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What Does Likability Mean These Days?

I have done a lot of research on likability when it comes to selling. Well, not just selling, but also life in general. Why is being likeable so important? What has it caused a lot of us to get the status of being the “likeable person”. Are we affected when we are told that we are not “likeable”? What does being likeable even mean? Do we need to smile all the time? Act friendly? Be less serious? What?

I can understand why many people chase after the likeable persona. We are bombarded with all these personal branding, social networking and such, it’s a no brainer why this pursuit is the number one concern before we build relationships with just about anyone.

But of course, not every succesful person has the likeable character.

So what does it mean to be liked by your employees, stakeholders, customers and bosses? How significant is being likeable in business? Or the corporate world?

Is there a more effective way in strengthening or building successful relationship other than altering our behaviour and make it likeable?

I spoke to a very good friend of mine over coffee yesterday. We discussed this topic and we both have different ideas and opinion on what it means to be likeable. She said that being likeable is important because people want to work with someone they feel comfortable with, surely almost everyone has the same capabilities especially when they are applying for a certain position, but likability determines or increases the chances of the candidate being picked.

Now, while I did not completely agree with this, I didn’t disregard it either. True, being likeable is important, but it is not the main reason why people want to work with us. If anything, employees are looking for someone who can contribute growth for the organisation. I strongly stand by this.

I am grateful to have worked with so many entrepreneurs and executives and the issue of likability almost never shows up. One of the many reasons is human diversity.

Today, people want to work with someone who takes charge. Someone who is willing to go first, take action. Lead the pack.  Ultimately, someone who is confident enough to voice out opinions, or pointing out what is wrong and coming up with solutions.

We don’t work with people we like but we like working with people we can rely on to get the tasks done and someone who constantly has new ideas. We are living in the world of innovation, hence people who usually are innovative often at the opposite end of the likability spectrum. Just take a look at all the big business players. Andry Grove, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg or Larry Page.

Instead, in order to build relationships and strengthening them, you need to first of all, be genuine. Get your intention right. Once you get that right, focus on your curiosity.

Ask questions. Be interested. Don’t be focused on what you should ask for the next question. It should be a follow up of what the person is saying based on your last question. You will be surprised how respect is earned this way.

Stay consistent. We all have our ups and downs. Our moods should not dictate how we speak to people. People should know what to expect when they speak to you. Always maintain the same level of respect whenever you talk to people even when you don’t feel like it.

Do NOT expect people to like you. If anything, likability is an effect, it is NOT A CAUSE. Don’t fall prey into the misconception that likability should come naturally, or that it is the single most important trait when going for job interviews, or it belongs to a few lucky people; the attractive looking ones, or the social butterflies, or the talented.

 

Be The Last Person To End The Negotiation

Negotiation for some people means “somebody wins and someone else loses.” The truth is far from it. The word “negotiation” comes from the Latin word “negotiatius” means to continue doing business by conferring with another to arrive at an agreement. Simply put; A win-win situation.

Adding more value to a request of a lower price means both sides win. But how should a negotiation process be conducted assuming that you are the one to be in control? The best way to learn is to observe how the “masters” do it.

So! Below are the 5 rules you need to obey to have the last say…

Always Start the Negotiations. Always start the negotiations first because whoever controls it tends to control the ending. Giving up the controlling position means the other side will steer it to a conclusion which will not enable you to reach a win-win situation.

Always Negotiate in Writing.  It is always good to create the agreement in front of the prospect whilst discussions were ongoing. Other than being a time waster, drawing up the agreement when all verbal discussions had finished would invariably be missing out important issues which were actually discussed. A confirmation meeting or communication would definitely ensue. If however, the agreement is being built during the discussion, you would have a great chance to get the prospect to sign on the agreement straight away whilst both could still remembe.

Always be Cool. You could end up in a meeting with some very egoistical people. Tense discussions and short sharp retorts from both sides usurp your energy and invariably the meeting would descend into chaos unless you learn to be cool. It is like a retarder in terms of emotion control when the other realise that blowing off steam and emotion outburst did not give them an edge in the negotiation whereas you, the cool one, focus on the agenda to conclude the meeting in a win-win ending. Your persona “Cool hand Luke” would always make you the winner.

When discussing the price. Right, I never believe price to be the objection, but of course customers will sell you the idea that they never have enough budget to fit in. So the conversation will tend to go something like this.. “Amilia, you guys are only worth $1000 to begin with because you only have X”.. What you should say is “That’s right, but we also have Y which puts us ahead of everybody else.” This is what I call, anchoring and putting yourself back in the right posture.  Your value is suddenly increased because you did not disagree. You agreed and you added.

It doesn’t end when the person says yes. You wish, ha ha. Just because you get the prospect to agree, your job does not end there. Until the deal is sealed, you want to be careful with the buyer’s remorse. Often times, things have to be renegotiated. So what do you do, you ask? Keep in touch every day once the agreement is made. People want to see that you are committed in delivering results. When you keep in touch it lowers down their insecurity about you. Sure, you both agreed on the deal. But at the back of the customer’s head there will always be the golden question.. “did i make the right decision?” Also, be friends with the customer. Be energetic in closing the details. Keep working on the alternatives until the negotiation is done. It ain’t over till the fat lady sings!

What I have learned from James Altucher in less than 5 days.

Hey guys, I recently learned about an American Entrepreneur, James Altucher who is also the author of the Wall Street Journal best selling book “Choose Yourself”. I watched one of his videos where he talked on “How To Sell Yourself With No Money And No Connections” and I was instantly drawn towards his ability to sell his story. Ever since then, I have been watching almost all of his videos on youtube, listened to his podcasts and read almost all his articles. Might I also add, bought 2 of his books.

Why I say this man is refreshing and a must study by this generation onwards is because in almost all his talks, articles, books, he tells or rather DIRECTS us with so much clarity on where to go and what to do if you are stuck or if you don’t know where to go in life or career. James Altucher is what I like to call the modern era of Educatorpreneur. I just made that word up obviously. But you get the gist.

Here are the 10 things that Ive learned just by studying James Altucher in less than 5 days.

  1. Reinvention does not mean failure– This hits home. I mean my background was beauty and now I am in a totally different industry. I do feel sometimes people judge you for not sticking to one career and always job hopping. But how many of us look at it as a means of experimenting on what we are passionate about?
  2. If you have many ideas, execute all of them because eventually the right idea will find you.
  3. The art of giving – James Altucher talked about how he comes up with 10 new ideas daily and he gives aways these ideas to companies, etc FOR FREE. What does this mean? Giving actually creates opportunities and it open doors to new possibilities.
  4. I learned how to sell and negotiate – Basically James is not a fan of negotiating. When you negotiate, at some point the customer is going to say NO. Why get them to say NO when you can get them to say YES? Everyone has a YES deep down, we just need to ask the right questions. Negotiation is worthless. Sales is everything.
  5. Investing in yourself – Not stocks, mutual funds, precious metals, but you need to have skills that will make you money. Because if you lose all your money, you will know how to get it all back because you have those skills.
  6. Get 1% better EVERY SINGLE DAY – I call it progress principle. It’s like trying to sculpt your body. You can’t get that big chest in one day. It takes time, just get better at your form and then maybe increase your reps and then maybe increase the weight. The idea is just ONE percent daily. Very doable.
  7. Embrace expression – The many reasons why I resonate with James is because he’s a damn brilliant writer on talking about despair. He humanises everything. His success especially. He talks about his failure, how he cried when he thought he lost his partner, how he panicked when the boss said “I need to speak to you” on a Friday and when he called him back it went to a voicemail and the boss was not free until Monday. He is not afraid to show what he had gone through. Anxiety and panic attacks are what most of us have, so he tells his stories and how he overcame them. And this is why I think so many people can relate, and so many people adore and like him and, well in my case, OBSESSED WITH HIM.
  8. Ideas are the currency of life, not money – I like how James says he has been coming up with new ideas since 2002. James made his millions just by using his ideas and that opened doors and opportunities for him.
  9. Becoming a minimalist – James once owned only 15 things in his life. He said that for every dollar you don’t spend on yourself is an opportunity to help someone or creating new experiences.
  10. Be who you are – I like James’ authenticity. He does not try to fit in. He does not try to conceal his vulnerable side. He tells it as it is. Which is why, again I will repeat, a lot of people can resonate with him. Which is why I also think he is one of the best selling authors out there.

James, if you are reading this, I just want to tell you that for every time I read your article, I fall in love with you again and again and again. You are one brilliant writer. 

The Future of the Sales Role

The super common myth in sales is that to be the best salesperson one must be an extrovert. In other words, someone really hyped up and full of ennergy and just love to network. While I agree with this to a certain extend, the role of a closer is slowly changing.

While extroverts tend to be better at cold calling, because of their social personality and interaction, this method is slowly dying because technology is taking over. You also might wonder why do companies still prefer to employ the extroverts, right? There’s only one thing on my mind. They probably don’t understand the change of the sales process.

But like any other thing, this role I believe is drastically changing. Customers no longer find the loud, hyped up sales people charming anymore. Well, at least most of them don’t. They tune out the moment they find them looking or sounding like the stereotype.

So, ladies and gentleman, welcome to the world of EFFECTIVE SELLING. These following steps are converging into what we call the future of the desired, approachable modern sales people.

BE THE GOOGLE FOR YOUR CUSTOMERS – And I dont mean knowing every single thing like the real search engine does. What i mean is becoming the teacher by educating your clients. Clients look up to people whom they can seek advice from. The more information you give to your clients, educating them on things they dont know about, the more credibility you build up for yourself and the more appreciative they become. The future in selling is EDUCATION. The demeanor of a teacher should be adapted by every single sales person out there and that is to start giving.

DATA SCIENCE – Cut through all the rubbish and find that one piece of information that is needed to solve your client’s problem. What is the exact missing piece that will solve your client’s problem? This is a skill that is critical in the success of your future sales.

PUBLISHER – Content creation is vital these days. To anchor yourself as an expert, write a book. This is like taking the rocket to launching yourself as the go to person and establishing credibility that is much needed by utilizing content.

LISTEN, LISTEN AND LISTEN – Listening is a skill. Not everybody can master this art. With listening, you are absorbing useful information that you can later on use during closing or when you do thorough research on your customer’s needs and problems. While listening, acknowledge what your customer is telling you. Validate their problems. Just a simple nod or “I see” will do the job.

BE THE IDEA MACHINE – I like what James Altucher said in one of his books, give 10 new ideas to your clients. If the business is on the verge of collapse, come up with 10 new ways on how to save the business. The point is, if you keep coming up with ideas and just give with no expectations, eventually it will be hard for them to say NO to you in the future.

So for all those who think they don’t have what it takes to be a top sales person because you dont have the personality or character for it, you might want to rethink. Interesting enough, the future of a sales role is more likely to be an introverted problem solving analyst kind and no longer the extroverted “rah-rah” fast talking type.

 

 

Posturing Yourself for Sales Success

Hi guys today I am inspired to write this article because of the post that went viral on Facebook recently. It’s about a lady who screams at the KFC workers for not cleaning up the trash on the tables. You might wonder where I am going with this and how I am going to relate this story to another sales article of mine.

I’ll take you through a quick scenario. Now imagine that the screaming lady is your client, and you are the kfc worker (the sales rep). In the real world, when a client is frustrated and angry, one of the many reasons is that the client loses respect for you.

Why does the client lose respect for you? Perhaps there isn’t enough trust between the buyer and the sales rep. Another reason could be that the sales rep has lost his/her posture.

What do I mean by posture? I don’t mean sitting up straight on a chair or walk with your chin up and shoulders back. I meant your sales posture.

So how do you project sales posture? How do you talk to someone so that you will be seen as the expert of the subject and gain control of the situation.

There are 3 main postures that we may or may not use. Take a good read and try to relate which is your communication style. They are Superior, Equal and Inferior.

INFERIOR

This is how most sales reps communicate, unfortunately. Its as though to sit down with the potential client is an honour and the sales rep always has the last say. Often times, inferior posturing makes way for the customer to leave the closing table or the sales discussion without having the problem acknowledged and the deal from getting sealed. Also, with this posture it allows the sales rep to be manipulated because the sales rep takes into literal interpretation that the “customer is always right.”

SUPERIOR

The superior way of communicating shows that the sales rep looks down on the prospect and speaks with too much authority. This leaves less to little no room for the prospect to ask important buying questions. I personally do not like this posture, I have seen many sales reps used this posture before, it is too “I” centred, and too much “I” in the conversation projects aggressiveness and that could decrease the likability of the sales rep in the eye of the prospect. And people most likely do not do business with someone they don’t like.

EQUAL

This is the most empowering and desirable posture for sales reps. This approach exudes confidence and respect. Not only does the sales rep comes across as very respectful but at the same time maintains the level of assertiveness where the sales person is in control of the selling process. Equal approach speaks with clarity and authority, automatically positions the sales rep as the expert of the field hence creating more trust from the buyer. This approach does take a lot of practice to master, but the more you practice this approach, the easier it is to tackle any objection, especially the tough ones with confidence and professionally with no hessitance and reluctance.

If you haven’t figured it out, the Equal approach is the most effective posture any sales reps can use. When you treat someone with respect and not losing control of the situation, knowing how to answer tough questions or situations (like the screaming lady) and making them look like it is not a problem to begin with, you will leave an impact on the buyer.

This posture screams leadership and if you want people to do business with you, you must be able to lead even if the road is bumpy.