A woman attends her third Tupperware party in one week. She knows she will buy something she doesn’t want, but feels obligated to a friend. A prospect agrees to a meeting referred by a friend. He mentions that he already has a financial advisor but agrees to buy an annuity on the second appointment. A car salesman in Detroit sends out a photocopied “I like you” every three months to his prospects. His production is more than the combined sales of the next 100 top producers in his company.

If this sounds frivolous, you are right … and wrong. Striking achievements are made by very successful salespeople based on a very simple rule. We tend to do business with those we like. Yet “liking” is frequently mentioned, but not often defined.

What is it about those we like that attracts us and creates compliance and commitment? And how can you use these laws to ethically influence your prospects to become long-term clients?

Attractiveness and liking has a great bearing on how successful we are. I sat on an airplane recently with a life insurance company executive. He discussed competitive products with market-sensitive interest rates. When I explained to him how important attractiveness, trust and liking are, he maintained these factors had little or no bearing if someone was faced with making either eight or 10 percent more return. I mentioned if that were true, why didn’t he sell his products solely on the Internet?

If people skills really aren’t necessary in a sale, we are all certainly working too hard. No human contact would be needed. Trust is the most critical part of what you do. And a large part of trust is the degree to which you appear attractive to your clients. If you pragmatically use the techniques I have discussed, you will also become much more efficient and effective in dealing with people and increase your income.

Kerry Johnson, MBA, Ph.D. is an author and frequent speaker at financial planning and insurance conferences around the world. He operates Peak Performance Coaching, a one-on-one, fast-track coaching program. Visit www.kerryjohnson.com or call 800-883-8787 for more information.