June 16

Talking Personality with Dr. Tony Alessandra PhD


Dr. Tony Alessandra has a street-wise, college-smart perspective on business, having been raised in the housing projects of NYC to eventually realizing success as a graduate professor of marketing, entrepreneur, business author, and hall-of-fame keynote speaker. He earned a BBA from the Univ. of Notre Dame, an MBA from the Univ. of Connecticut and his PhD in marketing from Georgia State University.

In addition to being president of Assessment Business Center, a company that offers online 360º assessments, Tony is also a founding partner in The Cyrano Group and Platinum Rule Group--companies which have successfully combined cutting-edge technology and proven psychology to give salespeople the ability to build and maintain positive relationships with hundreds of clients and prospects.

Dr. Alessandra is a prolific author with 27 books translated into over 50 foreign language editions, including the newly revised, best selling The NEW Art of Managing People, Charisma, The Platinum Rule, Collaborative Selling and Communicating at Work. He is featured in over 100 audio/video programs and films, including Relationship Strategies, The Dynamics of Effective Listening and Non-Manipulative Selling.

Recognized by Meetings & Conventions Magazine as "one of America's most electrifying speakers," Dr. Alessandra was inducted into the Speakers Hall of Fame in 1985. In 2009 and 2010, he was inducted as one of the “Legends of the Speaking Profession” and in 2010 and 2011 he was selected as one of the Top 5 Marketing Speakers by Speaking.com.

Contact Dr. Tony Alessandra:

  • Dr. Tony’s Products
  • Keynote speeches: Holli Catchpole: Phone: 1-760-603-8110 ● Email: Holli@SpeakersOffice.com
  • Corporate training: Scott Zimmerman: Phone: 1-330-848-0444 x2 ● Email: Scott@PlatinumRuleGroup.com
  • Platinum Rule Group CRM System: Scott Zimmerman: Phone: 1-330-848-0444 x2 ● Email: Scott@PlatinumRuleGroup.com

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[Podcast Transcript Using Artificial Intelligence]

Umar Hameed 0:06
Are you ready to become awesomer? Hello everyone. This is Umar Hameed, your host and welcome to The No Limits Selling Podcast, where industry leaders share their tips, strategies and advice on how to make you better, stronger, faster. Get ready for another episode.

Umar Hameed 0:35
Hello everyone. I'm privileged to have Dr. Tony Alessandra with me today. Tony, welcome to the program.

Tony Alessandra 0:42
Thank you, Umar. Glad to be here.

Umar Hameed 0:45
When I first came across your work, it was when you were playing with the Platinum rule. And one things I loved about that assessment that you created for the Platinum rule was, it was so intuitive for people to understand, it must have been like 10 years ago, I can still remember it that was like the director, socializer relator. thinker. And that was made it so easy to kind of comprehend that assessment. So tell me about creating that. I know you've moved on to disk now we'll go into that a little later.

Tony Alessandra 1:16
Yes, so I actually put that assessment, the Platinum rule assessment online in 1996. For four years, I had it as a free assessment. So that I was hoping people would buy my Platinum rule book, which also came out in 96. Oh, brilliant. And then in 2000, after great success, and hundreds of thousands of people taking the free assessment, I figured, hey, this is business that I should pursue. And I created a company called assessments to four x seven.com. And put the Platinum rule assessment on there. And over the years have built in other assessments like the disc assessment, which is very similar it has this disc stands for dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness. And if I link those to the terms that you previously use, dominance is really the director influence socializer steadiness as the relator. And conscientiousness is the thinker.

Umar Hameed 2:28
Interesting. And I think when I read about the Platinum rule, when you in your book, I think you had attributed the the first assessment or thoughts around that to Hippocrates. Way back when when he noticed different personality types.

Tony Alessandra 2:43
Yeah, Hippocrates, this is BC, he talked about different, sort of, like different temperaments or blood types. I mean, it really was kind of crazy, you know? But yes, that's how far back it goes.

Umar Hameed 3:05
Brilliant. Because since the dawn of time, people have to be wondering, you know, look at like, a guy over there. Why is he so XYZ and they were probably chatting about it around the fire. So it's this need to understand other human beings is kind of hot wired into our survival mechanism?

Tony Alessandra 3:20
Oh, absolutely. You know, why are some people quiet and others are chatty? Why are some people, you know, get to the point and other people like to, you know, socialize before getting down to business. I mean, there's a lot of interesting differences in people. And with our model, the Platinum rule model, the broad Platinum rule model. So Platinum rule is Do unto others as they would have you do unto them. So we could use any kind of terminology for that. And the Platinum rule concept, you know, I don't know if you remember that book, best selling book called Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.

Umar Hameed 3:59
Yes. I did.

Tony Alessandra 3:59
Remember that. Yeah, so that was a best selling book. And really it. It is the essence of the Platinum rule. The the premise of the book was, men speak Martian, women speak Venetian. And if men wanted to understand and get along better communicate more effectively with women, they would learn to speak Venetian and understand it. And women, if you want to communicate more effectively with them, you would learn how to both speak and understand, Marcian, that is the Platinum rule, the Platinum rule is adjusting your style, to, to meet the needs and to communicate more effectively with with people who are of a different style.

Umar Hameed 4:43
So what's interesting to me is that you know, at an intellectual level, we all understand other human beings are different than us. But at a practical, deeper level, we see the world through our eyes and we assume people see the same way. So this conflict of wanting people to be like us and them not being like us?

Tony Alessandra 5:06
Well, you know, if we go way back, most societies were homogeneous. In other words, everybody was sort of the same other than, you know, male-female. But you know, similar backgrounds, same ethnic background, maybe a lot of the same religious beliefs. In today's environment, almost every environment is diverse, particularly the United States. And as such, we have to be more aware of these differences. And if we really want to connect with other people, be it social, be a leader, be it sales, we have to understand that people are different from us. people communicate differently, people buy differently, and we need to adjust the way we deal with them.

Umar Hameed 6:02
What's interesting is, you know, at a very young age, we understand this to be the truth. And a good example is go to any kid that's for they know which parent to ask, in what way to get what they want. So and then somehow, when we grow up, we forget that right?

Tony Alessandra 6:17
Absolutely, yeah. A lot changes as as kids grow up, you know, an interesting example is even from a parental point of view, when a child is just getting ready to learn how to walk, when they learn how to walk, they constantly falling down, but we're so encouraging of the child, and we're so happy and excited. You know, and even when they make a mistake and fall down, we ignore that and only focus on the positive things. But when the...

Umar Hameed 6:49

Tony Alessandra 6:49
...becomes a teenager, we go the exact opposite. It's like every little thing they do, we look, you know, we criticize, we don't compliment enough. You know, when they stumble, we critique it, as opposed to, you know, being positive so.

Umar Hameed 7:09
So what's interesting there for me, Tony is this is that we have a different set of rules for different contexts, we're looking at the world, when a child is really young, the rule set that comes up is I need to encourage, I need to focus on the positive, we need to make sure everything's amazing. And then as you said, as we get older, we get a different set of rules come up, like I need to get them ready for the world. And we don't even realize our internal structure has changed. When the kids, all the cute things, they do kind of jump out and touch our hearts. And when they're teenagers, they could be 80%. Good. But that 10% kind of suspect becomes larger than it really is. So that internal ruleset change happens in business happens as parenting kind of your thoughts on that. Do I have that right? Kind of what's your read on that?

Tony Alessandra 7:59
Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. It's like everything switches. And and, you know, when it comes to if we can take that example that you just made, you know, how we treat kids, when they're toddlers versus when they're teens. What we, what we need to do is in let's say, let's use an example of selling environment. A lot of sales people, unfortunately, they go in and they sell the buyer from their perspective. Yes, rather than understanding the buyer and selling the buyer from their perspective in terms of how they buy some buyers want facts? And they do not like a lot of, you know, some lineup for me. Yeah. So and you know, some some buyers make quick decisions, some buyers need to sleep on it. Some buyers want testimonials, we just need to understand, if I can use the Platinum role model, we typically break buyers into two categories. One, is they more open or guarded, basically, are they more task or relationship oriented? And the other are they are they faster paced or slower paced? And if we can understand that, we can actually adjust our presentations based on those four modes of behavior. So for instance, yes, it is task paced and fast. We get to the point, we give them two or three options, you know, we that's how we treat them. But if they are slower paced, and let's just say more, let's say more...

Umar Hameed 9:47

Tony Alessandra 9:49
Relationship-oriented, which would be more the the S customers.

Umar Hameed 9:53

Tony Alessandra 9:53
They want the relationship built on trust. They make decisions more collaboratively, they want others key people, a spouse, family members, advisors to get involved in making the decision. They don't like pushy, aggressive sales people. But once they buy, they become fiercely loyal. So we need to understand that we have to adjust our selling style to fit the customer's buying style.

Umar Hameed 10:23
What's interesting to me is all of that I get and I agree 100% with the part that really interests me is this is that we have this salesperson, let's call her Janet. And Janet sells into $5 million companies. And she is fabulous. She's a master of a craft connects with people. And she's dreaming about landing a billion dollar company like McCormick spice, which is just down the street from us takes her a year to get the appointment, she goes in there. And when she goes to the presentation, something about that being so much larger accompany than she is used to all of a sudden sudden gets her to second guess herself. In the normal game she had just disappears. So your thoughts on you know, our beliefs about ourselves, and what's possible, how that impacts the sales situation?

Tony Alessandra 11:14
Well, I'm a firm believer in doing your homework. And whether you're selling a small company where it's a one call sale, or huge company, where it's a multi call sale, a small company where you're dealing with one person, a big company, where it might be a committee of people, do your homework, find out as much as you can about the company find out as much as you can about the people involved in the purchasing process.

Umar Hameed 11:42

Tony Alessandra 11:42
And, and then go in prepared with a smaller product, a lower cost product, a less technical product, that may be a one call sale. And you react accordingly. With a bigger company a bigger sale, a bigger dollar value, more technical, possibly, you may have to go through several different people and need to adjust your presentation to each style. You know, you may have decision makers, you may have the user of the product, you may have a purchasing agent, you know, with a big one, like the company just mentioned. And you have to get over those hurdles by literally learning all these different languages. Let's call them sales languages for each of these styles for each of these buying types within a company. And what about Umar if you are selling to a group of people at one time, will you have mixed personalities in that room.

Umar Hameed 12:49

Tony Alessandra 12:50
You know, now what do you do? You you what you do, by the way, is let's just assume you had all four styles in that room? Yes, you're presenting to a big group of people. And you need to understand who whose interest you will lose first. And that is the D, the...

Umar Hameed 13:11

Tony Alessandra 13:11
...dominant style, the director. So you really and then who would you lose second probably the I-style, the socializer, third, possibly the the C-style, which is the thinker and in last the S- style. So basically, you want to go in and basically say, you know that old saying, "Speakers are taught this, tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them and tell them what you told him." So,

Umar Hameed 13:37

Tony Alessandra 13:38
the the overview, the presentation, the summary. So basically, you go in if you have a group of people and basically say, "Alright, here's the bottom line issue of what we're going to cover today. Here's what makes it unique and different and exciting." You notice what I'm getting now I'm getting the...

Umar Hameed 13:57

Tony Alessandra 13:57
...socializer here's the step by step process we will take today the agenda so to speak. Now I got the C in there the thinker. And here's how it affects the people within the company and your customers now I grabbed the S the relator then I go through that same thing. Here's the bottom line benefits, you know in my presentation and and go through the whole presentation in that order. summarize it in that order, and that's it. Now I got everybody.

Umar Hameed 14:30
I love it. That actually makes a lot of sense. And it kind of maps over to some other systems that I've seen for teaching. Have you ever come across a system called format?

Tony Alessandra 14:41
I have not. No. What is it?

Umar Hameed 14:43
There's certain people like, my wife used to be a person like this, bottom line it for me kinda, kind of gal. So it's like start off with him, why is this important for you to pay attention. And you get those D's coming on board just like you said.

Tony Alessandra 14:55

Umar Hameed 14:56
And then the what people are the people that are coming about the process, you know, how does this work? Give me the steps of doing this?

Tony Alessandra 15:03

Umar Hameed 15:04
Which isn't quite socializer but it's more like the process people get happy with it.

Tony Alessandra 15:10
Yeah. [Garbled]

Umar Hameed 15:10
And then go into people like me and possibly you, the people that are like, you know, shut up already. And I just let me play with it and the experiential kind of learners. And then the last thing they had in their system were the people that asked the what if questions, like "Would this disc profile work if we were in Australia?" and you're wondering, "What, why are you asking that?" So I like it, when different things kind of line up. It just lets you know that there's a greater truth working here and just makes me feel more comfortable.

Tony Alessandra 15:39
Yeah, absolutely. So it's, it's very similar. You know, we're adjusting our presentation based on the audience. You I know, one of your previous podcasts was with Jim Cathcart, and...

Umar Hameed 15:56
Yes, brilliant guy.

Tony Alessandra 15:57
Yeah. And Jim Cathcart and I, we, we co-authored many products over the years one was called relationship strategies. And, you know, that that's really what it's all about. It's, you know, this whole concept of, of adjusting our style, and our communication, to connect with other people. It's as simple as that, you know, that old saying, When in Rome, do as the Romans,

Umar Hameed 16:26

Tony Alessandra 16:26
That is the Platinum rule is it's, you know, hey, depending on who you're talking to, if you really want to connect, connect at their level, not necessarily yours.

Umar Hameed 16:38
And Tony, I couldn't agree more, because I think a lot of, in the general public, sometimes that's seen as you're trying to manipulate, but the know what we're trying to do is to communicate in a way that allows the other person to understand it in the most easiest way possible, you're honoring someone by taking the time to do this.

Tony Alessandra 16:56
Yes. And let me, let me address that issue of manipulation, because it does come up every so often. I believe that, Nick, there's negative manipulation. Negative...

Umar Hameed 17:07

Tony Alessandra 17:07
...manipulation is where I am trying to control your behavior, preferably from my benefit. And positive manipulation is where I'm changing my behavior to benefit the relationship, to lower interpersonal tension to communicate more effectively. I'm not trying to change you, I'm changing me. A good example of that Umar is, let's say somebody is a heavy smoker.

Umar Hameed 17:34

Tony Alessandra 17:19
And they're, they're going on a sales presentation, and they did their homework in advance, realize the person they're calling on has never smoked in their life. So when they go in for that presentation, for however long it lasts, the person is not going to smoke, the person is not even going to ask, do you mind if I smoke, they will adapt their behavior, so as to make the other person feel more comfortable with the relationship. Now, do you call that manipulation in relating myself but not manipulating you?

Umar Hameed 18:13
I agree, Tony. It's, I believe that it's 100% my responsibility to make sure I connect with Tony. And if Tony happened to be doing the same thing, we have this amazing conversation that might last an hour, but feel like 10 minutes because it was just flowing so well. And for the listeners out there, when you use these techniques that Tony is talking about, one of the things you can notice is when you're talking with someone in their language, you will notice that the head nods. Those microscopic little nods is their unconscious mind saying, you get me, you connect with me. And so that I always look for as an indicator. When I'm connecting with someone if I'm getting those little microscopic head nods that means I'm connecting at a much deeper level.

Tony Alessandra 18:58
Yeah. And also look for one other thing, Umar, and...

Umar Hameed 19:00
Oh, tell me.

Tony Alessandra 19:01
...for how many people look for this. So yeah, yes, the microscopic head nods look at their eyes. When somebody is connecting with you, their eyes are open a little bit more. And when they're not, their eyes are closing a little bit more. When people are skeptical, and they don't believe what you're saying when they think you're lying, you'll see that they their eyes just closed. Again, we're talking about microscopic here, but you got to watch those eyes. They'll close them a little bit when they really like what you're saying, you can see their eyes open a little bit more. So watch the eyes in addition to those microscopic head nods.

Umar Hameed 19:41
And just to add to that, I think you know, that little pink triangle at the corner of your eye where it meets the nose.

Tony Alessandra 19:46

Umar Hameed 19:47
When people are skeptical, their lower eyelid lifts up slightly. And that you can't do that intentionally, it's just an unconscious thing. And that triangle goes in half. And so if you're ready to ask for the deal, and you can see the triangles of their eyes forget about the whites of their eyes, that means this skepticism there and there's an objection you haven't addressed yet, so humans are fascinating. Tony, you're a master of connecting with people. What three pieces of advice would you give leaders, and or salespeople that when you're connecting with your people, someone brand new that you've never met before? How do you decode them in a way that you can connect with them without having them take a profile?

Tony Alessandra 20:32
Right. Well, I would, the very first thing is listen, more than you talk. So ask open ended questions that get them to elaborate on their answers,

Umar Hameed 20:44

Tony Alessandra 20:45
and listen to them. And while you're listening, try to determine is this person coming across faster paced or slower paced? Is the person that does it seem like they're more relationship oriented or more task oriented, so that, that's one thing. And when it comes to selling, not only do I want to understand their style, their pattern of behavior, but I want I want to understand their needs. So I want to make sure that I do a good needs analysis by asking them some some good open ended questions. Tell me a little bit about your business. In addition to yourself, who else is involved in in this kind of a purchase? You know, have you used what, what's your experience been working with, X company or Y company or our company, you know?

Umar Hameed 21:43

Tony Alessandra 21:44
So, a lot of open ended questions rather than closed ended questions that require a simple yes or no.

Umar Hameed 21:53
So Tony, if I remember, right, and like I said, I read your book, maybe 10 years ago, maybe longer. I seem to remember in the Platinum rule, you sorted out people that when you meet someone, whether they introverted or extroverted, and if they happen to be extroverted, they were probably directors of socializers. And if they were introverted, they would be thinkers or relators. And then the other the rows were, are they concerned about people which would be socializers and relators? Or are they concerned about data which would be directors and thinkers? How does fast and slow compared to introverted extroverted?

Tony Alessandra 22:30

Umar Hameed 22:30
In that context?

Tony Alessandra 22:32
Yes. So, I, I have refined that a bit, okay. I would, I would say that the pure extrovert would be the I-style, the socializer. The introvert would be the C-style the thinker.

Umar Hameed 22:51

Tony Alessandra 22:52
But the the other two styles are the the D and the S. So the director and the relator are sort of a combination of both. So these can be both introvert and extrovert, extrovert, particularly when they are selling.

Umar Hameed 23:16

Tony Alessandra 23:16
The, the S's again, are the relators can be both introvert and extrovert, extrovert because of their love of people and their communication with people. And introvert in that they're certainly not as outgoing as a socializer, they don't like to be the center of attention. They even get embarrassed when you know, they're, you know, let's say they're winning an award and they're called up or called out in a positive way. You know, they kind of blush you know, are shucks, you know, it wasn't much. So yeah, when they call it they call it a ambivert. So an amb, A-M-B-I, ambivert would be the D's and the S's is an extrovert the eyes an introvert the C's.

Umar Hameed 24:12
Interesting, Tony, I really appreciate you chatting with me today, I learned a lot. In the show notes, we're going to put all your websites and social media links. Any last words before we part company?

Tony Alessandra 24:27
Well, Umar, you know we're right now and this may date this podcast but, well...

Umar Hameed 24:32
Hope it does.

Tony Alessandra 24:32
We're right in the middle of this Coronavirus issue. And I know a lot of people are suffering a lot of people are stressed and concerned. And whenever I go through any kind of challenge in my life, I always keep saying to myself, "This too shall pass." And in today's environment, as bad as it looks or as bad as it might get, just remember, this too shall pass.

Umar Hameed 25:03
Tony, thank you so much for that. I really enjoyed our conversation and I can't wait till our next.

Tony Alessandra 25:08
Okay, thanks Umar.

Umar Hameed 25:16
If you enjoyed this episode, please go to iTunes and leave a five-star rating. And if you're looking for more tools, go to my website at nolimitsselling.com. I've got a free mind training course there, that's going to teach you some insights from the world of Neuro-Linguistic Programming and that is the fastest way to get better results.


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