People buy people first, and whatever else second. This is one of the timeless principles of selling and it hasn’t changed in today’s hybrid world. If people don’t feel they can work with you, if they don’t feel comfortable or trust you, they will usually not tell you – but they will buy from someone else.

So how do you get people to like you? It might be a potential customer or client, or someone you meet socially. What is the secret? Here are three words you can take and use immediately: LIKE THEM FIRST. Or like something they’ve done, or like something about them – maybe their offices, or website or something they’ve written. Being genuine is key here.

Business is like a boomerang: what you hand out you get back, and when it does come back, it is multiplied. How do you get people to respect you? Respect them first.

Here are three how-to’s which will help you to understand the full implications of people buy people first:

1. Become like the person you are talking to.

People like people who are like they are. We all feel comfortable with people who think like we think, or who used to think like we now think. So how do you use this in a sales conversation?

You agree with opinions. Everyone’s got an opinion. You must train yourself to appear to agree with their opinion, or if there’s no way you can agree with the opinion then you can always agree with the logic, the thought process which led them to that opinion. One of the most useful people buy people first phrases is ‘Fine I can understand that’.

Let’s look at influence skills and objection handling to illustrate this point. The key skill is to agree and outweigh. If the prospect has a point of view different to the point of view you would like them to have, what all of us tend to do is we outweigh it. We dwarf minor objections by highlighting major pluses, but in order for the prospect to understand your point of view, to buy your idea, you need to begin by showing that you understand theirs. People buy people first, and whatever else second.

2. Be other person centred

Once people sense you have their interests at heart and not just your own, they begin to trust you. One of the great laws of success, which I’m sure you’ve heard is –  ‘The best way for us to get what we want is to help a lot of other people get what they want’. Help people to get what they want. The most compelling way to behave is to show interest in other people.

Always keep in mind: your prospective customer or client is thinking, ‘is this an individual I will feel comfortable working with? Will they support me? Or are they just trying to sell me something?’

3. Be a great listener

Below average sales people monopolize the talking. Above average sales people monopolize the listening. What do you tend to do the most of during a business conversation? Talking or listening? If you catch yourself talking too much, stop and ask the prospect a question – for example, ‘what does value look like to you?’ You should have a list of 6 or 7 questions that you ask every prospect. This is especially important with virtual selling. You maintain engagement by asking great questions.

To outsell your competition, you have to out-listen your competition. The secret is to listen beyond your product. What are the issues? Why does it matter? Get closer to the issues. People buy people first is one of the timeless skills of selling. We rarely run a sales training session without including it.

Learn more about LDL sales training.

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