Use Your Charisma to Sell Professional Services (Part III)

Charisma  Sells!

If you’re in the professional services business, you’ll know selling yourself effectively is 90% of success. Clients are buying your persona just as much as your expertise.

If a new client relationship  is developing well, you may notice the service has been effortlessly bought in without question and you’re expected to take your place at the top table as a trusted adviser.

But when  clients respond to your pitch with pointless questions, calls for endless changes, and then demand a discount, it’s a safe bet your persona has been disregarded and your light  is hiding beneath the proverbial bushel.

Are we each doing our best to help our light shine out?

Are we each doing our best to help our light shine out?

In the first scenario, clients feel the instant rapport that stimulates them to lower natural barriers of distrust. In the second, listeners are probably unable to experience the personal charisma that you’re hiding somewhere.

Traditionally, service providers have focussed on enhancing their technical skills to increase their value in the market place. But it’s not how many courses, seminars or workshops a professional has attended that may determine whether he or she makes a sale.

Charisma can do many things for all of us, but it can also help  sell professional services. In previous posts we have looked at the “don’ts” – unconscious behaviours or acquired communication habits that can alienate clients or rouse their suspicions.

Now it’s time  for the “dos” – a review of success factors in communication  to see where each person can use his or her innate resources to increase  influence.

This post is not about “sales technique.” Just the reverse in fact – it’s about recognising and uncovering inner authenticity that wins trust over time, rather than adopting a rules-based formula whose effectiveness may be short-lived.

prof servs 2

Whatever your stripe, charisma will help you sell more.

To view a definition of what charisma is and how it works, visit

Charisma is an amalgam of seven classic personality areas. These form the bedrock of all social behaviour, and for each individual we find a unique distribution of energy in each of these dimensions. What’s common to all charismatic people is that they are able to lower barriers of distrust and to quickly build a rapport that allows them to influence others.

The seven dimensions  and the classification of  energy types come from the Communicate Charisma methodology. This allows anyone to  visualise, map and measure their own charisma, using a simple online self-assessment. Via the work of Carl Jung, Communicate Charisma shares a common ancestor with other well-known methodologies based on personality typing.

We commonly associate charisma with being engaging, energetic, popular. But using charisma doesn’t mean being a popstar or someone famous for their power and influence. The quiet, influential and possibly grumpy person at the back of the room who crystallizes everyone’s thought and leads the group to a unanimous conclusion, is every bit as charismatic. Likewise in terms of effect, the dogged persuader who convinces the other 11 jurors to change their verdict is every bit as charismatic as the TV evangelist. It’s all about results!


Results, not flair, are true proof of charisma

Because charisma can manifest itself though restrained as well as effervescent styles, we will review the effects of  both high and low energy. However because we are trained to support  the “Goldilocks approach” or Golden Mean of behaviour that is “neither too hot nor too cold,” many of the most effective communication styles will lie right in the middle  of the energetic range.

It’s important to state there aren’t any Rights or Wrongs, just communicative behaviours that are appropriate to circumstances – or otherwise.

The charts below are extracts from the charisma mapping methodology developed by Communicate Charisma. This is based upon a simple online self-assessment available to those contacting  Communicate Charisma  here to request a referral code. The self-assessment test creates a report that shows in detail how each individual projects his or her charisma, and what  essence that charisma is composed of. The seven dimensions of charisma look like this:


How an extraverted, intuitive, feeling and perceiving personality might look.

How an extraverted, intuitive, feeling and perceiving personality might look in 7D.

Let’s review the seven dimensions of charisma and see what delivers effectiveness to communicators both at the upper and lower ranges, and in the middle.


High-energy Strengths: Positive aggression and confidence are certainly key attributes for alert service providers, helping to shift perceptions and drive buyer decisions. If don’t feel 100% confident of your service, why should a client?

Low-energy Strengths: Few CEOs want to be outshone by external advisers or consultants. So a combination of sensitivity and intuition helps those with modest Self-assurance to use tact to deliver positive outcomes.

Golden Mean: Confident.

Self assurance av


High-energy Strengths: Communicating what we know to be true without ambiguity or compromise galvanizes potential buyers and makes them want to “be part of it.” Expressing convictions – sometimes fervently – can de decisive.

Low-energy Strengths: Leaving would-be buyers to make up their own minds earns healthy respect. So quiet confidence and values-based conduct often earns more client trust than operating from an evangelist perspective.

Golden Mean: Convinced.

Empathy av 2


High-energy Strengths: Sharing spirits are contagious. Work is enriched when we’re sensitive to group dynamics and the needs of our clients. Collaboration types can build trust and get the best interaction with temporary colleagues around whom they’ll be working during an assignment.

Low-energy Strengths: Self-starters such as consultants must initiate tasks independently and take responsibility for tough decisions. Then they will be valued by managers and leaders. Outsiders are often chosen precisely because they must be detached.

Golden Mean: Team Player

Collaboration av 2


High-energy Strengths: Clients can recognize true change agents able to fire their people up and push them further. This hyperactive rush of energy wins sympathy for new ideas even when the style is demanding and perhaps even forceful.

Low-energy Strengths: A mature “laissez faire” approach that’s sensitive to circumstances can contrast favourably with misguided enthusiasm or dogged insistence.

Golden Mean: Motivated.

Drive Av


High-energy Strengths: Emotional intelligence  breaks down  rigidity and mistrust that often confronts external consultants. The rapport generated by open-hearted solidarity wins over those team members suspicious of  ‘outsiders’.

Low-energy Strengths: Cutting through emotional clutter to focus resolutely on the goal in hand gets results for external advisers. Making hard business choices is a lonely and responsible activity that calls for discipline and detachment.

Golden Mean: Understanding.

Empathy av 3


High-energy Strengths: When invited into the client workplace, those presenting ideas with integrity are ensured a following and will win the trust that increases influence. Firm refusal to accept compromises or yield to pressure also confers authenticity.

Low-energy Strengths: External consultants or service providers must frequently keep  positions open, showing tolerance and open-mindedness about other values as they negotiate a bigger role.

Golden Mean: Coherent.

Values av


High-energy Strengths: With Vision comes the power to influence and persuade clients to make changes, by showing them what’s just over the horizon. This can unite people and show them  short-term difficulties will pass.

Low-energy Strengths: A solid, fact-based view of life avoids dangerous ‘leaps of faith’ and  unproven or untested propositions. Focusing only on what is known to be true avoids disappointment, while reassuring clients of integrity.

Golden Mean: Perceptive.

Vision av

Every adult knows their behaviour should be context-sensitive and they should be attuned to  the  body-language of those around them.

But that advice is hard to follow because of the “somatic”  power of  old habits. As we begin communicating, we automatically slip into a default “transmission mode” built up over years. Influences from family, school and the workplace have forged our emotional anatomy in such a way that we may  unconsciously use communication styles that frustrate our own purposes.

Mapping our emotions onto the body

Mapping our emotions onto the body

One way to get a handle on this is to visualise what we are really doing, to understand why we are doing it  —  and then begin a process of change.

Traditionally, this is how actors learn “method.” But few business people — let alone  service providers — are ready for drama school. Instead,  visualising charisma by mapping, measuring and eventually managing it, offers a personal development route toward balanced and effective communications.

And when we communicate effectively, we create a rapport that allows us to influence others. And of course, that can mean selling more too.

If you’d like to find out more about the Communicate Charisma methodology and our interactive workshops, please visit our site to request a self-assessment.



2014 World Cup of Charisma

Every four years, the FIFA World Cup transforms a handful of sportsmen into household names, globally recognizable even to those of us who don’t follow football. Less for the goals they score, more for their style off the field during the tournament.

With up to a billion people following the month-long tournament on TV, the World Cup is both a laboratory and a public stage for the workings of charisma. We see the making – and the breaking – of sporting heroes up close.

Take it easy: this post doesn’t claim to show how you too can become just like Ballon D’or heroes Cristiano Ronaldo, Luís Soares or Lionel Messi. It’s just to point out that we all have something to learn from watching the charismatic behaviour of these star footballers.

Golden Ball: Stars like Messi are working your emotions

Golden Ball: Stars like Messi are working your emotions

So, as you’re enjoying the 2014 FIFA World Cup matches – and perhaps being transported into pure football passion – you can observe how these players are working just as hard with your emotions as they are with the ball.

What they are doing is using charisma to get us to follow them.

Charisma is the ability of certain subjects to establish instant rapport, so lowering barriers of distrust and thereby increasing their influence over others. Not just as for sportsman, but for all of us, for life. Charisma is the unique combination of behaviours, vital energy, verbal style and body language that makes up our personal communication style and helps define effectiveness in influencing other people.

Above all, charisma can be defined as the way groups can be influenced by certain individuals. The World Cup is a stunning display of how mass audiences voluntarily project their “followership” onto certain players – all because of the way they are perceived. To explore the definition, you can visit the Communicate Charisma website and get to know the Seven Dimensions of charisma.

Philosopher, poet - and charismatic player: Eric Cantona

Philosopher, poet – and charismatic player: Eric Cantona

There is no right or wrong about charisma, and what distinguishes it is not so much the way people project it, but the effect it has on audiences. German sociologist Max Weber defined charisma as the way leaders are perceived. He wrote: “What is alone important is how the individual is actually regarded by those subject to charismatic authority, by his followers.”

Becoming a hero of the ‘Beautiful Game’ is as close as our secular age gets to the charisma reserved in ancient or medieval times for saints and prophets. Previously we have looked in detail at the way star athletes like Usain Bolt transformed the 2012 London Olympics into the ‘Charisma Games.’

Winning influence, gaining trust and being rewarded with acceptance, are all classic charisma attributes that we associate with football heroes. Think of a few:

Diego Maradona used his "Hand of God"

Diego Maradona used his “Hand of God”

In the 1986 Mexico World Cup, the “Hand of God” justification used by Argentina’s Diego Maradona to explain use of his hand to score against England in a quarter final, undoubtedly contributed later to the mood of invincibility that secured his team victory against Germany, and the Jules Rimet trophy.

After the 2006 World Cup final in Berlin, when France lost to Italy on penalties after Zinedine Zidane was sent off for head-butting an Italian player who had issued racist taunts, the French captain stunned the political establishment to become a national hero and symbol of racial integration.

The art of  Head-butting: Sculpted tribute to Zidane

The art of Head-butting: Sculpted tribute to Zidane

Conversely, in the 1998 World Cup final against France, the psychological and physical meltdown of Brazilian striker Ronaldo caused widespread humiliation in Brazil that took years to recover from. It also took years for England striker David Beckham to rehabilitate himself after getting sent off for kicking an Argentinian player during an earlier stage of the same tournament.

Tortured legacy: Ronaldo's breakdown still rankles.

Tortured legacy: Ronaldo’s breakdown still rankles in Brazil.

And now for 2014, Brazil looks anxiously toward wing forward Neymar to take up the mantle of the nation’s leading sporting legend Pelé. Both men got their start at the Santos football club, and both have had their share of off-pitch controversy (Neymar for financial dealings with European clubs). Pelé, of course helped Brazil to triumph in 1958, in 1962 and then in 1970 in Mexico City, later becoming World Player of the Century.

Neymar showed Charisma in South Africa

Neymar showed Charisma in South Africa, saluting a young pitch invader.

As we’ll see, one of the characteristics of Charisma is “being a tough act to follow.” Pelé had it – and still has – by the bucket-load, so host-country pressure on the slim, 62 Kg Neymar is intense.

And so it has been through decades of European football, where the best-known legends have been those with strong and often tortured personalities, such as poet-philosopher Eric Cantona, tearaway humourist George Best, pugnacious Ruud van Nistelrooy, and ‘flawed genius’ Paul Gascoigne. Latterly, Italy’s “Super Mario” Balotelli of AC Milan has clowned his way to stardom.

Best at football. Best joker. Simply George Best

Best at football. Best joker. Simply George Best

For them, carefully-nurtured charisma off the field surely contributed to the myth of invincibility during play. Sometimes, as in the case of Gary Lineker, it’s opened the way to lucrative media careers.

The managers who inhabit the liveliest space in the popular imagination are the charismatic ones — figures such as José Mourinho of Chelsea or Sir Alex Ferguson of Manchester United. This last redoubled his charisma simply by leaving the stage. The failure of successor David Moyes to continue Manchester United’s winning run after Ferguson’s retirement simply confirmed the former’s charismatic status.

Sir Alex Ferguson proved an impossible act to follow.

Sir Alex Ferguson proved an impossible act to follow.

How do we know that the 2014 FIFA World Cup stars really have charisma? Well, we can become part of a collective intelligence or “the wisdom of crowds” to measure it.

Communicate Charisma has developed a methodology to map, measure and visualise personal charisma. Though it’s primarily a tool for personal development, we can also apply it to understand the charismatic behaviour of famous individuals, from Martin Luther King, to Barack Obama and even Christiano Ronaldo.

Using online tools, Communicate Charisma is now collecting popular judgements about the style of  ‘Great Communicators’ from politics, international affairs, celebrity and, yes – from sport.

Oprah Winfrey, First Lady of TV charisma

Oprah Winfrey, First Lady of TV charisma


You can complete the assessment of a “Great Communicator” by following this link. You’ll be helping us to build a database of Great Communicators – sporting or otherwise. Thanks to collective intelligence, the more people completing the surveys, the more accurate the portraits we can publish.

Enjoy the World Cup! And gain extra insight into the games by seeing how the greatest players don’t simply exhibit ball control – they have ‘charisma control’ too.

Communicate Charisma Seven Dimension plot yields 105 variants

How the map for a hard-driving but empathy-challenged World Cup striker might look.


Charisma Sells! Part II

Use Your Charisma to Sell Professional Services: Part II

You know your product is good. But clients don’t always respond positively to the pitch.

So, like every professional service provider who’s ever experienced difficulty with closing sales you ask yourself: “is there something about my style that’s putting people off?” Chances are, the answer is Yes.

In the last posting we began examining the forces that can lead professionals selling their valuable services to experience client hesitation, “kickback” or negotiations that may force you to accept lower margins. Something needs to be addressed if  the sales process regularly feels  like this:

Are you the hammer or the anvil when it comes to closing sales?

Are you the hammer, the anvil  or something  in between when it comes to closing sales?

By contrast, we’ve all experienced that magical moment at client meetings –  just like catching a fish when you least expect it – when you realize your company’s services have been bought in, apparently without any conscious effort on your side. There you are, a trusted adviser at the top table, wondering if it was just luck or something that you did right.

Yoou must have done something right: but exactly what was it ?

You must have done something right: but exactly what was it ?

Actually, big brands as well as smaller service provider companies  are busy with the same thought process. A recent survey  by Corporate Executive Board  quoted in this blog found that Brands that can connect with their buyers on an emotional level will see 2 times more impact.

Out there, you’ll find an infinity of books, training and guides to develop assertive sales  techniques. These tactics will surely give a short-term lift. But what if they don’t address the deeper and more lasting effect you might have on people?

That’s where charisma comes in.  As we’ve seen, charisma is the ability to establish instant rapport, so lowering barriers of distrust and thereby increasing influence over others. Not just as a salesman, but for life. Charisma is the unique combination of behaviours, vital energy, verbal style and body language that makes up our personal communication style and helps define our effectiveness in influencing other people.

There is no right or wrong about charisma.  And everybody has some, even if we’re seldom in touch with it. But there is greater and lesser effectiveness. And there is appropriateness to context. Just as purple or orange won’t  suit every wall, so communication styles must fit the context.

prof servs 2

We know that not everyone  can get away with telling a joke about the deceased during a funeral oration. And for a wedding speech in front of a family crowd, telling that anecdote about the bridegroom’s past sexual indiscretions generally falls flat  – even though it seemed so funny in a bar during the stag night.

In just the same way, it may be that the default communications style being used to sell product just isn’t right. You may not even recognize what it is you are doing.

In the last post, we  differentiated between the ‘Influencers’ – those able to gain acceptance for their pitch while enjoying opinion leader status and premium pricing;  and the ‘Malleables’ – those who get pushed around and forced to accept  rethinks, compromises, and discounts.  This time we’ll look in detail at how the ‘Malleables’ may be allowing the limitations of their charisma profile to get in the way of effective sales and execution.

The ranking of these behaviour types and the way they affect personal charisma isn’t a random list of the “ten useful habits” variety.  This is all part of a complete methodology designed to boost  effectiveness by mapping, measuring and managing the way we influence others. Communicate Charisma offers the tools to visualise each person’s individual charisma assets, and so offer professionals vital clues in how they might modify their profiles to raise effectiveness. For an overview of our online self-assessment process and methodology, visit

How an extraverted, intuitive, feeling and perceiving personality might look.

Each Pizza slice represents an aspect of your communicative self.

Charisma is really the combined result of  behaviours in each  of these seven dimensions or classic personality areas  that form the bedrock of all social behaviour. The types of energy or behaviour that can alienate or antagonize customers tend to show at the margins of each category, while “social behaviour” tends to occupy the median zone. So acquiring the ability to “dial down” or “ramp up” behaviours in specific areas where we we may find either very high or very low levels of energy, is a useful skill.

It’s tempting to think that mobilizing high levels of energy will usually guarantee success, while more discreet postures signify weakness. Yet this isn’t always so. Bragging, boasting and self-aggrandizing tends to put off customers, while modesty and discretion are seen as virtues in trusted advisers – within reason. A posture that’s too compliant,  dependent  or self-effacing  will also have negative impact.

Here are the types of limiting behaviours typical of ‘Malleable’ types in each of the seven charisma dimensions.


High-energy limitations: ‘Über’ service providers who dominate pitch meetings with too much self-assurance are unlikely to be active listeners and may seem arrogant or insensitive,  quickly alienating clients.

Self Assurance Authoritative 2

Low-energy limitations: Reclusive behaviour or low self-esteem makes it harder for clients to find “reasons to buy” and looks just like extreme shyness. Clients prize service providers modeling more decisive and extrovert behaviour.

Assurance Discreet 2


High-energy limitations: Overly strong beliefs and tireless convictions quickly translate into the kind of sales pressure that may smack of desperation. Refusal to listen to or respect potential clients, will quickly forfeit their trust and render the sales pitch useless.

Beliefs fervent 2

Low-energy limitations: Uncertainty or persistent unwillingness to reveal any personal convictions can end up disengaging potential clients or reducing goodwill. As this reluctance can appear evasive, it won’t win many new clients.

Beliefs AGnostic 2


High-energy limitations: Constantly dealing with the needs of others rather than asserting one’s own priorities undermines the negotiation and shows readiness to sacrifice financial self-interest. Any symbiotic behaviour suggesting the adviser can’t survive without the client, will ring warning bells.

symbiotic collaboration2

Low-energy limitations: Self-centred, uncompromising and inconsiderate are labels used for service providers unwilling to share their method or execution with clients, or put themselves in the place of those doing the hiring.

Collaboration Indepeendent 2


High-energy limitations: “Driven” or frenetic energy can be quite disarming, yet buy-side clients may be alienated or threatened by it. Any abrasive or insensitive show will provoke opposition if it’s experienced by the client as egotistical and self-aggrandizing.

Drive unyielding 2

Low-energy limitations: We associate solutions-providers with energy and decisiveness. So low drive, limited energy and a ‘laid back’ posture  that looks overly compliant, runs the risk of disqualifying such a person from important service roles.

Drive compliant 2


High-energy limitations: When the softer side turns to ‘touchy-feely’, this can irritate pragmatists or empirical types. Softness creates vulnerability if it means becoming a hostage to whatever goodwill others might feel.

Vision compassionate 2

Low-energy limitations: Those who make no effort to build emotional ties or integrate with company culture can be seen by clients as selfish, uncaring or even ruthless. And most people who conceal their true selves are hiding something, prompting distrust among the staff.

Empathy impassive 2


High-energy limitations: When following high standards means inflexibility, failure to establish common ground may appear abrasive or intolerant. Others may find a resolute obsession with principles to be intimidating and  implicitly critical.

Values Resolute 2

Low-energy limitations: Those who stand for nothing may look evasive or unprincipled, because trust cannot be built around endlessly shifting positions. So unwillingness to take a coherent stand may end up undermining a person’s integrity.

Values Neutral 2


High-energy limitations: Hollow dreams are not plans for the future and clients want clear roadmaps. Visionary people can find it hard to come down to earth and listen to what’s really happening, instead of alienating clients by appearing overly forceful and dogmatic when talking about themselves .

Viosn Visionary 3

Low-energy limitations: A world without imagination makes it harder to share powerful new possibilities with clients. And without Vision, it’s much harder to engage people, as focusing only on what is known offers little help in exploration.

Vision Empirical 2

In the next post we’ll examine how strengths and range in each of these seven communications attributes will help communications effectiveness. To do so we’ll review the positive strengths associated with each of the Charisma Dimensions and both high and low energy profiles. And of course, we’ll discuss how to “accentuate the positive” by  learning to emphasize our strongest suit.

For any professional, the ability to map, measure and manage a personal charisma profile will help them to strengthen their rapport with clients and increase the chances of a successful, premium priced sale executed on their own terms – and not on those dictated by the Purchasing Department.

If you’re intrigued to know what your  charisma profile looks like,  then click here to visit  the Communicate Charisma website. First you’ll need to  ask us for a referral code allowing you to take the self-assessment test.