Does selling require charisma?

Last updated Dec 10, 2020 | Improving your work performance

Does selling require charisma?

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Do you need to be charismatic in order to improve sales, or does it help you sign up more or larger clients? Various people, particularly those who consider themselves as introverts, have told me they need more charisma to help them sell more, or better at influencing others.  Some said they were hampered by not being as charismatic as other people. This post has 4 tips to help you show more charisma.

What is selling, but influencing? Would being better at influencing mean you had more charisma, or is it the other way round?

What is charisma?

Olivia Fox Cabane’s book “The Charisma Myth: Master the Art of Personal Magnetism” talks about Charisma has having three elements:

  • Presence: Actually being there in the discussion, versus somebody whose mind is clearly elsewhere. I’ll admit to having suffered this one when cooking dinner recently. I returned to the kitchen 25 minutes after preparing the food to wonder what the smell was. I discovered the packaging in the oven and the dinner in the bin! You’re probably not that bad, but being present can make a huge difference in how you appear to somebody else. What does being present mean? Listening, taking notice, taking action – all sounds like active listening which is of course an introvert super-power.
  • Power: People are drawn to confidence, they’re turned off by insecurity and self-doubt (within limits, hence the next characteristic). Being comfortable with who you are, and are being not afraid to influence the world around you radiates some power.
  • Warmth: The importance of making somebody feel important and looking below the surface to see their good qualities.
You have each of these elements, it’s just a question of how much you show. It’s also interesting that there is a balance between them.
Years ago, when I was first dating, I got some feedback that in trying to appear more interested in a girl it was coming across as appearing needy (in other words, not having enough power). A while later I got the opposite feedback! At least it showed me we can develop these elements to different degrees, even if I didn’t “get the girl” (at the time).

4 actions to display more charisma.

Whether introverted, or not, you can display more charisma and be more charismatic. None of the three elements of charisma are things that introverts don’t have/ can’t do. What can you do to display more charisma?
  1. Listening. Many people might not think of listening as being linked to charisma. People who demonstrate warmth listen well.  Listening properly shows you are interested in them. Also, by listening you’ll know they’re inspired by you!
  2. Presence. To display more charisma make good eye contact and stand in a way that shows confidence. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and stand tall. If you are presenting, don’t pace up and down, it looks un-confident. You might like to listen to presentation tips for introverts for an interview with The Presentation Genius Dr Simon Raybould.
  3. Talking. Use metaphors and stories. Stories help people engage with you and understand your point, in their way. Engaging with people helps increase the power and presence you radiate. Asking rhetorical questions can help too, if you leave them time to consider your point. Don’t do what I did many years ago when initially going networking. I got some feedback that I was either uninterested, un-confident or arrogant!  I later talked to the people who gave me that feedback. I had engaged and asked questions, but didn’t leave people time to to consider their answer; simply rushing on was perceived as a sign of non confidence, arrogance or a lack of interest (painfully obvious when I think about it now)..
  4. Bigger picture. Talk about your bigger picture, or vision, this can help people see you have a sense of purpose. This can help unite people as they can see themselves in the picture (similar to NLP’s  concept of “chunking up“). Alignment helps people warm to you and is the opposite of talking about the detail all the time. It’s OK to talk detail, once you’ve got alignment about the less detailed parts.
Is charisma important if you want to influence others and sell more? My initial reaction was “no”, but when I thought about it in more detail – the answer moved to yes. However we can all be more charismatic, if we choose!
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