I do not know what took me so long to pick up the classic How To Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie. Many of the lessons in the book might seem obvious but there is a difference between knowing something and doing something. The countless real world examples Mr. Carnegie uses throughout the book to explain how to implement the friend winning principles is pure entertainment. Not only does he tell many great stories, every principal that he teaches is backed by research. After reading the book, which I highly recommend, You will be asking yourself how can I win more friends and influence more people. The concepts are not just important in your business life, they can impact the success of personal relationships. That being said, there are countless ways that Mr. Carnegies’s principles can be leveraged by marketers to engage with customers and grow a solid pipeline. These techniques will definitely win you some friends in the sales department who will just as easily be enticed by these proven behaviors.
- If you want to gather honey, don’t kick over the beehive: Upsetting or arguing with someone is not going to get you what you want. Stay positive in your conversations and avoid tense subjects. Communicating an opinion that could alienate your customers will not get the response or behavior that you are looking for.
- Empty flattery won’t get you anywhere: Be sincere. With the amount of data there is about the experience of any one individual there are countless opportunities to compliment or connect with customers. Think about the compliment and make sure that it is something that is sincere. People can see through shallow flattery and will not respond to it.
- Bait the hook to suit the fish: Use tools and messages that interest niche audiences or individuals. Using a generic message will not give you the ability to connect with individuals. Identify niche subtopics and use that messaging with specific personality types. There are countless email automation and segmenting tools that allow you to do this like a pro.
- Remember people’s details: I can’t believe I have to say this, but I know I do because I receive generic “Hello Sir” cold emails all day long. Take that extra second and write the name of the contact in the email. Most of my email addresses start with Alex. Go one step further and include company names, titles, birth dates, family members and events in your emails. Remember where you met someone or what you spoke about. All of these can be done easily by creating custom email fields and uploading the data with a spreadsheet. Instantly giving you the ability to mass customize.
- Give your target audience the ability to tell you what they want: Listen to your customer and your audience. Use the countless LinkedIn Groups, Facebook Pages, online forums etc. to learn what your customers want to talk about. Heck, send out a survey. The main thing is not to make assumptions. Many industries and sub-industries have forums where professionals engage with each other and ask very clear questions. Use that information to write blogs and share content that is relevant to them.
- See things from another person’s point of view to find common ground: Not everyone agrees on all topics. Looking for opportunities to understand someone’s point of view is the ultimate conversation starter. Conceding your own opinions and taking steps to inform yourself is not only good for your customer but good for you.
- Love your audience: Think how lucky you are to have an audience. There are people out there that want to listen to you and think that you and your team have relevant things to say. That means you are delivering value to people who care. Be appreciative and incentivise your audience with great information, services, and products that will help them.
- Do onto others as you would want others to do onto you: The golden rule has always been one to live by in every aspect of your life. Treat individuals with respects. Respect their time. Respect their inbox. Respect their phone. Think about the things that marketers do that get you all worked up, and make sure you don’t do that to your audience.
- Welcome a disagreement: There is nothing wrong with a disagreement as long as it does not become a conflict. Everybody has different preferences and perspectives. Maybe some of the campaigns or strategies work for you in your industry but might not work for everybody. Go back to trying to understand your audience’s perspective then agree to disagree. But do it professionally.
- Its okay to be wrong and admit your mistakes: Everybody makes mistakes, the question is how you handle that mistake. It could be your email, newsletter, blog, presentation. Don’t be ashamed to bring attention to the mistake so that you make sure that you correct it. Admitting that something can be improved can make you human and put you on common ground with your audience. Admit the mistake and make sure that the next time around it has been corrected.
- A drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall: Gall is defined as, “something bitter or severe”. I had to look it up. Showing someone respect, complimenting them, understanding them. All of these things use honey to build a relationship. Being critical of your customer or prospect is going to put their back up immediately. Even if they are being critical of you, your company or your product, being bitter is not going to help communicate your position or build trust.
- Take a yes approach: In the book, Carnegie talks about getting multiple “yes” statements before talking about anything. Its as easy as asking simple but relevant questions that will have your prospect respond with a “yes”. This will prime them for the conversation and make them more agreeable.
- Appeal to noble motives: Make things bigger than yourself, or your product or your company. Humans want to make a difference. Whether it is improving the world or improving the lives of their friends, family or colleagues. Your product is not just a device with functions it is a solution to a problem that is going to help your customer’s daily life.
- Dramatize your ideas: There is nothing wrong with a grand entrance or a bit of a show. Tell your audience a story, demonstrate the impact of what you are doing, or emphasize the kind of results that can be expected.
- Throw down a challenge: Everybody likes a challenge. Pose a question to your audience, create a fun competition, incentivise them to get involved. Is your audience up to the task? Competitions are a proven way to engage consumer and business audiences.
There is much more to the book which includes applicable insights into how to influence and win the trust of anybody in your life. People are the most engaged when they are talking about themselves and their challenges. Understanding when and how to connect with them will impact the success that you have in influencing them.