The ability to read people just might be one of the most important skills you could ever learn.

Yes, that’s right, you can learn it!

It is a skill that is developed over time through experience, intuition, understanding, recognition and awareness of others and of ourselves.

Both in your personal and business life, it is important to listen, watch for reactions, treat others with respect, and respond in a way that strengthens the relationship.

It’s important to discern motivation and desire and be able to respond accordingly.

When you respond with genuine care and without judgment, the relationship has great potential and an inherent trust can be developed.

It’s important to also remember that whether you can relate to someone’s position or not, their perception IS their reality. From that vantage point, we should at least be able to relate to the way they feel and try to have find a solution. It is also important not to project your own feelings and reactions onto another person.

From a client / customer / potential customer viewpoint, you more often know what you want. You want their business. You want to keep their business. And you don’t want to have to keep courting them to keep their business. You want the relationship to evolve.

You want trust and loyalty. So do they.

When wooing a potential customer, you must pay attention to what they say, what they do not say, and even the non-verbal signals they send your way.

I’m not saying you should send them flowers to all your potential customers, or even to wine and dine them to prove your value and win their hearts.

Try to look through their eyes; and I don’t mean that in a creepy Criminal Minds kind of way.

People want to know they matter. They want to know their needs matter. They want to know that their goals are important to you and that you really want to help them achieve them.

Don’t they deserve that? Don’t you deserve that when you’re a customer too?

“To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.” ~ Douglas Adams

It’s also important to recognise that boundaries are different for everyone.

Some may be comfortable joking around, others may find it unprofessional.

Read them. Decide if you’re willing to meet their needs.

Most importantly, always be authentic.

But while being authentic, it’s also important to exercise judgement.

Let me share an example where judgement was somewhat questionable:

After a long day of looking at properties with a client, we stopped to talk about our next move and the direction he wanted to take. We talked about features and as I pulled out my listings, he made a playful quip about me needing notes.

And before I knew it, with no volition and in slow-motion, I watched, horrified, as my hand rose, floated across the table, took aim, and flicked him in the middle of his forehead! OMG! Did I really just do that?! I had assaulted my client in plain view of all the patrons and staff, and the maître d looked poised to call the police!

Please Note: This is NOT an effective sales strategy!

From across the table, he stared at me, utterly dumbfounded. No more so than I felt at that very moment myself! And just as my over-active imagination revealed a vision of being carted off in cuffs, he tilted his head back and burst out laughing.
“Do you always flick your clients when you sit down for review?” he queried.

“Only the ones who deserve it!” came flying out of my mouth with a tentative smile. But this was quickly followed by a barrage of apologies, which he also seemed to find amusing.

I wish I could say it was a clever sales strategy and that I had known exactly how he would react. I would like to think that my subconscious would have restrained me had there been any doubt of his response.

In this case, I just got lucky. This absurd happenstance somehow cemented our relationship and we have since become friends.

I could just as easily have been forced to undergo a complete wardrobe replacement, with a shift to catastrophic carrot colored jumpsuits that would clash unforgivingly with my hair. Everyone knows jumpsuits have been out since the 70’s. That combined with the thought of unexpectedly changing my career path, conscripted for the manufacture of license plates, was enough to make me shudder and take note.

I know successful relationships are about authentic connection. Connections come from paying attention; from finding a commonality.

Be attentive. If they don’t tell you what you need to know, YOU need to ask. It’s your job, and doing it well will pay off in the long run.

Even if you don’t get the business, you can be confident that you gave it your best.

Be respectful. Build rapport.

Do NOT go around flicking your clients on the forehead or perpetrating any other egregious trespasses. Nobody looks good in those orange jumpsuits.

Focus on your customer and to providing the best customer service. The rest will take care of itself.

Do you have any strategies that worked or did not work for you?

Please share your comments or stories.

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10 Responses to The Sales Flick

  1. Wow! How Beautiful. You are an awesome writer and perceptive human being. I’m going to splat every client in the forehead and quote your guidance. /// Just kidding.. LOL. Tim-

  2. Al says:

    This is fantastic Shelley.  Thank you so much for sharing.  I will be RT and putting on facebook.  So many great things.  These 2 are my favorites;

    “When you respond with genuine care and without judgment, the relationship has great potential and an inherent trust can be developed.”

    “People want to know they matter. They want to know their needs matter. They want to know that their goals are important to you and that you really want to help them achieve them.”

    So true.  That CARE thing works.  Ha.  Thanks again for all you do.


  3. Rg says:

    Hi Shelley

    Did you really flick the client? ha ha too funny. Nice write as always.

    • Hi Rg, yes, I did. And we still work together. Nonetheless, I do NOT endorse said flickery as a sales tactic!

      • Rg says:

         to funny.. back in my advertising days, I once barged into a store of a regional Burger King (during lunch hour even) and told off the manager for advertising with my competition. He never did again needless to say, not a recommended tactic either

  4. I think you hit it on the head when you wrote “be genuine.”  People’s bull feculence meter is pretty sharp!  Great post, Shelley – clearly you know your stuff!

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