As I’ve mentioned before, we often trust a leader, follow advice, or buy a product based more on who we want to be than on what we want to do. In other words, we pay for useless diet advice from someone who was born with an extremely fast metabolism, rather than taking the advice of our average-sized friend who lost 30 pounds through real, reproducible steps.
The role of natural charisma in the stories of “self-made” success stories always irritates me, because it’s generally unstated in the public narrative. For that reason, I tend to feel a lot more comfortable when persons in the public eye acknowledge how much their beauty and charisma accelerated their success. (Here’s two examples: Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill, and Barbara Corcoran, the real estate mogul.)
So, we’ve established that super-hot and/or charming people can sell ice to Eskimos. The Eskimos don’t need the ice; what they need is to be near those people.
But, there are other ways to lead, market, promote, and be successful. After all, Michael Bloomberg did not become a billionaire businessman with movie-star looks and charm.
Beth Grant has some interesting things to say about this subject. Here’s a summary of some of her online talks:
Everyone has a different style of personality, and a different ability to influence and engage others. For example:
Charismatic – People buy from you because they want to be near you
Conversational – People buy from you because you’re a good speaker and they want to talk with and listen to you
Content – People buy from you because they want your content
In addition, every person has a natural “persuasion power.” They may be a Guru/Star, a Wisdom Guide (think: therapist, life coach), or a Connector/ Supporter.
Beth Grant says that most advice on sales and marketing is written by and for Charismatic Guru-Stars. So, if your personal style is something else, like a Conversational Wisdom Guide, when you try to use a hard-sell “Charismatic” technique, it will not seem authentic to your audience. Your audience will be turned off by your pitch, because they won’t want to buy from someone who’s fake. According to Ms. Grant, in order to succeed at sales and promotion, you need to use a sales technique that is in alignment with your influence style and personality.
What kind of sales techniques work for the other style and personality combinations? I have no idea, as that’s the info she has behind the paywall. Still, it’s an interesting jumping-off point.
In our own lives, we can surely think of folks who work in helping professions and do a great job, but are barely able to keep the electricity on. And then there are other people, also very caring, also with a goal of helping others, but whose businesses are prospering. What are they doing differently? Looking at the differences in their approaches may be instructive for our own pursuits.