You Have What It Takes:
Getting ahead in business is not just about technical or sales know-how or knowing the ins and outs of your company. It’s about people to people. No matter what business you’re in, you’re in the relationship business. Making a positive and a lasting impression on the people you do business with is critical to your success. So first take a look at what people skills you do have that will win people over. Maximize those skills.

What you tell yourself consistently makes a difference in how you come across to others and has a lot to do with creating more confidence. Replace shy or negative and defeating self-talk with statements that build confidence. Positive self-talk helps you change your self view and will affect how others see you.

Communication, Communication, Communication:
Communication, whether verbal or non-verbal, is essential to winning people over. Why is it that two people with the same expertise have different responses from their clients and get such different results? It’s in their words, actions and body language. Are you smiling? Is your handshake warm and firm? Do you maintain eye contact and remember their name? These signals tell other people that you’re approachable and interested in them.

Be honest and forthright in your dealings with others. Do what you say you’ll do and mean it. If you told a client or a friend that you’ll call on a specific day or time, do it. Your actions speak more than your words, so walk the talk. Demonstrate that you are a person of your word.

Mastering the Art of Small Talk:
Light and casual conversations signal to another person that you’re easy to talk to and interested in more than just a quick sale. It breaks the ice and creates the necessary rapport with others. It’s another way to help people get to know you and visa versa.

Discuss general-interest, light-hearted subjects such as sports, food and films to learn about their own special interests. Avoid arguments or topics that are heated and emotionally charged. That’s not the way to win over another person or gain their trust.

Converse with Confidence:
Your customer, whether male or female, wants to know that you can do the job. If you’re timid or hesitant about how you can deliver, the customer will doubt your abilities, despite your knowledge about your product or industry. Represent yourself with ease and calm. If you demonstrate the assurance that you can help and be effective, your confidence will be conveyed. I’m not talking about bragging or bravado. Be sincere and tout your horn, but do so with humility.

Blow your own horn ever-so-gently to drum up interest. It lets others know that you’re willing to share your expertise and helps them understand what you can offer. Don’t exaggerate your abilities and achievements, that never pays off. Instead, represent yourself honestly. Demonstrate that you’re the best man or woman for the job or the right one for that special relationship.

Be a Good Listener:
Remember the 80/20 rule and apply it to your business and social contacts. Listen eighty percent of the time. Use the other twenty percent to respond to the needs and concerns of others. Ask questions and at the right time. Make sure you listen to their answers before you jump right in with another question or statement. People want to know you care about their concerns and are willing to give them the time and space to express them.

Explore the other person’s interests and encourage him or her to talk. It’s amazing but true, that people will leave a business meeting or social gathering with a positive impression of you if you got them talking about themselves. Be an active listener by tuning into feelings, key words, facts and implied statements to gain information about the other person.

Validate Others:
Everyone wants to know they're valued and that their feelings, views and opinions count. Your customers and acquaintances are no exception. Remember to give them positive feedback that is specific to what they've done or said. Be complementary, but be genuine. A complement given just for the sake of giving one isn't real and won't earn you the respect you want. Make the complement genuine by feeling it and communicating your true feeling.

To influence others you have to believe in you and also care about them. Find ways to use humor and optimism in your communications. Make any social or business interaction, warm, engaging, upbeat and be sincere.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Jo Anne White is an International Author, Life, Leadership and Business Coach who has inspired millions of men, women and businesses to exceed their expectations and achieve greater success and satisfaction.

Known as the "Success Doc" to global audiences, Doc White has been featured on the Internet and in local, national and international publications including Good Housekeeping, Web MD, Woman’s World and She’s appeared as a frequent guest on radio and television networks such as NBC, CN8, World Talk Radio and Voice America.

Jo Anne White, PhD has also developed and presented national/international seminars and training programs. She’s authored several books for men and women regarding personal and professional growth, success and empowerment.