party People (25 percent to 30 percent of the US population)

• Time Frame. They focus on the present. They are very much in the now.

• Motivator. Having fun is important to them. Will you be fun to work with? Will this be a fun process? They like recognition and dislike being ignored.

• Focus. They focus on others and are team players.

• Energy. They are outgoing and optimistic.

• Decision Speed. They are impulsive and make fast decisions. As a result, they often have buyer’s remorse and change their minds.

• Decision Strategy. They are risk takers. They are go-for-it people who will take a chance. They focus on winning.

• Your Materials. They like color, photos, and anything fun or whimsical. They will look at your testimonials to see if there is anybody they know.

• Recognizing Them. They like fashion, dressing up, and parties. They are talkative, positive, and fun to be with. Relationships are important to them. They like to talk on the phone and face-to-face versus email, although they like Facebook. They like any car that is fun.

• Careers. They are usually salespeople or people in the hospitality and entertainment industries.

Peace People (35 percent to 40 percent of the US population)

• Time Frame. They focus on the past and present. They like the status quo, keeping things the way they are. They don’t like upset or change.

• Motivator. Peace is their motivator. They dislike conflict, drama, or change and just want everybody to get along.

• Focus. They focus on others and are team players.

• Energy. They are reserved, patient, and empathetic.

• Decision Speed. They make decisions very slowly. Your normal one-hour listing consultation might take several hours (or even several days) with them. They will not make a decision until they get comfortable with trust. Do they trust you? Do they trust the process? Do they trust themselves?

• Your Materials. Do you have a process? They like process. They don’t want to be your science project. Testimonials from people they trust are huge for them.

• Decision Strategy. They are risk avoiders. They move away from what they don’t want and focus on not losing.

• Recognizing Them. They are soft spoken, write lengthy emails, and have lengthy conversations. Relationships are important. They wear conservative and/or relaxed clothes.

They drive Subarus, minivans, and other practical cars.

• Careers. Their careers are in helping professions, such as nurses, schoolteachers, or therapists.

Perfection People (15 percent to 20 percent of the US population)

• Time Frame. They are focused on the past. They ask a lot of questions about the past—market statistics, your sales statistics. They want data and believe data from the past will help them make a good decision about the future.

• Motivator. They are motivated by perfection and data.

• Focus. They are task oriented and have high standards. They like to be in control and enjoy working alone.

• Energy. They are reserved, thoughtful, and can be perceived as pessimistic.

• Decision Speed. They make decisions very slowly. They may have to build a spreadsheet. They request so much data that they can sometimes become overwhelmed and suffer paralysis analysis.

• Your Materials. They will read everything you give them and correct any spelling or grammatical errors. They will recalculate your charts and graphs to see if there are mistakes. They will ask for more data. You can’t give them enough.

• Decision Strategy. They are risk avoiders.

• Recognizing Them. They are very methodical and ask for a lot of data. Their personal attire, home, and car are immaculate. A place for everything and everything in its place—unless they have a bit of Power Person in them and they take on too many tasks, in which case, they have piles of unfinished projects. Their emails are perfect, with no misspellings or errors.

• Careers. They are accountants, bankers, engineers, and some are doctors.

Can a person have multiple personalities or traits from all of them? Absolutely. But most tend to have a single personality trait that is stronger and dominates the others. They can also have different personalities in their different roles. For example, they can be a Party Person at home with the kids and a Power Person at work.

For most of us, the biggest challenge will be communicating with a person who has a diagonally opposed personality—Power and Peace, Party and Perfection. Power People are quick decision makers and get impatient with Peace People who like to take their time. Power People need to slow it down and Peace People need to speed it up when working with each other.

Perfection People are detail oriented and need to “mellow out” when working with Party People who are more interested in relationships. Likewise, Party People need to be more focused on data and details when working with a Perfection customer. If your customer is the diagonal opposite of you, adjust to their personality and practice the Platinum Rule.

The above is excerpted from Ninja Selling.

Larry Kendall holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from Kansas State University and is one of the founding partners of The Group, Inc., a real estate company with two hundred sales associates and six offices in Northern Colorado. He is the creator of Ninja Selling, a sales training system with over fifty thousand graduates in the US, Canada, and Spain. Kendall’s mission is to help people bring out the best in themselves and their organizations. He lives in Fort Collins, Colorado with his wife, Pat. Kendall can be found on Twitter and Facebook.  His new book, Ninja Selling, is available on Amazon as well other fine booksellers.