How charm and charisma won’t get you the sale

In the beginning, a career in sales might have seemed like a perfect fit because you were so darn charming and charismatic that you could have, well, sold ice to an Eskimo.


At least that’s what a lot of folks in sales think the secret is to being a great sales professional. But then there comes a time in your life when you realize the skills that got you here aren’t enough. Charm only gets you so far – which, by the way, isn’t as far as you thought.

There’s a better way to make sales presentations more memorable that will set you apart from the competition, increase trust with your customers and raise your level of confidence.

Not only will you find more enjoyment and ease in your new sales role, you’ll position yourself to make more sales.

You will resonate.

Here are three simple, effective ways to make your next sales presentation an unforgettable hit.

Stop Trying To Be Good

Good usually means trying to please everyone. And as the old adage goes: when you try to please everyone, you please no one. You’re predictable, unremarkable and forgettable.

Basically, you’re vanilla when you really want to be rocky road.

Which is why the charisma kicks in, because you’re trying too hard to get others to like you. You want to avoid the pain of rejection.

Stop it!

Good means seeking approval; seeking approval for the “if they like me they’ll buy from me” mentality, which doesn’t work anymore. I’ve done very large deals without ever meeting a client face-to-face. The entire transaction has happened via email. Customers don’t have time to be charmed, they want to know that they’re in good hands. The days of schmoozing a customer to secure the order are over.

So don’t be good, don’t seek approval.

Be Helpful Instead.

A helpful mindset, especially for sales professionals, opens the door to taking risks. It frees you up to be you. Because let’s just say your competition oozes charisma and you, you’re more reserved – confident, yes – but reserved. You don’t have to worry about turning up the charm just because your competitor does.

What customers want is someone who can help them find the right solutions to their problems. They want to know that you can provide the knowledge and experience to help them make a decision.

Customers trust being helpful before being charmed any day of the week.

Engage Your Customer’s Brain

Tap into that creative artist that is inside of you and instead of giving a sales pitch, give a sales performance by telling a story.

Yes a story.

Think of the stories that are told by an actor, magician, or comedian. A performance like that is what our brains crave and will make your message interesting and memorable. We are wired for receiving stories rather than pitches. That’s how our ancestors communicated for thousands of years before writing was invented. There are evolutionary reasons our brains tap into stories. It’s how we survived.

Think about the things you find entertaining.

For me it’s my favorite Seinfeld episode and the unexpected twists from Game Of Thrones. How about those precious Budweiser Clydesdales from the Super Bowl commercials? Are memories stirring inside your head? Your heart?

Give your customers, ahem, audience the gift of a performance. Turn your pitches into stories and make them memorable. There are many ways to tell a story, it is an art that requires practice. Begin by thinking of real-life lessons; even ones that might make you look fragile. A customer will see the authenticity of your exposure and connect with the emotion in that narrative.

For example, I performed a talk about body language and nonverbal communication to my peers earlier this year. I wasn’t exactly sure how to start my presentation, but in the buildup prior to me taking the stage I had been asked several times how I became interested in the subject. So it seemed natural to tell the story of how I stumbled across this field.

About two years ago our company was in the process of being acquired by a competitor. Naturally I was fearful of what would happen to my job. How would I provide for my family? My world was full of uncertainty and this was something everyone in my audience could relate to. During that insecurity I knew that I had to up my game and learn new skills that would help me keep my job after the acquisition or find a better job if things didn’t work out. Adding body language and nonverbal communication to my toolbox is how I would set myself apart from the crowd.

While this opening was quite accidental at the time, I heard from several people that it drew them in. They connected with my story and could relate to their own doubts. Frankly it was that experience that got me interested in the story and performance side of communication.

Try these tips: Don’t seek approval, be helpful and take an existing sales presentation of your own and weave it into a story. See what happens. I expect your customers will find your message to be more memorable and resonate.