Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

Soften Up

Six ways to increase your likability
Embrace the quirkiness of your clients and let your personality shine.

As a sales rep, you have to have a thick skin and almost impossible confidence. Sales can be a touchy career that causes reps to toughen up to meet its demands. However, sometimes the key to sales and relationship building is more about softening up and losing the tough exterior to make your clients more comfortable around you. In Jeff Haden’s article for Inc., “6 Habits of Remarkably Likeable People,” he details the ways people unleash their inner charisma and likeability that puts others at ease.

The Power Pose

Confidence is great, magnetic even, but not when it’s to the point of domineering. That’s why Haden suggests ditching the “power pose,” which can signal to people that you are unapproachable or cold. Keep your head high, but also defer to others. A dominant pose is good, but showing some respect in the form of a head nod or slight bow is also important.

Think Journalism

In the news business, journalists have to answer five crucial questions when writing up a beat. You should ask the same five questions when getting to know someone new. The who, what, when, where and why of a person and their stories can show that you’re interested in getting to know someone, which is something your customers will appreciate.

Second Place Is OK Too

You don’t have to be the best at everything, in fact, admitting your shortcomings can signal humility and grace. Both are qualities of likable people. There’s a reason people don’t like poor sports, on either side of the scoreboard, so the next time your client has an out-of-this-world story for you, don’t top it. Show that you’re impressed and keep your own personal and public victories under wraps.

Wait for the Deal

You’re courting a possible client, and it’s a big account. Things are going really well and you want to pop the question. If you’ve gotten this far with your potential, perhaps it’s because they genuinely appreciate that you’re not trying to butter them up just to score a sale. So, even though you’re biting at the bit to help out these possible clients, leave them with some positive feedback and…

A Smile

A real smile can go much further than you think. Skip the generic greetings and offer a real smile and a genuine greeting to show your potentials that you actually enjoy talking to them. In sales, your interactions are not just business transactions; likeability and friendships go a long way.

It’s Worth a Little Awkwardness

People aren’t robots, thank goodness. They come with awkwardness and flaws, which are traits you should embrace, because perfection is both boring and unattainable. Embrace the quirkiness of your clients and let your personality shine. In other words, unlace a little bit and show your clients pictures of your cat or other things you get excited about.