For more than 30 years salespeople and marketers have been drawing lessons from The 6 Principles of Influence by Robert Cialdini. This 1984 book revolves around the factors that influence people’s decisions, the simple but powerful motivators that make people say “Yes”.
In this article we’re going to look at how you can use Cialdini’s fourth principle, Liking, to help you cultivate realistic, sincere and valuable relationships with your clients.
We all want positive relationships with our clients. It drives referral business and makes them more likely to continue working with us in the future. When it comes to improving your professional relationships, focus on sincerity. Understand the journey your clients are on, use your casual conversations to build toward establishing common interests and make use of genuine praise and positive reinforcement.
As anyone knows from experience, you can’t please all the people all the time. What’s far easier is to build sincere relationships based on commonalities and genuine expressions, even if these relationships don’t have great depth.
Your clients know that your relationship is professional. They don’t expect the two of you to become close personal friends. But you can still make use of the power of Likability be making sure your professional relationship is friendly, sincere and genuine.
So how can we apply this to the work of a South African real estate agent?
Finding common ground, asking personal questions, offering genuine praise and compliments – all of these are tried-and-tested ways agents have endeared themselves to clients, and they work. But for your engagement to appear sincere and genuine you must understand and acknowledge the personal journey your client is on.
You might be buying or selling a house, but your clients are buying or selling a home. Some are considering where they will be raising their children. If your clients feel that you aren’t considering the significance of their decision, they aren’t likely to trust you with it.
If you really consider the depth of the decisions your clients are making, you should automatically become more patient, considerate and discerning. Try make the weight of their decision real to you and act accordingly.
Finding similarities and common ground early in your engagements with clients is a great way to establish a rapport. This is also a good way to focus your casual conversations. When speaking casually with clients, speak with purpose; ask questions that might guide you toward an interest or commonality that you also share.
Small-talk is uncomfortable when it looks like a normal conversation but has none of the connection. You can avoid this by building quickly towards some similarities and common ground by asking questions that are likely to raise some of your common interests.
Some easy-to-determine common interests or factors between yourself and clients include:
Flattery will get you nowhere? Not quite. Again, the key here is sincerity.
Flattery is like gift-giving: it’s not about the gift, but how you use it. Find out how to use reciprocity to endear yourself to prospects and convert more of your leads to sales.
Genuine praise is a great way to endear yourself to clients. Instead of looking for opportunities to offer direct compliments, which can be rare and sound forced, look for opportunities to offer positive reinforcement.
Some examples could include:
There are opportunities to include this kind of praise in practically any conversation. It’s easy to give, sounds natural and because you can include a few of them in every conversation it will be more powerful than the random bi-weekly compliment.
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