I vividly remember the first sales course I attended in graduate school; everything the professor taught seemed so strangely familiar. Many of his teachings were things I already knew from different times and experiences in my life.
I didn’t recognize them as principles, only things that were familiar, maybe even teachings from my parents or Sunday school. I began to feel as though selling was as much about how to deal with people as it was convincing someone to buy a product or service. If only I had known then what I know now!
Dale Carnegie, in his book, How to Win Friends & Influence People, has outlined six basic principles identified specifically for building friendships with people we meet and more importantly, for people to whom we wish to sell. These principles are not original, nor are they curious or peculiar. These are every day, common, logical, typical and emotionally centered notions. Many of these things you do naturally and others are done with great effort and very little consistency. All of these principles must be applied with sincerity or they will never achieve the desired result of establishing relationships. Always remember, people buy from people and the people they buy from have instilled in them a sense of belief, like and trust. Here are Mr. Carnegie’s six profound, yet amazingly common and utterly simple principles.
- Develop a genuine and sincere interest in other people. Forget yourself and put your entire focus on them. Everyone has a story and so few people ever discover opportunities to tell that story. You become the opportunity and others will love you for it.
- Always smile. If you were born with a natural tendency to smile, be grateful. Most people must work very hard to develop the habit. It will be well worth the effort and discipline, as you watch barriers crumble from the power of a smile.
- A person’s name is the sweetest sound in any language. Take every opportunity to call people by their name. If you don’t know it, ask. If you forget it, politely ask them again and they will respect you for your concern and caring. The power of a name is a fundamental tool in causing people to like you. In order to remember a name you must focus on it, create an association with it and repeat it several times in your mind.
- Become a great listener. Encourage people to talk about themselves and they will love you. I don’t think there is a single principle relating to selling that is more important than listening. Become a great listener and your sales will astound you.
- Talk about those things that are of great interest to the other person. Take an interest in other people and they will be your friends forever. As you listen and show sincere interest, guard against trumping their stories with your own. Selling is not, never was and never will be, about you.
- Make the other person feel important. Everyone has a sense of prominence, significance and greatness within their own realm. Find opportunities with everyone you associate to make them feel great. Compliment, encourage, strengthen and champion their cause. When people feel good about themselves, they will have positive feelings about you.