Here’s a question: What is most important to your success?

Is it education, experience, product knowledge, job title, territory, or business dress? Is it your company’s reputation, product, price, marketing collateral, delivery lead times, in stock ratios, service guarantees, management strength, or warehouse location? Is it testimonials, the latest Forbes write up, or brand awareness? Is it the investment in the latest CRM software, business 2.0 tools, or social media strategy?

You could hire a fancy consulting firm, make the list longer, add some bullet points, put it into a PowerPoint presentation, and go through the whole dog and pony show. But at the end of the day there will be only one conclusion… None of the above! You see, the most important competitive edge for today’s business professionals cannot be found on this list, your resume, or in any of your company’s marketing brochures.

If you want to know the real secret to what matters most in business, just look in the mirror. That’s right, it’s YOU. Do these other things matter? Of course they do, but when all things are equal (and in the competitive world we live in today, things almost always are) People Buy You.

Your ability to build lasting business relationships that allow you to close more deals, retain clients, increase your income, and advance your career to rise the top of your company or industry, depends on your skills for getting other people to like you, trust you, and BUY YOU.

It starts with being likable which in most cases it is the simple act of smiling and being polite. Once people like you then you can focus on connecting by asking questions and listening. People love to tell stories about themselves, their businesses, and their family. When you take time to listen to another person they are drawn to you and they feel close and connected. Once you are connected, your prospects and customers will open up and begin telling you their problems. With that information in hand you can focus on and solve their real problems. People are extremely loyal to people who solve their problems. However, even though your buyer might feel good emotionally about doing business, they are still looking for a foundation of logic with which to back up these feelings. Because of this, you must take careful steps to build trust through your actions and reinforce their emotional connection and trust in you with positive emotional experiences.
When you awaken to this concept, that People Buy You, you gain the understanding that it is not what you are selling but rather who you that makes all the difference. Your confidence goes up because you realize how very powerful you really are. For the first time you understand that the one thing that matters most, how much your customers like and trust you, is completely within your control.

Five Levers of Master Persuaders

1. Be Likable: Smile and use your positive attitude and optimism to project a cheerful, smiling, outgoing personality. People love to be around happy, optimistic people.Likability is the gateway to connections and ultimately to relationships. If others don’t find you likable, then it is virtually impossible to form profitable business relationships. If you are not likable, people will not buy you or from you. Likability is responsible for first impressions because it happens in an instant, and it is responsible for ongoing impressions because it can be lost in an instant. When people find you likable, the door opens to emotional connections, to trust, and ultimately to business relationships that help you build a successful career and income.

2. Connect: The key to connecting is listening deeply with your eyes and ears. Listen to what your customers say and observe their emotions. There are things they are passionate about. Look for common ground here. When you truly connect with someone, you take rapport to the next level. You begin to move from a business relationship to a friendship. Connecting tears down walls that tend to get in the way of real communication and understanding. When people feel connected with you they feel more comfortable telling you their real problems. With this information in hand, you have the opportunity to solve problems that really matter. This ability provides real value and engenders true loyalty. Strong connections are hard to break and are the foundation of truly prosperous, long-term business relationships.

3. Solve Problems: Problem solvers are the champions of the business world. However, it is impossible to solve problems you do not know about, which is why connecting is so critical. The essence of business is one person solving another person’s problem. A solved problem is the value that buyers pay for. It is the most important lever in the People Buy You philosophy. The most successful business people take problem solving to the next level. These individuals are constantly on the lookout for problems they can solve-even if it has no direct impact on their business. They live by the motto, “By helping others get what they want, I will get what I want.”

4. Build Trust: Trust is the glue that holds relationships together and the foundation on which all long-term relationships rest. Trust is developed with tangible evidence that you do what you say you will do, that you keep promises, and that you maintain a consistent commitment to excellence. It means going the extra mile in everything you do. In a world in which most people are doing just enough to get by, those business professionals who consistently do more than they have to will stand out. Buyers appreciate and reward this commitment to excellence with repeat business, referrals, and ultimately with trust.

5. Create Positive Emotional Experiences: Learn to make dealing with you fun, relaxing, and rewarding. You always want to leave your customers and prospects thinking about you and remembering you positively so it is imperative that you find ways to create positive emotional experiences for your customers. The key is to focus on the little things. Remember birthdays, send handwritten notes, do the unexpected. Just as an anchor is used to hold a ship in place against currents, wind, tide, and storm, positive emotional experiences anchor your relationships. They leave people wanting more of you.

Author's Bio: 

Jeb Blount is the CEO of, the most visited sales website on the internet. A respected thought leader on sales and sales leadership, he is author of three books, People Buy You: The Real Secret to what Matters Most in Business, Sales Guy’s 7 Rules for Outselling the Recession, and Power Principles. He is the author of more than 100 articles on sales and sales leadership and the host of the top rated Sales Guy Podcast. When you buy Jeb’s new book, People Buy You, today, you’ll also receive thousands of dollars worth of bonus gifts from sales growth leaders – learn more at