Tuesday, October 14, 2014


by Emmanuel Kuehn
You have probably heard people saying that communication is all about action/reaction. When you look at somebody who is also laughing, you tend to laugh as well. Laughter is communications beyond language. The power of this type of communications defies logic, but it is so. Words can sometimes be superfluous.

People in business by definition tend to be primordially goal focused. When visiting customers, they concentrate on their sales targets rather than an emotive form of interaction. Although there is much to said about a "rational" tact, their emotional and intuitive sides get shunted aside so that there is no bond. I believe that this approach to business is a shame.

You may not perceive your client or colleague as a person with both thinking and emotional qualities, but they are. Both sides to the "relationship" are necessary to clinch any deal or beneficial understanding. If you don't engage, you risk underestimating the person's ability to "read" the situation. A misreading on your part could undermine an opportunity beneficial to you and your client.

Remember the key to sales is the first step, which is the "5 golden minutes". I have addressed this issue in previous posts. It is worth taking the time to establish a relationship with anyone with whom you come into contact. From my perspective and experience, I believe that it is the most important step of the entire sales process.

A cardinal mistake is to think that a deal is in the "bag". Emotional relationship building is fundamental. Why blame your "client" if your product is not sold?

With the right approach, you hold the reins to guide your meeting to a positive end and closure.

Let's examine one of the most common human responses. The act of "smiling". Smiling doesn't infer that you are silly or senile. It has a great power to transform any situation providing it is applied in the context of your environment. Every one reacts to human warmth. A "smile" can be worth a thousand words.

No need to follow any expensive sales trainings to practice this technique. No need to implement complex theories either. The business of forging workable relationships is not rocket science.

Do you find it that difficult to smile at someone?

For some of us who are hidebound this might be so. In principle however, it should not be. We smile regularly with friends and family. It is effortless. Why not in doing business?

The main reason could be that business people feel that business should be done in a serious way. The term "serious" should not be misread. I agree that business is not a place of entertainment like a circus.

Nonetheless, a dose of humor applied in the right manner allows for complicity and understanding. If humor is misused, it can clearly backfire. Don't be afraid of your emotions, but use them to a positive effect. Channel your personality do not stymie it. You can be serious and still show that you are human.

Is it possible to smile and at the same time being serious?

I have put this principle to work for years with positive results. So can you. Business can give much satisfaction when executed in a relaxed atmosphere. Why make the scenario more complex than it might already be?

Throughout my career, I have experienced the impact of a simple smile. Since any form of communication releases an action/reaction, the people with whom you share a smile are for the most part responding in kind. If they don't respond, no need to panic. At least you will be content with the effort.

Think of smiling as a free gift to share with others.

Not all scenarios are easy to navigate, I grant you this. For example, I once had to attend a meeting with four buyers who were not "user friendly". In fact, they took great pleasure in making the sales person feel terribly small.

When entered the room, I felt like a soldier in front of a military tribunal. The best response to that was to put a smile on my face. I kept smiling at them and realized they were slowly becoming "nicer", more human. Eventually, they defrosted.

Ultimately, we reached a stage in our communications where there was a shift so we could address each other as equals.

I guess my smile was strong enough to let them see that, although I fully respected their position and power that I was not impressed their initial game of intimidation. If a meeting goes nowhere, everyone looses. By the end, their attitudes shifted and they let go of their masks. Even they felt a sign of relief. I must add that although I did not make a sale, I succeeded in changing their behaviour, which was no mean feat.

In conclusion, I would like to share with you the following anonymous poem I stumbled upon and well describes the impact of smiling:

Smiling is infectious; you catch it like the flu.
When someone smiled at me today, I started smiling too.
I passed around the corner and someone saw my grin.
When he smiled, I'd realized I'd passed it on to him.
I thought about that smile then I realized its worth,
A single smile, just like mine could travel round the earth.
So if you feel a smile begin, don't leave it undetected.
Let's start and epidemic quick, and get the world infected!
Everyone needs to SMILE!!

(Author: anonymous)

About The Author

Emmanuel Kuehn is a Management Consultant, Business Coach & Trainer for both corporate organizations and individuals.

Business Is A Matter Of People
Emmanuel Kuehn | WisePoint B.V.

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