Business Tips: Using Compliments to Close a Sale

British Airways Business Life has a fascinating story about client relations, and the need to be "liked" by the people with whom you are doing business.

"Persuasion researchers have known for many years that a person's likeability is a key factor in determining how successful they are at influencing others," the story by writer Steve Martin begins. "In fact, many business training programs will claim that the first rule in any business interaction is to get your customer to like you. But it turns out that this is not necessarily true."

Martin goes on to explain that clients are more likely to say "yes" to people who say that they like them, especially if they pay them compliments as well.

"Studies have consistently shown how effective it can be to tell others that you like them and to give genuine compliments. Waiters receive bigger tips after praising diners for their menu choice. Hair stylists get higher tips after telling clients how much they like their new hairdo. Moreover, the effects of compliments hold true even when people know that the flatterer has an ulterior motive. But the lesson is not to use false compliments as a universal, and rather blunt, instrument of persuasion. Instead it is to selectively look for genuinely likeable features in someone and tell them."

Have you tried gentle flattery to close a sale? Has it worked? Sound off on Facebook (link above) or drop us a line to share your strategies for keeping clients happy.

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