Over the years, I’ve heard more than one veteran salesperson say, “I don’t care if they like me. I just want them to respect me.” Is it possible to sell to someone if they don’t like you? Yeah, I suppose. But, I think it’s safe to say that our best and most enjoyable sales experiences involve friendliness, appreciation and mutual respect.
This may sound like kindergarten-level advice, but if you really want to advance your sales career, be nice!
Now, before you tough guys and gals write this off as fluff, you need to understand the psychology of nice. In Robert Cialdini’s classic work Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, he lays out six principles of influence. Just six — that’s it.
One of the six is likability. If you like me, I am far more likely to influence you. Here’s why.
First of all, being nice has a way of calming and soothing a customer’s nerves. A mind that is peaceful and relaxed makes better decisions. Stress, on the other hand, constricts the creativity that’s necessary for good decision-making. Secondly, being nice leads to being likable. Being likable leads to being trustworthy. Being trustworthy leads to being influential.
The connection between likability and trust is so strong that conmen have made a fortune off that principle over the centuries. I like you. I trust you. I go where you lead.
Three ways to increase likability.
1. Make a unilateral decision — and stick with it.
Being likable is a decision that’s yours and yours alone. It’s made long before you talk to a customer, and it requires persistence. You get to choose your own attitude. You get to set the emotional tone. You get to sustain a positive environment. It all begins with an active decision. Make the choice.
2. Practice strong facial posture.
We sense both energy and likability by examining the face. We do it subconsciously, but we make very real decisions based upon facial posture. Internal energy translates into a lift to the face. Sometimes we call this being “bright-eyed.” That lift to the face makes a huge difference in perception right out of the gate.
3. Develop your curiosity skills.
It’s a common reaction to appreciate when others take an interest in us. Your customer becomes more engaged and more trusting when you seek to truly understand their situation.
It’s not just asking about needs and wants. It’s determining to make an emotional connection with your customer by trying to comprehend their needs and wants. It’s a curiosity that cannot be scripted. It’s based on a profound desire to understand — and then to serve.
Being nice requires intentionality. Niceness is not natural in our “me-first” culture. So how can you become nice — or, at least, nicer? You can:
- Choose to be likable
- Check your face
- Connect with people
Do these things right, and you can change your customer’s world.