The Art of the Schmooze: How To Make People Like You (part 1)

Thursday, January 7, 2010 , Posted by Johnny Fuery at 1:13 AM

Originally Published 2007-06-04 15:39:56

During a friendly conversation yesterday, the topic of salesmanship came up. I realized that there are times when I turn on my own personal schmoozing mask with great success. The epiphany is, however, that this is a skill, not a natural instinct. It takes practice and can be learned.

First of all, at least half of sales is making people like you. Given any product, you are the key differentiator. One could argue about exceptions, such as when selling a highly innovative or in-demand product (would you buy an iPhone from a jerk? Probably, at least for the next month or two), but for the most part, if people don't like you, they won't do business with you. Period. I'm sure we all have stories where we've been ignored or treated condescendingly and changed our mind about buying from a particular vendor. In some cases, we've even changed the product selection, haven't we?

Finally, a high level of service (including salesmanship) makes consumers willing to pay more for a product. I bought a pair of jeans last weekend for quite a bit more than I would have paid for the same product elsewhere simply because a flirtatious pretty girl was willing to fetch me 8 different pairs and tell me which ones looked the best. It was worth the extra $35 for me to save half an our of searching, second-guessing, and internal debating. And I'd do it again in a heartbeat, because it's not just worth it, it's of higher value. I don't even have to rationalize the spend, because I left the store happier than when I went in, which would not have been true at the retailer across the street where there was a 10 minute wait just to get into the fitting room. And $35 is cheap for an afternoon of happiness. Not to mention the hottie's phone number. ;-)

With this in mind, I'm starting a series of articles today about schmoozing. You can use these skills for meaningful conversation with your single-serving friend on your next transatlantic plane flight, getting a leg up on the dating scene, or, of course, making more money by selling higher quantities of your product at a faster pace.

So, without further ado, here's an outline of the next several Really Smart blog postings:

  1. Showing genuine interest

  2. The mirror game

  3. Conveying openness through body language

  4. The All-Important Smile

  5. Eye Contact

  6. Breaking the ice

  7. Listening attentively and actively

  8. Finding something in common

  9. Questions vs. Statements

  10. Add value to the conversation

Now get back to work! Always Be Closing!

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