It’s not uncommon for people to believe that a prospect will buy from them if they simply offer the best price, or provide the most value. There are, indeed, plenty of potential customers for whom these are the most important factors. But there’s one factor – likability – that not only gives you an edge against your competition, it can actually make up for a higher price and lack of perceived value.
As the saying goes, people buy from people they like. While there are plenty of salespeople blessed with natural charisma, the rest of us are by no means a lost cause. It’s absolutely possible to make yourself more likable to your prospects, putting yourself in a better position to close deals. Here’s how:
Everybody wants to be heard, and in today’s attention-deficient world, finding somebody who takes the time to listen can set them apart. Train yourself to let others speak without interrupting, interjecting, or cutting them off. If you can master this nearly-extinct skill, you’ll ensure that you’re who the prospect will think of when it comes time to buy.
2. Show enthusiasm
Communicating in a monotone voice might be easier, but it’ll be difficult to convince somebody that you care about them (or about your own product) if you can’t show excitement when you’re talking. Finish your coffee, listen to some music, or jump up and down before your sales call, just make sure you come at it with all the energy it deserves. Otherwise, you’ll be just another sales drone sucking the life out of the discussion.
3. Be agreeable
Being agreeable is easy when you actually agree, and much more difficult when the prospect says something you believe to be completely wrong. There’s an art to staying agreeable under contentious circumstances, but you need to decide whether you want to win the argument, or win the deal. Before you disagree, think about your response, then formulate it in such a way that the prospect will know you heard them and respect their point of view, and feel like you want what’s best for them. If you learn how to be agreeable even when you’re pushing back, you’ll almost certainly win more deals.
4. Mirror their language
While listening, it’s important to keep track of the language the prospect uses to describe their needs, concerns, and understanding of the transaction. Use this same language when asking questions and presenting your options. This not only shows the prospect that you were paying attention, it puts things in familiar terms, helping build rapport and understanding.
5. Ask lots of questions
How do you show people you’re interested in them? When it comes to sales, you can’t (or probably shouldn’t) send flowers, so the next best way is to ask a lot of questions. The best questions are ones that get people to open up, which is why open-ended questions are great options. If you want clarity, ask follow-up questions, and always let the prospect speak until they’ve said everything they want to. If done correctly, they’ll appreciate somebody showing so much interest and will provide you with a roadmap of how you can earn their business.
6. Always keep your word
Likability has a lot to do with personality, but once you’re past the surface-level stuff, it becomes a question of character. Somebody can be a wonderful conversationalist, but if they don’t show up when they promise, they’ll burn through any goodwill they’ve built. Keeping your word and doing what you say you’re going to do is critical in sales, even when it’s not always reciprocated by prospects. And if you ever make a mistake or can’t deliver on what you’ve promised, admit your error and take responsibility – that’s what a likable person does.
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