““In the province of the mind, what one believes to be true either is true or becomes so.”” – John LillyIn my experience, there are basically three types of salesmen. The bully, the charismatic, and the invisible man.The bully succeeds by pressing you so hard that you make a purchase just to make him go away. He sells you once, but he will never sell you again.

The charismatic salesman charms you. What he lacks in product knowledge and selling skills, he makes up for in good humor. You buy from the charismatic salesman because you like him.

The best seller is the invisible salesman. He focuses your attention on the product/service and the benefits they provide you. Attending to your interests and reactions, he tailors his presentation to meet your wants, beliefs, and feelings. When you are in the presence of an invisible salesman, you may forget about him completely because you are so excited about what you are about to buy.

No flesh and blood salesman is purely one kind or the other. We are all, in parts, charming, aggressive, and self-effacing. Learning to focus the target’s attention on “what’s in it for him” is the primary skill of the invisible salesman. Much of what I talk about in ETR is devoted to that.

But it is also important to work on your personal skills – and that means diminishing those characteristics that intimidate and developing those that charm.

The Best “Opening Technique Is Very Simple

Today I want to talk about one way to bully less and charm more. I got this from AS, who uses it successfully every time he wants something from me. I am not sure he does it intentionally. I am not sure he even knows he does it. But I suspect he learned it during his twenty-year career as a successful salesman.

Here’s what AS does: He makes me smile.

He does it almost every time we meet. And I don’t know how. But I have observed that every time he pops his head into my office, he carries a big smile. He says something – anything – the purpose and usual effect of which is to get me to smile back.

This is not an easy accomplishment. As you know very well, I’m a sometimes temperamental bastard. But even in my foulest moods, AS has an astonishing record of squeezing that meltdown smile out of me.

What’s his secret? That’s what I’d like to know. But I know this – it starts with the fact that he tries. When someone cares enough about your feelings to try to make them improve, it feels good.

What AS does is not common, but it is characteristic of the charismatic salesman. First, make your customer smile. After that, everything else is easy.

You may be the sort of person for whom this comes easily. If so, you need only realize what a talent you have and resolve to use it more. If you are less-than-gifted in the sunshine department (charisma-challenged, like me), you should consider adding this technique to your persuasion arsenal.

If it doesn’t come naturally, you’ll have to practice. You can start today. Here’s the challenge:

Make the next three people you meet smile. Make them smile before you do anything else. Say something – do something – to get that smile on their faces before you begin your conversation. Hint: You have to be really good to make someone else smile when you are frowning. So start off by smiling yourself. If you are really retarded in this area (as I am), you might want to practice in the mirror before you experiment on a live subject.

Try It Out Today. Three Times. And See What Happens.

You may notice the following:

1. It will make you feel good.

2. It will give you a feeling of power.

3. Your smiling subject will be more open to your ideas and interests.

Actual Proof From Someone Who Tried It

I did it with AK. And then with KY. My third subject was not an actual person, but a voice on the phone. Someone whose job it was to scold me for missing some sort of credit card payment.

Instead of acting snotty, I acted happy to hear from her. I even made a joke. The response was amazing. She abandoned her nasty script and spoke nicely to me. I could actually hear her smiling. We got the “problem” (something to do with a change of address) cleared up in record time.

I hung up the phone feeling good – much better than I would have expected. She was happy too. Not a bad result, considering the alternatives.

So there’s your action plan for today. Three people. Three smiles. Good luck.

[Ed. Note: Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]

Mark Morgan Ford

Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Wealth Builders Club. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.

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