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Posted: January 26, 2011

Five secrets to sales charisma

If you got it, flaunt it

Liz Wendling

Charisma sells!

Sales charisma is as seductive as it is elusive. Its powers are hard to resist and equally hard to pinpoint, but you know when a salesperson has it - that secret recipe that makes them sparkle with an irresistible presence, radiate an energy and passion that is entirely compelling to others. It's a powerful force, and salespeople who possess it are able to attract the right people, create the sales success they desire, get others to listen to them and influence others positively.

The "it" factor is a potent power that separates mediocre salespeople from top performers. Charismatic people are described as inspirational, passionate, self-confident, insightful, ambitious, visionary and dynamic.

In today's economy, it's not enough to be smart. It's not enough to have a great product or service. Those are just the tickets to entry. Today you also have to have an additional edge -- and that's possessing the "it" factor.

If you're in sales, charisma can have a major impact on the way your potential customers treat you and deal with you. High-performing sales professionals know how to create irresistible attraction -- not only to their products but also to themselves -- and develop a sales personality that draws people in and makes prospects want to do business with them.

Some say you have to be born with it. Others say it can be developed. It's true that some people are born with a certain amount of personal charisma, but it's certainly worth developing further. Charisma is the deal-sealer that attracts people and situations to you. A shortage of this precious commodity can be a hazard in business, but in sales, it's a career killer.

Here are five characteristics of people who possess the "it" factor:

1. They're charming: People with the "it" factor fully accept their identities as people who are appealing and captivating. They know that possessing these qualities means that some people will like them, while others won't. That's just part of being in the spotlight of someone who has "it."

2. They're compelling: Their authenticity and fearless acceptance of themselves make them appealing. People are naturally drawn to them because they are so rooted and sure of what they believe in. It's not necessarily that their beliefs are compelling; it's the amount of faith behind them that makes them alluring.

3. They don't care what others think of them: Their unshakable acceptance of themselves makes them feel completely comfortable living outside the box. Popular opinion doesn't matter much to them and they don't care what others think of them. It's their life and they fully intend to live it.

4. They exude confidence: Those with the "it" factor are confident but not cocky. They rarely question themselves and possess huge amounts of self assurance. Sometimes people can confuse this confidence with a big ego. But they simply know who they are and what they want and are unwilling to compromise on that at any cost.

5. They're connectors: Despite their seemingly big egos and sometimes off-putting amounts of self-assurance, people with charisma know how to connect. They connect with others in business as well as in their personal lives. It gives them great pleasure to do so.

Charisma is genuine and is always a reflection of a person's character. If you have charisma without character, it's only a matter of time before people find you out. Without character you can't sustain meaningful relationships, and without relationships your ability to lead and influence others is diminished.

As you begin the process of learning to be more charismatic, pay attention to how the world and others react to you. You will know when it's working because people will respond to you differently. You will have more people wanting to do business with you - hoping your charisma and spark rubs off on them! Remember, it's not what you sell, it's how you sell.
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Liz Wendling is the president of Insight Business Consultants, a nationally recognized business consultant, sales strategist and emotional intelligence coach. Liz is driven by her passion for business and generating results for her clients. Liz understands the challenges that business owners are facing building a business and selling their professional services in today's market.

Liz shows clients how to tap into and use their innate strength, power and confidence to develop highly successful businesses. She teaches them to create effective, dynamic and fluid client conversations that turn interested prospects into invested clients who keep coming back.

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Readers Respond

Liz, Great article! I just completed a nationwide study on what leadership characteristics influence the Millennial generation, and passion was number one. This fits with what you are describing about charisma. Young people want someone who believes in something so wholeheartedly that others ware compelled to follow him or her.And, of course, I agree that character is the key to making charisma work. Thanks! By Shawn on 2011 02 01
I agree with your astute assessment above as a sweeping generalization and a description of a good male salesman. I think it is much harder for women to take this route and as you mentioned they will run into people (mostly other women) that don't like them. How often do you hear people and the media describe a woman as charismatic or compelling? In the US we are still socialized to judge women on their looks and most will spend their lives thinking they aren’t good enough. Men are judged on their looks but they learn early on where they stand in that category and will work to develop other areas to make them stand out because they are socialized and rewarded to pursue humor, intelligence, athletic ability, etc. to compensate. Women are not taught to pursue but to enthrall and lure which not only sets up different social expectations on behavior but rewards teen girls for looks. Back to charisma, I think you left one important thing off your list which is looks. A charismatic person has to be put together. If a person is slovenly or wears outdated/ill-fitting clothes he/she just can’t carry it off. Right or wrong our first impressions are based on what we see as well as the interaction. Anyway, very good article and I agree you can’t teach “it” as some other columnists have suggested. By Michelle on 2011 01 26

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