Recently there was research done with regard to the common traits of successful leaders. The top two characteristics are said to be being conscientious and being extroverted. Being conscientious is taking care of business, having a plan with goals and being focused on achieving them. Extroversion indicates one who is outgoing and sociable. Sociability is in part the art of motivating and inspiring others. Dominance is also a factor that people react to because they believe it denotes competence.
On the other hand there are exceptions in that for example an introvert can also be an effective leader primarily because they listen to others. Other studies show that being able to really listen to another person can even make them fall in love with you! It’s a different context of course but still relevant to this conversation, as a good leader would be attractive to others. In business, trust and respect are important and as such are attractive, particularly if you are in a capacity where you are encouraging others to follow you into a business opportunity.
With all that said, it doesn’t mean you can’t be a good leader and be successful in business if these character traits are not your strong suits. However it would be in your best interest to cultivate them as much as you can while still being yourself. For example if you are shy and a bit introverted, forcing yourself to smile and making eye contact frequently will go a long way and pretty soon it will seem more natural. People do not read our minds and being shy may often be perceived as ‘aloof’ or even unapproachable.
Being conscientious is probably easier to put into practice because we do control our own actions. This includes not only being trustworthy and honest, but being really professional. You would be on time, meet all of your obligations to others as far as what you say you will do. It is really disrespectful to keep people waiting as if their time is not important to you. Being conscientious also includes being accurate and efficient in presenting yourself and your business propositions. One way to check this is to proofread communications before you send them and to check your facts and statistics.
As the saying goes, ‘you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression’. Human nature being what it is, that first impression will really stick to you whether positive or negative. Although people may overlook our shortcomings, if they start to be part of our typical exchange, then we can lose their respect and trust. Since there are factors we cannot control, such as how well the business that you have proposed to them does in the future, you want to create a strong relationship so that your association will not falter should things get rough.
Much of the time with higher earning individuals the money is not made so much on the initial sale, but in follow up and ‘back-end’ sales, so it is very important to keep your customers happy. Always be conscientious to honor your agreements and guarantees. Don’t ever be ‘penny-wise and pound-foolish’ in refusing to give them a refund. The way you handle problems can really determine if you have strong, lasting relationships with those who trusted you to begin with.