Flattery Will Get You EVERYWHERE
I like to be flattered. Who doesn’t? Being told I am pretty by anyone other than a salesman trying to sell me hand cream at the mall can make my day.
But let me tell you a few things about women like me... [I suspect the same is true for some men, but I am not a man, so you’ll have to chime in and let me know.] We like to be told that we are pretty, but what we like even MORE is to be told that we are valuable, smart and important.
So, if you are in a position to identify specifically WHY someone you are talking to is any of those things, you should find a way to express it.
Here is what I mean. I was on the phone with someone in the industry who was seeking to pick my brain about a few things. He had logged into one of our recent PI webinars, and decided to reach out to me because he wanted me to expand on a few of our observations.
In the course of our very interesting discussion, he asked my opinion about a few things, gave me a few pieces of advice that were VERY valuable to me and my business, and managed to flatter me in the process—both overtly and subtly. He expressed himself on specific attributes he felt I possessed, all on the basis of one 30-minute conversation and one hour-long webinar in which he listened to my half of a discussion with the always fabulous Bill Farquharson.
Was he being sincere? I think so. Because he was not trying to convince me, persuade me, or sell me a timeshare, he had no reason to be anything but honest and open with me. And there’s the kicker. If you are in a position to flatter someone—sincerely, honestly and specifically—you ALSO have to find a way to make it sound genuine, and not that you are just trying to curry favor so your services will be chosen.
So how should you go about doing this? Here are a few tips.
Save it until the appropriate moment. Five minutes into a conversation is probably not the time to drop some flattery; you need to warm up and get a true rapport going first.
Be specific. If you are going to drop some flattery, it should refer to a specific accomplishment, observation or even an award.
For example, if you have done your research and you know that an agency had just won an award—and you know that your target worked on that account—you might say, “I read recently that your firm won an award for the ABC campaign. What was your role in that project?” Or, “You mentioned earlier that you always invite new vendors in each quarter to stay apprised of what is out there. I think that is a very valuable idea, and one that I might even suggest to my own operations VP.”
Be Selective. Don’t just throw flattery out there because you can. Make it mean something.
This can be especially true with your co-workers, especially your support team. If someone REALLY goes the extra mile, and I am talking pulling an all-nighter—not just staying 10 minutes late—to help you out, go ahead and flatter away. Tell the whole company about what she/he did for you. And of course, gifts are always appreciated.
What’s your take on flattery? I’d LOVE to hear about it, because you are all SO smart!