We live in a digital age, but when it comes down to it, personal one-on-one communication is still paramount for any sales person or business owner. In order to get new clients, you first need to attract and engage the people you interact with everyday, proving yourself likable and trustworthy in the process.
We meet hundreds if not thousands of people every month, so strategically using interpersonal tactics and techniques can equate to a huge bump in leads, clients, and closed deals.
So, today I’ll share five communication “cheat codes” that will help you do just that. Try these the next time you’re sitting with a sales prospect, at a business mixer, or even at a cocktail party!
5 Communication cheat codes:
1. DON’T smile right away
When you first meet someone, don't flash an immediate smile, and don’t enter a room or encounter already with a full smile. If you do so, it appears to the other person that you already have that smile, and so they are not special.
Instead, pause and look at the person’s face for a brief moment, and THEN flash your big, warm smile. By smiling AFTER you see them and register their face, your smile will always appear sincere, and people will know that you’re lighting up specifically for them, not just because you happen to be in a good mood, leaving them with a strong positive impression and emotions.
2. Make eye contact for 60% of a conversation
Maintaining eye contact with the person you're speaking with is key to engaging them and forming a connection, but how much is too much? After all, you don't want to blankly stare at their eyes, which is a surefire way to weird them out and make yourself highly avoidable! Instead, maintain a balance by making straightforward eye contact about 60% of the time, and you'll be perceived as interested, friendly, and trustworthy.
Another interesting note: focus not on both of their eyes at once (that will leave you a little cross-eyed!) but on one eye or the other, which will feel (and appear) more natural.
3. Everyone loves to hear their name – the Cocktail Party Effect
No matter who you are or where you’re from, chances are you respond positively to hearing your own name, a trait that’s hard-wired in humans. So, whether you’re meeting someone for the first time or just trying to woo them, repeat their name a few times organically in conversation.
In fact, scientists have established that hearing your name activates a different part of the brain - the medial prefrontal cortex, and you respond in “self-representational” ways that are linked to identity and other self-image processes.
So, that’s why you can hear your own name over the din at a noisy cocktail party, when you wouldn’t be able to hear anything else in a normal conversational tone. And it’s also why using a client’s name is so damn effective!
4. Follow their feet to gauge interest
Is someone genuinely interested in you and what you have to say, or just going through the motions and being polite until they can get away? There's a great trick to be able to tell, and it has nothing to do with reading facial expressions, voice, or other body language. Instead, look at their feet.
If they're pointed in your direction, the person is interested and really listening to you. However, if their feet are pointed away, they're not engaged at all and can't wait to get out the door.
5. People remember unfinished…
Interestingly, people remember communication messages that are cut off early or aren’t finished at higher rates than those that are completed. Called the Zeigarnik Effect, advertisers, marketers, and behavioral psychologists are using this trick everywhere - but you probably don’t even notice.
You can use this tip to get someone’s attention and ensure that they remember you, possibly by telling them that you have a great story for them later on, a joke without a punchline yet, or letting them know that you want to tell them something important, like…
...see how well that works?
Contact me if you need any help with your marketing or if there's a topic you'd like to see here. Now go get 'em!
Would you like to win a free Starbucks card? How about a gift certificate to your favorite restaurant? Or even have a chance to win an iPad?!
Of course, you would! After all, who doesn't like winning free stuff?
And that's the basis of an incredibly powerful – yet underutilized - marketing tool for mortgage lenders, Realtors, and any small business owner that I’ll talk about today:
Contests, giveaways, and raffles on social media.
Psychologists have found a nuance of human behavior that's nearly universal: we love to win just about anything, and we love free. In fact, studies prove that people vastly overvalue an item, good, or service if the word "free" is attached.
Such is the case with an advertising campaign conducted by Krispy Kreme years ago when they offered a free donut to each patron on one particular day. The lines were so long that people had to wait up to two hours just for one donut (how much is two hours of your time worth?). The promotion was so frenzied that the donut retailer ended up having their most profitable day ever!
You can use this same psychology to promote your business, albeit online and without the donut (eat that yourself).
To give you a broad definition, we’re talking about giveaways, raffles, and contests (I’ll refer to them as GR&C) as interchangeable since they’re basically the same thing despite subtle differences. Likewise, these all can be conducted online via your website, Facebook, Instagram, or any social media account, email blasts, or any combination.
Today, I'll mostly talk more about GR&C's for Facebook, but contact me if you want strategies for promotions on Instagram or email.
The basic premise is simple: we offer something of value for free for the winner(s) of these GR&C’s as a way to promote your brand and business.
The benefits to you will include:
What might a GR&C look like on Facebook?
Here are a few ideas to get started:
-A quiz or trivia contest
-Help us name (something) contest
-Fill in the blank contest
-Funniest GIF contest
-A random drawing for new people that like your page
-Random drawing for all of your followers
-Fan/Client/Follower of the Week
-Funniest/best selfie contest
-Choose your favorite _____ contest
-Raffle off something
-Vote for something
-Transformation (lose weight in 30 days, best before and after makeover, etc.)
-A social media scavenger hunt, where you give clues and people have to take a photo at those places around town or per your instructions
My favorite GR&C’s involve some form of a photo contest:
-Take a funny selfie
-Take a selfie or photo somewhere recognizable in the city/neighborhood you live in
-Take a photo of a DIY home improvement or decorating project you did
-Take a selfie or photo in front of one of your For Sale signs
-Take a photo of a home you’ve helped buy or sell
-Take a photo of the funniest/best/most creative ______ you can find
-Take a photo from a certain event or holiday (Christmas/back to school/baseball game, etc.)
The possibilities for great GR&C’s involving photos are endless, giving you important social proof, humanizing your brand, and also gaining far more interest than text alone.
You can also extend this to videos but realize that you'll get fewer participants.
What can you give away?
Prizes can range from free (you can bake cookies and deliver them!) to ridicuslouly fun and pricey. I once ran a promotion where a client gave away two tickets to a Justin Timberlake contenst! Here are some other ideas:
The key to a good GR&C is that you make it simple and document the rules clearly.
To promote your GR&C:
Create a nice graphic that clearly explains the contest, the prize, the terms, etc. You can also post about the GR&C on your blog, website, all over your social media, and via email blast.
When the deadline ends for submissions, there are several ways you can decide the winner. It can be a random drawing based on names-in-a-hat or random number selection (which you can video and post), or you can simply choose your favorite.
But my preferred method for picking a winner is by posting all of the photos from the participants (assuming you ran a giveaway with photos) and let your followers vote for their favorite. The photo with the most likes wins!
That also encourages participants to share their photo/your post to encourage their other friends to like your page, follow you, and vote.
Cross-promotion with a popular brand or local business
To step up the promotion for the sake of enhancing your business, partner with a local business in the city or neighborhood where you operate. Businesses will often gladly give away a restaurant coupon for a free meal, a free car wash, a free massage, a free coffee, etc. just because of the advertising it will yield them.
By bringing in a local business, you also encourage them to share it with their extensive customer database on Facebook and elsewhere, so you’re really gaining massive new exposure to a new audience.
Before you fly off and start setting up GR&C’s on Facebook, there are some rules and regulations you should be aware of:
From what I’ve read, you can only run these GR&C’s on your business page (not personal). You also have to clearly define the terms and rules, who is eligible, and share a standard Facebook disclaimer that states that Facebook isn’t involved in any way.
You also CAN’T ask contest participants to:
Here are Facebook’s specific rules for promotions like this:
1. If you use Facebook to communicate or administer a promotion (ex: a contest or sweepstakes), you are responsible for the lawful operation of that promotion, including:
a. The official rules;
b. Offer terms and eligibility requirements (ex: age and residency restrictions); and
c. Compliance with applicable rules and regulations governing the promotion and all prizes offered (ex: registration and obtaining necessary regulatory approvals)
2. Promotions on Facebook must include the following:
a. A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant.
b. Acknowledgment that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
3. Promotions may be administered on Pages or within apps on Facebook. Personal Timelines and friend connections must not be used to administer promotions (ex: “share on your Timeline to enter” or “share on your friend's Timeline to get additional entries”, and "tag your friends in this post to enter" are not permitted).
4. We will not assist you in the administration of your promotion, and you agree that if you use our service to administer your promotion, you do so at your own risk.
My advice is to start small, with a simple Starbucks card giveaway or random drawing. But start to do it regularly – like a Free Giveaway Friday, as an example, or on the first day of every month.
Eventually, people will flock to your Facebook page regularly as word gets out and they realize that you're consistently giving great prizes away.
And remember – you share these same giveaways, raffles, and contests on Instagram, through your email, and elsewhere.
Give it a try – and contact me if you want to game-plan and get some help!