I’ve was Stateside earlier this year running a week-long sales management workshop in Miami. We had a ball, the group warmed to my Brit sense of humour and we enjoyed a week of prime development. We all got along fine from day one which made the whole process so much more enjoyable. One of my skills is to get on with almost any group of people.
On the flight back across the Atlantic I was pondering how important it is for salespeople to quickly “get on” with customers to smooth the process. And in Terminal 3 Bus Station, awaiting my coach back to Cheltenham, I realised I have an empathy with all types of people.
The ability to get on with almost anyone is a skill which can be learnt. Here’s some ideas:
- Find common ground immediately. Look for clues if you’re in the customer’s home or office.
- Have a sense of humour. Nothing draws people towards you than a cheery disposition. If you have a default angry face, then change it.
- Read widely especially current affairs. I pick up three magazines each week – The Economist, The Week and Money Week. This gives me an unbridled knowledge of what’s going on. In the USA I could chat about Donald Trump, the Republican Party, Congress and the Fed’s increase in interest rates with confidence.
- Follow the English Football Premiership, this will allow you to start a conversation with most men in the UK. Supporting Manchester United often gets a laugh.
- Mirror the customer’s energy level.
- Talk about people’s journey to the office or venue.
- Know the latest movies at the cinema.
- Have an affinity for people’s hobbies, exercise routines and past-times.
- If abroad, research the nation’s sport. In the USA I spoke about baseball and American Football and the Super Bowl.
- Keep away from religion in your conversation.
I know it’s not essential for the customer to like you, after all you’re a sales professional but if you can get on with almost anyone, you’ll do more business. Period. Or is it a full-stop.