How good are your people skills?

Every business is a people business.

Whatever kind of business you run you’re going to be selling to a person. A real, live, human being.

At one end of the scale you may never meet them and they could just click a button to buy from you. Even at this level, most people want to know who they’re dealing with – which is why the “about us” page of a website is the most viewed. It’s important to have people on there that buyers can relate to.

At the other end is a full on sales conversation and the outcome will depend very much on whether the person you’re talking to likes you.

This is where we need some people skills

People skills are about the ability to communicate effectively with people in a friendly way. 

You’ll be able to show you understand and can empathize with them.

You’ll know how to develop some rapport.

You’ll be seen as sincere and trustworthy.

But mostly, people will just like you.

If sales depend on your likeability, how can you become more likeable?

  • Say thank you.

You might not read any further so if you only take one thing from this post, saying thank you makes you instantly more likeable.

Thank you for your enquiry.
Thank you for contacting me.
Thank you for responding.
Thank you for liking my post.
Thank you for mentioning me.
Thank you for including me.
Thank you for answering my question.
Thank you for putting me in touch with someone.
Thank you for …

It’s an immediate ice breaker and encourages people to carry on being helpful to you.

People decide whether or not they like you within seconds of meeting you, so making sure you give a good first impression is really important.

  • As well as being ordinarily polite – saying please and thank you – smiling and good eye contact are the things people notice first.
  • Think about how you feel when someone looks you in the eye and gives you great smile. You feel noticed, you feel special. (Not everyone is comfortable with direct eye contact tho’ so be a bit tolerant if someone doesn’t meet your eye and try not to make snap judgements about them.)
  • When you get into a conversation this needs to be mostly about them and not much at all about you because everybody likes someone to be interested in them. If they ask you a direct question answer it openly but succinctly and then ask them a question to get the conversation back to them.
  • Use their name. This is really powerful. Take the trouble to pronounce (and spell) it right and that will go a long way towards helping them feel warm towards you.
  • Really focus on what is being said to you — people need to feel that they have been heard, even when you can’t give them what they are asking for or can’t be of  help
  • Say “I’m sorry” when someone tells you about something bad that happened to them. It’s a really effective way to show that you’re putting yourself in their shoes and can relate to their experience. If they’re coming to you for a solution to solve their problem this is even more important.
  • Don’t make anyone feel foolish or stupid. You’ll just come across as arrogant and you can wave your sale goodbye.
  • If you find you have something in common that’s a big plus as it sparks similar emotions in both of you and increases trust. (I just had a Zoom call with someone and asked them about a picture on their wall and we discovered we had a mutual love of blues music.)
  • Don’t complain to people you’ve just met. Save it for people who already care about you.
  • Just as people decide if they like us within a few seconds of meeting us, we do the same and that can get in the way of really finding out about someone so try to stay open and, as mentioned above, don’t make snap judgments.
  • Your final words will leave a lasting impression. End conversations with a genuine remark like, “I enjoyed getting to know you” or “It was great to talk to you”.

Don’t fall into the vanilla trap

Being likeable doesn’t mean you need to be liked by everybody.

You have values (I hope). When you stand for something, you’re not afraid to disagree with people who don’t share your views. You can do this without falling out with people. You can agree to disagree and even have fun exploring each other’s different points of view. You can still like each other.

What you don’t want to be is someone who tries so hard to be liked by everyone that you come across as completely bland and characterless. That’s not likeable at all.

What’s your second impression like?

It’s no good being charming on a sales call if your social media feeds tell a different story. What you need is a good LASTING impression. Check your Second Impression

If you’d like to practice your people skills get in touch

For more on being likable read “Be yourself, everybody else is taken.” 


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