How to be more likeable?
We all know that some agents are more successful than others. You may say that they are just born with natural charisma and likeability that most don’t possess. They make friends effortlessly. A crowd just seems to congregate around them as soon as they show up. They get phone calls from new prospects all the time (at least it seems that way).
True, some people are gifted that way, but that does not mean that these traits cannot be developed. You too can be likeable. Which is very crucial in the sales business, and admit it, we are in the sales business. Dealing with people isn’t always easy, and if you are not a likeable person, well, it will be tough to make it in this business.
So how can we be more likeable. Here are some suggestions that you can start practicing right away!
1. Be positive
You ask: But how to be positive? Well you can start by being grateful for the little things. For instance, when was the last time you thanked your wife for making you breakfast? Or for having clean and safe water? When you start feeling gratitude, you will start to see the good things happening to you and around you. Consciously remove negative thoughts. This isn’t easy, so as a start, every time there is a negative thought passing through your mind, the moment you realize it, replace it with 2 positive thoughts and praises.
Being positive also means only saying good things, not whining about your job or the economy or how your customers are driving you up the wall. Not to your family, not to your other agent friends, not to your customers (especially not to your customers!) and NOT to yourself. Instead, say “I’m grateful for this lesson which will make be wiser and teach me the meaning of patience”.
2. Be enthusiastic
Approach every person you meet with enthusiasm. Before you meet a prospect, make sure you have not already made up your mind about him. Don’t tell yourself that you bet he’s going to be late for the appointment, or that he’s going to be a pain. We tend to judge people this way after just a phone call with them. Instead, go into an appointment with a mind free of preconceived notion. Tell yourself that it is exciting to meet a new person today, there’s so much to learn and to share.
Have you noticed how people who radiate enthusiasm tend to connect better with others as compared to someone who is mopey and lifeless? Be this. Just be careful to not be overly enthusiastic that you scare others off!
3. Pay attention to the little things
Pay attention to the person or people you are with. Notice how the admin lady now has a short hairdo, and that your colleague has a new pair of grey suits. Say something about it. People like it when you notice them, it makes them feel important. A prospect may show up for an appointment with her son. If the first thing you noticed was that he has the same dimples as her and told them how pretty those dimples were, you may have already made a great first impression on her! But be careful when praising clients of the opposite gender, you don’t want to come across as being flirtatious!
4. Be sincerely interested in others, ask questions!
Everyone is unique in their own ways. Be genuinely interested in people. Cultivate the desire to learn about each individual you meet. Ask them questions about themselves, people love to talk about themselves. Be an attentive listener. Avoid using comments such as : “wow” or “cool” or “interesting”. These are called filler comments and they usually indicate that the listener isn’t really paying attention hence the lack in genuine response. Go into a meeting with the intention to get to know the prospect and understand how you can help as an agent, not with the intention to “close a sale”!
5. Greet people by their names
It is said that a person’s name is the sweetest sound to them. I learned this at a very young age from a Dale Carnegie book my father owned. He said:
“Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language”. – Dale Carnegie
Somewhere in the book I remembered him telling a story of a highly respected CEO of a company who greeted everyone by their first name, including the janitor. And I remembered how impressed I was by this story. Sure it has somehow become our culture to call people by the terms ‘bro’ or ‘sis’, but don’t ever forget that hearing one’s name gives validation, that he or she feels worthy enough to be remembered. The choice is yours, you can continue to greet your clients with “hey”, “bro” or “man”, or you can be more likeable by addressing them by their names.
6. Be a mood lifter
If a friend whines about how miserable his job is, you have a choice of either joining him and complain about your job, which would lead to how horrible your boss is, and how dreadful the economy and your life are and so on and so forth. Or you can choose to listen attentively, show empathy, and offer help or even just a few positive words to pick his mood up a little. When you are able to do this, people will recognize you as someone who they can always count on for sound advice or someone who makes them feel good. People will recognize you as a mood lifter. And a mood lifter is highly likeable!
When it comes to dealing with clients, do the same. Be the person who recognizes and understands their worries, who offers value, not just by providing a solution in terms of an insurance policy. But one who offers optimism and hope (just be sure they aren’t false hope you throw about to make a quick sale).
These behaviors we mentioned above are ultimately about being a good person and making those around you feel good. Being likeable isn’t something you can accomplish overnight. Consciously make small changes and improvements at a time. Slowly integrate these behaviors into your routine until eventually they come your way of life.
There are many other traits that we will touch on in our next article. Perhaps it is good to start with these. If you are not sure why it is important to be likeable to succeed as an insurance agent or any sales representative, we listed its perks in our previous article.