This is the fourth in my series giving clues on how to ask for business/close the sale.

Have you ever met anyone that you liked right away? What was it about that person that made her so easily likeable? I suggest she has charisma and you probably decided you liked her before she said a word.

As you may know, Nancy and I belong to a wonderful golf club Diamante in Cabo San Lucas. We first bought a week there in 2010 when no buildings had been built. Nancy had fallen in love with the Dunes golf course, so we took a chance.

We love golfing there and enjoy the friends we have met there. But, what makes Diamante most special for us is the staff. It is like going to a high end resort, only everyone who works there, knows us, welcomes us and makes us feel like we are part of their family. There are too many wonderful people to name.

Here is a selfie with Javier. He has caddied for us for eight years.

When we visited in May, our guest was celebrating a birthday. Nancy, her two sons and her daughter with huge help from the staff at Izzy’s restaurant arranged for a surprise party. It was a great time.

Maya Angelou once famously said:

Recently I read a blog post titled: The Science of Charisma. The writer referenced a well-known UCLA study by Professor Emeritus, Albert Mehrabian. He found:

  • 7% of message pertaining to feelings and attitudes is in the words that are spoken.
  • 38% of message pertaining to feelings and attitudes is paralinguistic (the way that the words are said).
  • 55% of message pertaining to feelings and attitudes is in facial expression.

Reading this blog post, enabled me to better understand what makes the staff at Diamante so special. They have charisma. We will remember the golf, the lagoon, and the other facilities, but at the top of our list will be each people who enthusiastically greet us and go the extra mile to make our visits memorable.  Each person gives us his or her smile and caring attitude without any expectation of getting something in return from us. The Diamante staff makes us look forward to returning.

You may think this has nothing to do with lawyers attracting clients and you may think you either have charisma or you don’t. Neither thought is true.

Like it or not, lawyers are in a service business, and clients can easily determine if a lawyer genuinely cares.

While charisma comes more naturally to some than others, it is a skill that can and should be learned. In 2008, the Boston Globe wrote about developing charisma in an article titled: Charm School. There are many excellent learning points in the article. The article mentions that John Neffinger is a founder of KNP Communications, a consulting firm that teaches clients how to be more charismatic through a particular combination of traits: strength plus warmth.

Strength is conveyed primarily with posture and gestures,” Neffinger says. Good, erect posture is strong. Holding one’s hands palms up and facing away is weak, as are “self-comforting” gestures, like rubbing one’s arm. Warmth is conveyed mostly by a genuine smile (in which the eye muscles smile in addition to the mouth muscles); but one must not smile in a way that undermines strength.

Isn’t that exactly what clients are looking for? They want a lawyer who inspires confidence and they want a lawyer who genuinely cares about them. If you believe in yourself you will show strength and if you genuinely do care about your clients, the warmth will come through in your facial expressions and body language.

Whether you like it or not, people are sizing you up before you say a word. To use a famous quote: ‘You only get one chance to make first impression.”

What first impression are you making?