I was having a conversation with a business coach coworker a couple of days ago and it went something like this…. “Hey Luke, how are you today?” I responded saying “I’m doing well, how are you?” from there things got a little crazy. The coworker proceeded to tell me about how crazy and terrible his life was. He went on and on and by the time the conversation came to a close, he had eaten up about 10 minutes of my precious time. As we left the conversation I noticed that this coworker was very happy and practically skipped off lightheartedly. Since then they enthusiastically say hi to me every day and think I am pretty much the nicest guy they have ever met (exaggeration). As I reflect on this business coach situation and am struck by the profound, or not so profound, reality that people’s favorite topic is themselves. Whether they admit it or not, most people really want to vent or share their successes or life. People are on a journey of significance, and this comes out a lot of times, in them choosing to talk only about themselves.
“The key to being an interesting person is to make the other person feel like they are the most interesting person in the world.”
While this might be frustrating to some, if you have a friend or spouse that does all the talking and never asks any questions, it is also a great tool that you can utilize to be successful in life and business. In our coaches meeting the other day, Clay Clark said, “The key to being an interesting person is to make the other person feel like they are the most interesting person in the world.” Taking these two similar ideas I decided to do an experiment. I decided to go into conversations with only one objective, share nothing about myself, only ask questions. It has been a very fun experiment. People are so eager to talk about themselves. Even “introverted” people come out of their shells and start talking a lot when you take the time to ask enough questions and show genuine interest in their lives. Also, they start to like you more. As they like you more their trust in you increases and you have the ability to lead them more intentionally if you choose.
Now, I know that some people are going to call this manipulation, and you’re not wrong. The reality is that there is a way that people work and function, and if you are able to build rapport (Helping people like and trust you) with people, find needs and offer a benefit, then you will be able to close deals more often. Do you see what I did there? This tool that we are talking about, making people feel like they are the most interesting person in the world, is one of the best strategies for building rapport in the sales cycle. As a business coach and former pastor, I have learned that building rapport is perhaps the most important part of the sales cycle because if you get this down then the rest of the process is so easy. If you cannot build rapport with someone, then it is dang near impossible to sell them something or lead them to action. If you can get good at coming across as genuinely interested in others, then you can become incredible at selling or leading. The key to this is that your interest comes across as genuine. People can sniff out a poser from a mile away. If they sense any business coach agenda, like that you want to sell something to them, then their guard will come up very fast. You must learn to be very genuine.
The only way to get good at something is to work at it. Today, do what I did, and test this principle. Decide that you are going to go into every conversation today with the intention to only ask questions and let others talk. Your goal is to make the other person feel like the most interesting person in the world. Watch what happens. They will not only start to trust you more, but they will be open to wherever you want to lead them.