In my training classes I teach people the importance of smiling and I’m always interested in the facial expressions of my students during my presentation. Much of the time most students will have a blank look on their face; which tells me they don’t believe what I’m saying. When I entered the sales field in 1969, my brother told me something I’ll never forget; “Look like a professional, dress like a professional, and act like a professional and you will become a professional.” I didn’t appreciate what he was telling me at the time, but as I began maturing, I began to understand the message he was sharing. I can attest that he was right. I have shared the same sentiments with thousands of sales people in hopes they too would learn the real meaning behind the words.
When you think of a salesperson, what do you see? What is their appearance like? What type of personality do they have? How do they act around other people? What is their demeanor? All of us have met people that we somehow knew they were in sales before we were formerly introduced. They were well dressed, spoke proper grammar, and had such an outgoing personality; they had to be in sales. We have all heard the preverbal phrase, “A natural born salesperson.” In reality there is no such birth. Sales people aren’t born with natural abilities; they develop those characteristics. One very important characteristic of a successful sales person is pleasantries. They are happy, cheerful, and pleasant to be around. They generally wear a smile at all times; even when they are experiencing difficulties in making a sale.
What’s so important about a smile? Well, had you rather be around people with a frown on their face? I didn’t think so. We had all rather be around people that appear to be happy and positive, rather than people that are unhappy and negative. We are much more comfortable with people that are jolly than those that appear to be sad and may go off on a tangent at any moment. Those interested in “body language” can certainly attest that a smile is a large percentage of a first impression. We truly understand how important a first impression is in making a sale.
Personally I don’t smile all the time. That is, my smile is not painted on, and I haven’t had a smilie-face surgery. My wife says I have two personalities. I have one personality when I’m in public view and a different personality when I am off duty, so to speak. A smile is a big part of your personality. Let it be understood that I’m not talking a smile that goes from ear to ear, nor one that has the appearance of being fake. There’s a huge difference between a clown’s smile, and a soft, gentle, pleasant smile.
A smile is so important that when I train sales people, I have them practice talking to people in front of a mirror. It makes no difference whether they are practicing for a face-to-face consultation or a phone conversation. This is where I lose people. What difference does it make if you smile or not when you’re talking on a phone? It makes a huge difference in your voice tonality, and the way you are perceived by the party you called. I’ve tried to figure out how anyone on the other end of a phone conversation could tell if I was smiling or not, but they can. Try it out yourself. The next time someone calls you, see if you can visualize if they are smiling or not. I bet you’ll be surprised with the results. Smiling takes practice so give it an honest attempt. Even if your sales don’t increase, you’ll find that more people enjoy being around you. That’s worth the effort by itself.
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