Your face is likely the first thing a potential client will see and analyze as soon as you walk through the door. That analysis won’t stop there either. People rely on facial cues to read a person and determine their openness, trustworthiness, mood, and a slew of other useful information. So, make sure you’re taking advantage of one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal: your smile.
Now, you may roll your eyes at that because it seems cliché, but think about it. Selling Power’s article, “How to Sell with a Smile," reminds us that people who smile come across as easier to talk to, more friendly and open, and are more likely to make whomever it is they’re talking to more comfortable as opposed to someone who doesn’t smile. This is especially true when meeting someone for the first time.
Keep in mind, most people who try to force a smile aren’t very skilled at it. Genuine smiles affect the muscles around your eyes and are extremely distinguishable. So, if you're having a bad day, but you need to summon a smile, don't try to fake one. Instead, go looking for something to inspire happiness first. Talk to someone who normally brightens your day, look up that funny video you found earlier, or have a small snack. Happiness can be found in a variety of ways. Make sure you find some before you try to make a sale. At the end of the day, it's the happiness behind your smile that has an influence over your potential client, not the action itself.
That doesn't mean you have to smile the entire time you're speaking with your potential client. Honestly, that's weird. The times when it's important to smile come down to:
- When you first meet him or her: this tends to establish a more comfortable tone to start the meeting
- When you're talking about your company and what it can offer: this helps build confidence in what you're selling. Who wants to buy a product or service that even the salesperson isn't excited about?
- When you're thanking the person for their time: regardless of whether or not your sale was successful, your smile helps communicate that you genuinely appreciate the time the potential client took out of their day to meet with you
Smiling doesn’t just help you during in-person sales either. Before you even get to the meeting, your potential clients may do some research on you via LinkedIn. Are you smiling in your headshot? If not, you should consider switching your profile picture to one where you are smiling to make your profile seem more welcoming. Also, smiling while you’re speaking with a client over the phone can actually help you sound friendlier and more upbeat.