Be Ready to Charm Prospects

March 4, 2015

With the spring selling season in sight and the search for prospects picking up, it's important to remember that every person you meet could be your next sale. Put yourself in the best light as you meet new people by following a variety of tips suggested by self-improvement website Lifehacker.

Writer Patrick Allan starts out by reminding readers to charm people, not to manipulate them. Simply portray yourself in the best possible light without making the other person uncomfortable or lying. "If you think you can't be charming, you're wrong," Allan says. "Guy or gal, it's something everyone can learn, you just need to know what to do and practice it."

As you approach someone, know who they are, perhaps by talking to a mutual friend, and scan their body language to see if they're approachable. Once you feel that a good conversation can take place, approach with a confident smile. Even strangers like to be around people who are enjoying themselves and feel confident, Allan says.

If you always introduce yourself with a question -- it can be as simple as "What brings you here tonight," Allan says -- you'll show that you're interested in them and naturally nudge the conversation along. By starting very generally and keeping the "more probing" questions for later, you can subtly guide the conversation. While you chat, commit their name to memory and use it to embed it into your memory.

As you chat, look for what Allan calls "latch" words -- words that describe interests you both share -- and use them to move the conversation into deeper questions. By keeping a "bank" of latch words, you won't have to interrupt your new acquaintance but will have plenty to talk about. By sharing these topics, show them that you "get" them -- it's when people share commonalities that they start to bond.

By listening closely and keeping the focus on them, you'll show that you're interested in them as people. Once the pace of your chat starts to die down, Allan says, make an exit before an uncomfortable lull occurs by making pleasantries and saying something unique to show you've listened and gotten to know them.

Allan concludes by reminding readers, "Charm doesn't automatically mean you'll get along with every person on the planet. It just means that you can have a pleasant conversation with someone that may or may not lead to a healthy relationship." Even if the two of you don't click, it's still useful to leave a positive impression.

Source: "How to Charm Someone You've Never Met Before," (March 2, 2015)