People skills are one of the most important skills you can get hold of in life, especially as an entrepreneur. In business, we deal with people all day, every day in the form of our spouses, customers, employees, competitors and also regulatory authority. Admittedly there are diverse types of people, however at the core of our beings we all want the same thing and would behave in a certain way under certain conditions.

The British Dictionary defines People Skills as “the ability to communicate effectively with people in a friendly way, especially in business”

  1. Ability to read people quickly

While in the university, I stumbled upon materials on psychology, personality type and counselling in my school library (where I practically lived) and began reading them. To date, I have studied up to 5 different schools of thought on personality type, which has helped me to easily guess someone’s personality type within 10 minutes of spending time with that person. Once I identity that person’s personality type, I then tailor my request and responses to fit that person such that I get the desired result.

In very very basic terms; Cholerics (Hello!) like getting straight to the point and make up their minds very quickly; Sanguines like to get to know people, they like to talk and are usually welcoming and emotional; the Melancholy (hello again) likes to get into the detail of the matter, they take a long time to make up their minds and are generally smart people; Phlegmatics are quiet, cautious and unsure; they can also be stubborn, closed up and hard to convince and reach.

Once I meet someone and start communicating with them, I take the first 5 minutes to identify what each person’s dominant personality type is and then use that knowledge to my benefit.

So let’s say I have identified that my newest acquaintance has the melancholy personality;

  • I would volunteer the details of my product offering without them having to ask,
  • I would show what my product is made of or from so they can see they are dealing with an equally smart person.

Doing this would project me as being proactive, detail oriented and smart, making it easier to convince them to buy from me.

If I was talking to a person with the Phlegmatic personality type;

  • I would give some details about the product and knowing they are usually critical,
  • I would show them the benefits of the products by drawing up scenarios for them.

For example, say I’m trying to convince a phlegmatic to try a new lipstick; after telling them what it is made of and how safe it is; I would paint scenarios that would answer the doubts they would already have as a result of their personality type, such as telling them how it doesn’t fade when wet or doesn’t stain while eating; I will go further to tell them about my fantastic return and refund policy etc.

This singular skill is fundamental to working in groups, getting people to like you and buy from you. Remember to use this when meeting with an investor or wowing an employer! Click To Tweet
  1. Ability to decipher a fan from a client

Everybody wants to have fans – those people who praise your work, follow you on social media, want to take pictures with you and say they want to be like you. Everyone does! However, as entrepreneurs we are aware of the very present need to make money and while fans are great, we need clients much more because they pay the bills.

We need fans but we also need clients.

When you announce a new product/service, you would get lots of inquires/comments about it. While it’s good to glory in this positive reception, you must understand that not everyone making inquiries will go ahead to make a purchase even if they are absolutely convinced.

Everyone likes premium products but not all of us can afford to buy them; most times the people that can afford it are rarely known in fact.

During the last holiday, I visited Nike’s Art Gallery and I was blown away by the beauty and the level of detail in the art pieces displayed. Yes! I would like to hang some pieces on my wall and stare endlessly at them and Yes if I could afford I would have shopped till I dropped but I didn’t purchase anything on that visit for various reasons! One that visit I was a fan not a client!

Why is it important for you to make this distinction?  Because You only have the strength to serve one type of people – clients! Click To Tweet

They are the ones who put their money where their mouth is and place trust and value on you; some fans are not so loving or forgiving. Therefore once you start talking to someone about your business, give yourself 10 minutes (the time will vary depending on your specific product/service) to determine if this person can and wants to buy from you or is just wasting your time, enjoying free information. If they are just fans, cut the conversation short and get to selling to clients – those who can and want to buy the product or service.

Learning to convert serious fans into clients is a further key skill to master.

  1. Staying Human

Sometimes the people skill you need should be directed inwards. Click To Tweet

As an entrepreneur there is a huge and easy likelihood for people to see you as superhuman – unstoppable, impossible to fail etc. these things are good but you must never believe them or project them as true. No one is super human and unable to fail or make mistakes and you must never promise that you are or allow clients/fans see you as such. You should always show your human side so they know you are human.

This is important because if you project yourself as superhuman; when you make a mistake, default on a deadline or do something human such as get angry; you would have clients who won’t stick with you because they never expected you to be HUMAN!

Showing your human side doesn’t mean crying on social media or taking a nude picture.

You can show your human side by sharing a picture of your unkempt workspace, a Christmas picture of your family; laughing at your own mistake or showing a human moment like you dozing off on a chair or eating. This would make fellow humans warm up to you, show you as approachable and remember the No. 1 rule of selling – People buy from people they like Click To Tweet; So be human!


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