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Influencers from Around the World – Real World Persuasion in Selling

To start the New Year our Influencers from Around the World guest post comes to us by way of Ireland from my good friend Sean Patrick. Sean owns a sales training company, Sales Training Evaluation. He  came to the States in October 2010 to spend a week with me and attended the Principles of Persuasion workshop I hosted. You can connect with Sean on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Brian, CMCT® 
influencepeople 
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.

Real World Selling
As a reader of Brian Ahearn’s blog, you’ve come to expect to read mostly about Robert Cialdini’s principles of persuasion. This post is slightly different, as I’ll be talking about some fanciful tactical elements that can make up a potent mix and get more people to say “Yes” more often.
You’ve probably read it somewhere that people buy from people and people trust people that appear similar to themselves. The next time you are solving a personal crisis with a friend or about to go and pitch to a new customer, how about understanding those people first? Do your research and find out as much about that person as possible. Learn out about their past, their likes, dislikes, as well as their personal and professional milestones. You can actually find a lot of this information just by using a strong Boolean search in Google, by reading press releases and other material such as presentations and white papers, and more importantly by “listening” to that person on social media. This gives you an advantage because you’ll understand what motivates that person.
We all have fears, whether it’s fear of putting on weight, missing deadlines, death, inflation, debt, the unknown, and growing old. From a young age, we’ve been coached into making prejudices about our decisions by making cross-references between our past and current experiences. Fear, uncertainty and doubt make us think irrationally and can be powerful enough to drive us into making decisions that are negative as well as positive. If we make negative decisions such as taking up smoking, there is usually a positive intention behind the original decision, and that positive intention could be to help us get some relief from stress. This is what’s known as secondary gain.
If we go back to our fears just for a moment, think about the decisions to buy life insurance and invest in pension funds. We buy expensive gym memberships because of a fear of putting on weight; we buy home security products because we fear for the integrity of our home and possessions. Our first lesson here is to think about the underlying motivators that cause us to make decisions because a lot of our decision-making isn’t logically grounded but rather, can be very irrational.
One way of looking at this is to view your decisions in two groups: away from and towards. For example, we move away from our fears and we move towards things we love. But think about why we either fear or love. This is a huge motivator and can wreak havoc on unsuspecting customers and cause great profit from vendors.
How do you perceive value and ask yourself what does value mean to you? When you’re selling or trying to get a friend or associate to buy into your idea, think in terms of what value you can offer to help sweeten the deal. Value comes in two different types: personal value and business value. Let’s take a look at personal value first. Think about all those times when you volunteered information nuggets gratis (or free). What happened? More than likely, the recipient profited in some way. This is called personal value and most of the time, you give this away too cheaply. As a law abiding and decent citizen, your mother brought you up to share things with other people. This is a lovely gesture but charitable acts such as sharing in the business world will leave you feeling punished and dejected. Never share your candy too soon.
Business value is slightly different. You show this type of value by demonstrating your capability in a way that is unique to you. This differentiates you and lessens the likelihood of being commoditized by a buying officer. You can offer business value by selling a $10 lunch for $ 7.99 but is that going to be enough? Certainly not for everyone. Real business value is doing something utterly different that allows you to create your own rules and profit from them because no one else can offer the same product or service as you. For example, Apple rode out financial turbulence by moving away (think of motivators here) from debt and making profit by creating remarkable products that weren’t available anywhere else. Or were they? Similar products were available but Apple went a step further, they created unique enhancements to increase the user experience, which increased its products’ value exponentially.
Finally, think of our motivators again back at the beginning of this post. This time let’s turn those inside out. This is called expectation. When we buy expensive gym memberships we expect to receive help in getting fit and losing weight. When we buy life insurance we expect to insulate ourselves against our loved ones being left high and dry financially. You get the picture.
This is yet another way of thinking about benefits, those by-products we experience positively via our purchases. We want results and solutions to our problems and that’s exactly what we expect when make those purchases. Whenever you’re embarking on a persuasion process with someone, think about how the other person can benefit from your idea and tell him or her exactly what he or she can expect. If you find this tough to do, ask that person a series of questions to find out what they want, then match what you can deliver that gives them a solution and then tell them precisely what they can expect.
Sean

Great Customer Service Isn’t Selling

I stopped by Bath and Body Works not too long ago to pick up an impromptu gift for Jane. She was in New York with Abigail for the weekend and I noticed her body wash was almost gone. I thought it would be a nice surprise for her when she came home late Sunday night to see three bottles of body wash, each a different fragrance, awaiting her.

While I was at the store a nice young lady came to my aid. Like most men I tried to look like I knew what I was doing and like most ladies who work there, she could quickly spot a clueless male customer. If you’ve never been in the store there’s a dizzying array of choices (lotions, shampoo, body wash, etc.) and even more fragrances!
The lady was helpful, showing me I can take the cap off to smell the different scents. Like most males, I bought the first three I smelled. It’s much like sniffing wine; I’d never send it back but I have to do it to make it look like I know what I want.
I made my three choices, feeling like a bargain shopper because I got the “buy two, get one free” deal, even though the rational part of me knows nobody ever pays full price when shopping there. At the counter I thanked the lady for helping me and in response I heard her say, “No problem.”
She provided good customer service but blew the opportunity to sell it by squandering her chance after hearing “thanks.” So let me state this emphatically – providing good or great customer service is not selling! Unfortunately too many retail establishments and customer service reps think it is.
People expect products to work as advertised and they expect at least good customer service. Providing either becomes nothing more than an afterthought once the sale is made unless the rep sells it. So now you’re thinking; then what should they do? How about this:
“That’s part of the great service you can expect when you shop at Bath and Body Works. Thanks for coming in, I hope we see you again.”
Pretty simple, isn’t it? In fact, it’s so simple every employee can be taught to say it or some variation of it.
So what’s the benefit? It strengthens the connection between the great service and the company providing it. Done the right way and often enough, customers start consciously and subconsciously making the connection themselves. It makes returning to the store the next time a “no brainer” decision.
This taps into the principle of consistency. People want to be consistent in what they say, do and believe. If they believe your company has great products or gives great service they will continue to do business with you unless something else intervenes. And even if something else intervenes – like a lower price – your great service or product will give people reason to pause and think before simply reacting to price. But, if they don’t have reason to pause then why wouldn’t they go elsewhere if they can save a little money?
Brian Tracy, sales trainer and author of The Psychology of Selling wrote, “Selling is the process of persuading a person that your product or service is of greater value to him than the price you’re asking for it.” As a man I know very little about what women should pay for things like lotion and bath salts but I know someone helping me when I look helpless is adding the value that Brian Tracy refers to.
So here’s my advice; find a way to comfortably incorporate, “That’s part of the great [fill in the blank] you can expect when you deal with [fill in the blank].” Play with it, get comfortable with how it sounds, and make it your own. Doing so is a sure way to strengthen the connection in the mind of the customer and will lead to even more repeat business.
Brian, CMCT 
influencepeople 
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.

Why Selling Still Matters

It’s 5:30 a.m. and I’m already fired up! No, it’s not the three cups of Starbucks or the fact that my workout is done that has me going, it’s an article I just read, To Increase Revenue Stop Selling. The article opens with, “Creating or expanding business relationships is not about selling – it’s about establishing trust, rapport, and value creation without selling.”

I don’t disagree with the need to establish trust and rapport. When I teach persuasion workshops we focus quite a bit on two principles that address these. Robert Cialdini’s principle of authority stresses the need for trust and expertise. After all, would you want to deal with an expert you can’t trust? Of course not.

When it comes to rapport, that is facilitated by the liking principle. As Jeffery Gitomer says, “All things being equal, people want to do business with their friends. All things not being so equal, people still want to do business with their friends.” Friendship and likability are huge! We’ll see how important likability is in the upcoming election because I can’t think of a time when the more likable candidate didn’t win the presidency.

So I’m onboard with the need to be a trusted and well liked advisor but that’s not nearly enough. I’ll give a perfect example. Many years ago at my company we had a large project under way working with an outside consulting firm in an effort to stimulate more sales growth. We were highly profitable but sales lagged compared to our peer group competitors. The consultants met with our agents face-to-face, conducted phone interviews and administered an online survey. Our survey participation was off the charts and one of the consultants said, “We’ve never worked with a company where the client has had so much affection for the company. Your agents love you.” Did you catch that – affection and love?
We were a trusted advisor with excellent relationships and sales stunk. I said to one consultant, “We’re like the girl everybody likes but no one asks to the dance.” Trust and likability were not translating into sales.
I’m not sure how the author missed this point but value creation is selling. He wrote, “It’s time for companies to realize that consumers have become very savvy and very demanding.
Today’s consumer (B2B or B2C) does their homework, is well informed, and buys…they are not sold.” I have no disagreement with people hating to be sold but loving to buy. That said, however, today’s consumers are not as sophisticated as people think. Sure, they go online and “research” but you know what most of that amounts to? Price shopping.
Consider this; when telephones and the Yellow Pages were the norm, don’t you think there were people writing articles about how sophisticated consumers had become because they could call around and find out about products with ease? You bet there were!   What I’ve seen for more than 25 years in the insurance industry is people calling around to get the cheapest price the vast majority of the time. And so it is today when people “research” online. The majority are simply looking for the lowest price.
Value creation is about sharing why the price you’re asking is worth it. According to Brian Tracy, author of Advanced Selling Strategies, “Selling is the process of persuading a person that your product or service is of greater value to him than the price you’re asking for it.”
And here’s another interesting point that Steve Jobs showed us – sometimes people don’t know what they want or need. None of us had a clue about the iPod, iPhone or iPad until Jobs created them. Selling sometimes entails pointing out things the consumer might not have thought of. A good salesperson can fall back on the experience of other clients to point out features and benefits the prospective customer might not have considered.
The older I get the more I appreciate the basics. We don’t need grapefruit or Hollywood diets to lose weight, we just need to eat sensibly from the four food groups. We don’t need Madonna or Sylvester Stallone’s latest workouts to be fit; just get to the gym consistently and do some cardio work while you’re there. And we certainly don’t need the latest 10 step sales process that’s guaranteed to make sales skyrocket. Salespeople need to do the basics well – listen more than you talk, ask good questions to uncover needs, care about your client personally and professionally, know your products – how they differ from the competition and how they can help your client, understand how to ethically persuade, and don’t be afraid to ask for the sale.
Do people want to be sold? No. Do they want to work with people they trust and like? Absolutely. Can you get away without selling? Give it a try and soon you’ll be looking for a new career.
Brian, CMCT
influencepeople 
Helping You
Learn to Hear “Yes”.

Influencers from Around the World – Split Second Selling

If you’ve been a reader of Influence PEOPLE for any length of time Sean Patrick is a familiar name to you. Sean is my good friend from Ireland who is in the sales training arena like I am. Sean is going to give you insight into Split Second Selling in this month’s Influencers from Around the World Series.

If you’d like get to know Sean there are many ways: visit his website, Sean Patrick Training, take a look at his blog, Professional Persuader, or look for him on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.
Brian, CMCT
influencepeopleHelping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.
Split Second Selling
Whether you know me as a sales trainer or not doesn’t matter, what matters is whether you’re reading this to be entertained, to see how laughable the content is or to scan read for a take-away that you can implement into your daily routine.
As some of you know, I write my own blog and articles for various other blogs. I am often asked to write for other people. And if you already follow me then you’ll know the content I deliver is very “niche,” to the point and content rich. This one is going to be a little different. In fact this article is going to nail one point directly and very firmly on the head in a simple, easy to grasp language that even a non-English speaking tourist from Mars could understand.
This little nugget is highly effective for people who cold call or who have to prospect for a living. As some of you already know, I am a hardened prospector and very much a relationship type of sales guy. For those of you who sit on the same bench as me, you’re in for a serious free money making and kick-ass tip you’re going to want to use. You’d be hard pushed to actually find a social media trainer who would know how to teach you this. Read on for what I believe is a very important tip about LinkedIn!
Here’s how to use LinkedIn and get appointments so you can exponentially close more business by using reciprocity.
  1. Target your contacts; e.g., HR, FD, CEO, CIO, etc.
  2. Research your contacts perceived pain points and vertical market trends
  3. Grab a piece of paper and write out a quick two sentence introduction that you can insert into the friend request that is relevant to person and pain point (hence the research)
  4. Now think about what you can give to them that is relevant to your research in order for them to increase the likelihood of saying YES to your following request.
  5. Send friend requests to each and every contact you wish to do business with while ensuring you insert your offer to give in order to receive; e.g., Whitepaper, invitation to a breakfast briefing but make sure the gift is relevant.
  6. When you have identified your new contacts (the ones that came back to you), repeat, but this time asking for their work email address. See examples below of how I use this effectively and tell them you have more important information to share. By this time, this is when I start receiving DDI and cell numbers to have actual selling conversations, but go to the next step when this doesn’t happen for you.
  7. Once I have sent at least two emails to my target contacts, I then proceed to call those contacts that hadn’t come back to me. I remind them on the call that I am the person who sent them valuable information that I thought pertinent to share with them and ask them straight out when they can book a time to either see me or commit to a phone call. Before I end the call, I repeat our next appointment out loud and ask them for the last time if this is definitely OK with them.
Here are a few examples of what I’m talking about.
Are you interested to find out how companies who have discovered X, have benefited from Y that has given them Z. Please add me if interested
I would like to offer you a white paper on how companies like yours have benefitted from X! Please add me if you want to learn how. Please ignore if not appropriate or add me to find out.
I’m currently networking with people similar to you that work within your vertical because I can give you new information on how to X that results in Y.
Just a quick note to point out that our objective is not to increase our LinkedIn network, although this will happen anyway. Our objective is to get to the person we want to sell to, either face to face or via the phone. This little tip is a cold call “killer!” Now, for those of you people who are lucky enough to be in the B2C space, this same principle works even better and without the need for LinkedIn.
Whenever you make a cold call, frame your call so that you are there to help the other person, recognise their voice patterns if they are harassed or busy, and tell them you can give them a couple of days to think about it. Then tell them how they can help you either by referring you to others or by finding out if they actually need to buy from you. You know what it’s like to be frazzled and hassled and can call back in two days time in order to help them out.
Repeat above method of gaining commitment by gaining mutual agreement before the call is ended.
Voila, no cold calls, thanks to Mr. Cialdini and his fabulous principle of reciprocity with a little dose of commitment and consistency thrown in for good measure.
Sean
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Survey Still Open – if you’d like to participate in a 10 question survey you still have time. Results will be shared later this month.
  • If your last name starts with a letter between A and I click here for your survey: Survey A
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Thanks!
Brian, CMCT

Influencers from Around the World – Selling to VITO

Several months ago I introduced Sean Patrick to readers in my Influencers from Around the World article. We’re up to readers from more than 125 countries so I’m continuing with the theme of hearing from other trainers around the world about how they use the principles of influence.

 

Sean’s a feisty Irishman who owns his own sales training company, Sean Patrick Training, and writes a blog, Professional Persuader. We met through Facebook because of Dr. Cialdini and we regularly chat over Skype. If certain things fall in place you might just see Sean in Columbus, Ohio in early October. Sean is a smart, funny guy and I know you’ll enjoy his point of view from across the pond. Look him up on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

 

Selling to VITO

All the way through my sales career in the IT world I’ve had to learn how to sell high. If this wasn’t daunting enough I had to learn how to sell to C-level executives COLD. Whatever sales training I had attended throughout my career that had any meaning or left an indelible mark on me came from people I chose to go out and find, and pay to see with my own money.

I wasn’t fortunate enough to have an understanding boss who considered sales training to be a service that more than paid for itself by an increased performance from the sales team. Nor did he view it as a chance to find and un-stick the sticking points. So my learning came from countless books, DVDs, and training courses that not only cost me financially but also in vacation time. Thankfully I usually ended up with just enough spare vacation time to go home for Christmas.

At one point in my career, still being somewhat of a whipper snapper, I came across this guy who sold in a very non-linear, very provocative way. He actually reminded me of one of the characters from the film Glengarry Glenross. This was the man that joined every selling dot together for me. From the initial mindset right through to putting the whole shebang together, I finally realized how natural and uncomplicated selling actually is. I don’t believe it has changed right to this day.

This trainer was the man responsible for opening my eyes to how people comply naturally, easily and unconsciously. When people talk about judgmental heuristics I know what they mean because this guy taught me. This leads very nicely to my point – from that time onward I made the bold decision that if I was to rapidly increase my worth as a salesperson I had to innovate. It was time for a change; time for a major overhaul for Sean Patrick!

“Renew, Revitalize, Rejuvenate!” was my mantra and so I did. At every opportunity I began to put the new ideas into action. I began to pitch my ideas to CEOs, the Very Important Top Officer (VITO). Now sales managers in a lot of companies will do this blindly and really press their salespeople to call high. The first problem with the CEO is the fact that he or she will not entertain a salesperson for one massive reason – language and communication. The salesperson under duress will not know how to speak in the language of the CEO. On the other hand most salespeople would love to talk features and benefits in hopes that the CEO’s ears will prick up and say, “I’m buying,” but that’s not how CEOs think and operate.

Finally we have the other big problem – the personal assistant. The personal assistant, or “PA” as we call her on this side of the pond, is worth her weight in gold at keeping the unwashed outside…and for good reason too, as the CEO’s time is limited and therefore valuable. So there we have all the challenges in a nutshell. Now here’s how to use the power of the authority and the liking principles to level the playing field…at least a little bit.

First of all the authority principle states that we are more likely to believe people in a position of higher power or knowledge that can lead us to a position of advantage or safety. If you want to sell to a CEO, then you have to behave and talk like a CEO. You have to get into their world and their way of thinking. Any CEO you approach is only going to be interested in what you can do to make their top job easier and add financial value for the company and shareholders.

The principle of authority allows us to take a look and notice the relevant symbols of authority; things such as title, clothing, and knowledge. You need to convey that you are an authority on what you know and the information you have is of vital importance to the CEO and this is a meeting he has to attend. All body language, language and behavioural patterns need to reinforce this belief or you will be exited to the front door where you belong. If however you find yourself selling to executives below CEO then act with your authority and beliefs about yourself and soon enough you will be greeted by the CEO.

The above principle of authority can be dramatically increased or enhanced when used in conjunction with liking, the principle whereby people prefer to say yes to individuals they know and like. This simple rule helps to understand how liking can create influence and how compliance professionals may emphasize certain factors and/or attributes to increase their overall attractiveness and subsequent effectiveness.

CEOs may be influenced by your authority and your ability to communicate at the senior level and these activate the principle of liking because you’ll appear similar to them. Combine these two the right way with confidence, act like a CEO and talk like one, and you’ll get the access you require. Then it’s up to you to make the sale.

Sean

I’m sure Sean would love to hear from you so feel free to leave a thought or question in the comments section.
Brianinfluencepeople
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.

The Greatest Salesman Who Ever Lived – Santa!

I boldly (and in italics) proclaim Santa Claus to be the greatest salesman who ever lived! Why do I assert that Santa is the ultimate salesman? To start, he has a couple of success stories most of us can’t compete with. First, he’s successfully run the same family business for hundreds of years. There’s something to be said for stability, especially in today’s economy. Second, Santa can boast a client base that expands every year — no matter the state of the global economy. Can you or your business make those claims?

But those aren’t the reasons I contend Santa is the greatest salesman who ever lived. Contrary to what you might think, his success doesn’t come from his business savvy. After all, consider the obstacles he has to overcome.

  • Business attire: Santa obviously doesn’t buy into today’s “dress for success” business attire philosophy. Power suits are fine but a red suit and hat, both lined with fur, is a little over the top in today’s business environment. Now if he were in Hollywood…
  • Delivery system: Santa’s remains way behind the times here. His “One Day Delivery” is literally that – you get your packages one day a year. He doesn’t seem to notice in today’s economy people want what they want, when they want it, and that usually means now. But the real problem behind “One Day Delivery” might just be his delivery method. I think you’d agree the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx or UPS would be much more efficient than eight tiny reindeer pulling a small sleigh.
  • Manufacturing: Some say Santa’s operation is too labor-intensive to survive much longer. After all, he’s competing with Wal-Mart, Microsoft and other giant companies. In today’s marketplace, how can any business can get by without automating? Perhaps if he automated a process or two he’d have enough inventory to open the store more than one day a year.
  • Efficiency: I realize Santa gives his product away for free but that doesn’t mean it costs him nothing. He has all those elves and reindeer to take care of. Food and lodging are bad enough but health care costs have to be crushing his profit margin! And what about worker’s compensation costs? If he automated at least he’d save a little money and might be able to take Mrs. Claus on a nice vacation – somewhere warm for a change!
  • Marketing: All companies change their branding to fit the times and Santa might want to consider doing the same. After all, “Ho, Ho, Ho, Merry Christmas!” has gotten a bit old and stale.
  • Orders: I think Santa could fill orders much faster if only he’d just set up a website. And how about replacing all those last minute letters with email, instant messaging or a Twitter account? It has to be painfully slow for him to read all those handwritten letters.

So, all this begs the question, “Why is Santa so successful…in spite of himself?” In business if you continually land new customers and retain the old ones then you’re doing something right. Here are six reasons Santa continually attracts new customers and retains all his current ones:

  • He loves his job! Could you do the same job day after day, year after year for most of your life? Could you do it and remain so upbeat and jolly? Perhaps, “Ho, Ho, Ho,” is his corporate culture and not just some branding slogan.
  • He genuinely cares for his customers. His goal is to meet everyone’s needs and all he hopes for in return is to see joy on their faces. Do you get joy from serving others?
  • He gets to the personal side of selling. Granted he’s not always accessible but he doesn’t expect clients to come to him. When he’s at his absolute busiest, with his deadline approaching and delivery date nearing, he can be seen everywhere talking with his customers. How he can be in so many places at one time I’ll never know. How often do you initiate contact with your customers, even when it’s inconvenient for you?
  • He creates atmosphere. A toy is just a toy, except when it’s from Santa. Because it only comes once a year and will be found under the tree on Christmas morning it creates anticipation and builds excitement! That’s so much better than getting something online or from some mail order catalog. Do you create an experience for your customers?
  • He adds value. When people hear the word “free” they often think “cheap” or wonder, “What’s the catch?” Even though Santa gives his products away we love what he gives us mostly because it comes from him. Don’t you have a few things you prize because of the person who gave it to you? That adds value for you. Do your customers see you adding value?
  • He delivers on his promise. Santa does what he says and always delivers, at no extra charge, on time! Can your customer count on you to be that consistent?

So there you have it, six reasons behind the success of jolly old St. Nick. Yes, I stand firm on the assertion that Santa Claus is the ultimate salesman! Did you notice that everything Santa does is within your power to do with your customers? That’s right, there’s no reason you can’t do the same things Santa does. And here’s some welcome news for most of you – you don’t have to wear a silly red uniform while you do those things!

I hope you enjoyed this post and that you and your loved ones have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Brian
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes!”

People Like to do Business with People They Like

You’ve probably heard this one before, “People like to do business with people they like.” Sales trainer/author Jeffrey Gitomer puts it this way in the Sales Bible, “All things being equal, people prefer to do business with people they like. All things being not so equal, people still prefer to do business with people they like.” Both of those describe the psychological principle of persuasion known as “liking.”

But liking doesn’t just apply to business, it extends to pretty much everything. Think back to the last time you did something with other people. Did you think, “Hmm, who to I like least? I think I’ll call them to go to the movies (or dinner or golf, etc.).” Of course you didn’t, you called someone you enjoyed being around.

When we like people it’s natural to pick up the phone to call them for social or business reasons. So being likable can help you in lots of ways. I’m not talking rocket science here. When I interview people and I ask, “What’s the most important part of selling?” the answer I get most often is one simple word, “relationships.” If you’re not in a “one and done business” (i.e., car sales, homes, or other big ticket items), I tend to agree with that answer. In my business, insurance, our people do form long-term relationships with agents and CSRs so likability is huge.

I usually follow up my question with something like this, “If you get this job, and you’re getting ready for your first sales calls, what will be your strategy to build your relationships quickly?” This is where most interviewees fall flat. They know their current customers like them but they don’t really know why. If they don’t understand that, then building strong relationships quickly is a matter of hit or miss. If they do understand what causes people to like them, then they can look for ways to tap into that and get those new relationships off to a good start.

First and foremost, we like people who are like us. That can encompass many things such as where you’re from, favorite sports teams, similar interests or backgrounds, to name a few. Once you notice something you have in common it is incumbent upon you to tap into that by speaking up.

I always think of my wife, Jane, when it comes to this. If you’ve ever met her then you now she’s a diehard Steelers fan!! When I was a kid I hated the Steelers…with a passion…but, after 21 years of marriage and a lot of football, I’ve become a fan too. What Jane is so good at is connecting with people. It doesn’t matter where we are in the country, if someone has Steelers sportswear on she’ll say, “Go Steelers!” Quite often that leads to conversation which would lead you to believe Jane and the stranger had known each other for years.

And it’s not just the Steelers. Once, while having a drink at Cheers in Boston, she overheard someone talking and recognized the accent as being from Southwest Pennsylvania. She asked about it, was correct, and a conversation followed.

Those were simple things any of us can do, if we take the initiative. If we see something we can connect with, we need to simply raise it to the surface and let nature take its course. The other important point to note is, when you talk about what you have in common it usually elicits good feelings. As people come to associate those good feelings with you, that’s where liking happens. That’s when they start thinking of you when they have a need or want to do something social.

In the coming weeks we’ll look at others ways you can tap into the principle of liking. Now here’s the really cool thing; if you try the things I teach you, not only will people come to like you more, you’ll actually like them more as well. And who knows, that could lead to some new friendships along the way.