• September 3, 2015

Being the Most Popular Sales Guy is Seriously Underrated

As a kid, did you share your cookie with someone you didn’t like? Probably not. As much as we’d like to think this changes when we grow up, because maturity, it really doesn’t. Being the most popular person is seriously underrated – especially in sales.

(Using Spiro, our amazing AI-Powered CRM, might not make you more popular, but it is designed to help you make more money.)

The “likeability factor” can make or break deals. It’s a simple psychological truth that people buy from people they like and from people who are like them. Robert Cialdini, the sales psych genius who wrote the popular book on behavior-based selling called Influence, breaks it down like this:

People like people who:

  • are similar to them
  • pay them compliments
  • cooperate with them toward mutual goals

He illustrates the power of this principle with an experiment in negotiation. Ninety percent of the group who discovered and discussed mutual interests prior to getting down to business struck a deal, whereas only 55 percent did in the group that didn’t discuss common interests. Not only did the likeable group make more deals, those deals were 18 percent more valuable.

I saw this principle in action years ago. My prospect was a financial services company and I thought I was doing everything right until I mentioned our “no jerks” hiring policy. This didn’t sit well with the prospect because they didn’t give a flying f@#k about jerks or no jerks. They just wanted the job done regardless of who did it. They took it as a negative and it may have been what lost the deal. I should have known better – I wasn’t matching myself to the buyer and failed at likeability 101.

Some people are naturally popular – if this doesn’t sound like you, don’t despair. Here are three simple questions to ask yourself on your rise to the top of the social ladder.

Would You Wear a Suit to a Surf Shop?

Your success rate can soar if you’re able to match your buyer. You can match someone in values, interests, appearance, even in speaking cadence. For example, you would dress or speak in a surf shop than you would at a bank. When you’re successful at matching, your prospect will feel more comfortable around you, which will mean they will be more open to what you have to say. We all recognize other members of our own tribe, right?

How Awesome is Your Prospect’s Taste in Music?

Paying genuine compliments is a great way to use the likeability principle. Do they have excellent musical taste? Stellar fashion sense? Do they have a sense of humor and use cool apps, like Spiro? Make it part of your pre-business warm up routine of getting to know one another, just don’t come across as fake or as a kiss ass. For all but the most foolish, it will be obvious that you’re trying too hard and have the opposite effect of what you’re trying to achieve. Just take it easy and let things flow naturally – you’d be surprised at how easy it is to find common ground.

Are You Listening to Your Mother?

Mom taught you to say please and thank you for a reason. Wipe that scowl off your face, smile, laugh, and be polite. It’ll get you far.

Try to start off your interactions with prospects and customers alike with some friendly banter whenever appropriate. Use the three tips above and you’ll be on your way to smashing deals with the likeability principle in no time.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia