GUEST AUTHOR BLOG: Likability ranks high in the sales game by Harvey Mackay author of, "The Mackay MBA of Selling in the Real World."
Everyone wants to be liked.
Remember Sally Field’s acceptance speech at the 1985 Academy Awardswhen she won the Best Actress Oscar for her role in "Places in the Heart." It was her second Best Actress award in five years, and she could barely contain herself.
“You like me! You really like me!”
Likability in sales ranks near the top of the list. People buy from people they like. It’s that simple. People like people who are genuine, pleasant, sincere, easy to talk with and friendly.
Sometimes you need to work at being more likable and friendly. You have to like people. People, not specs will usually be the key in determining who gets the order. As Lee Iacocca once said, “Anyone who doesn’t get along with people has earned the kiss of death … because that’s all we’ve got around here are people.”
Dale Carnegieprovided a helpful hint at being more likable when he said: “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
To drive home his point, Carnegie tells how dogs have learned the fine art of making friends. When you get within 10 feet of a friendly dog, he will begin to wag his tail, a visible sign he enjoys your presence. If you take time to pet him, he will become excited and lick and jump all over you to show how much he appreciates you. The dog became man’s best friend by being genuinely interested in people.
I echo Dale Carnegie’s comments. Knowing something about your customer is just as important as knowing everything about your product.
At MackayMitchell Envelope Company, you wouldn’t believe how much we know about our customers. The IRS wouldn’t believe how much we know about our customers. All of our salespeople fill out a 66-question profile of each of our customers, which we call the Mackay 66. It is available at no charge on my new website, www.harveymackay.com.
We’re not talking about the customer’s taste in envelopes, either. We want to know, based on observation and routine conversation, what our customer is like as a human being. What does he feel strongly about? What is she most proud of having achieved? What are the status symbols in his office?
"Knowing something about your customer is just as important as knowing everything about your product.""
When you know your customers, especially some of their special interests or characteristics, you always have a basis for contacting and talking to them. I have a customer who’s a devoted Chicago Cubs baseball fan. That’s usually good for at least a half dozen condolence messages a year. I don’t sit there emailing notes about the latest fashions in envelopes. I write about the Cubs; he writes about the envelopes.
I have another customer who’s a stamp collector. No matter where I go, anywhere in the world, I send her unusual and exotic stamps.
All of us gather data about other people – especially people we want to influence. The only question is how well we understand it and what we do with it.
Knowing your customer means knowing what your customer really wants. Maybe it is your product, but maybe there’s something else, too: recognition, respect, reliability, concern, service, a feeling of importance, friendship, help – things all of us care about as human beings more than we care about envelopes.
Mackay’s Moral: People like to do business with people they like.
Harvey Mackay, author of the new book "The Mackay MBA of Selling in the Real World", is founder and chairman of the MackayMitchell Envelope Company. He has written six New York Times bestselling books, including the #1 bestseller Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive. For more details, visit www.harveymackay.com.