SAN FRANCISCO — To hear Guy Kawasaki tell it, the art of enchantment — changing people’s hearts, minds and actions — begins with a smile and, occasionally, ends with a bit of charming groveling.


Guy Kawasaki

Kawasaki would know. As the former chief evangelist of Apple, author of 12 books and current chief evangelist of graphic design firm Canva, he enchants people for a living. At Real Estate Connect today, he laid out 10 tips for real estate pros and businesses to win over their customers.

1. Make a Duchenne smile. Named after a French neurologist, a Duchenne smile engages the muscles around both the eyes and mouth, not just the mouth. How can you tell if someone has a great smile? Look for crow’s feet, Kawasaki said.

No more Botox, he told attendees. “Ladies in the audience: You are not getting older, you are getting more enchanting,” he said.

2. Default to “yes.” When interacting with others, always think, “Yes, how can I help you?” Only a few people would take advantage of this attitude, he said — and they’re probably not worth enchanting anyway.

3. Become a baker, not an eater. An eater thinks there’s only one pie — and the more you eat, the less they eat, so they have to eat as fast as possible. “But a baker thinks: I can make another pie, I can make a bigger pie, I can make cakes,” he said. Bakers are more enchanting than eaters because they do not see other people’s gain as their loss, he said.

4. Accept others for what they are. Whether it’s something small — like their taste in jewelry — or big — like their gender — that puts you off, you’re better off leaving judgments behind, according to Kawasaki.

5. Agree on something. It can be as simple as a mutual dislike of opera, but try to find some common ground.

6. Remove the speed bumps to your enchantment. For instance, if your goal is to have customers register on your site, you might want to rethink an overly cryptic CAPTCHA system.

“The purpose of CAPTCHA is to reduce the number of customers you have,” Kawasaki joked.

7. Enchant everyone. “When you are in this kind of business, you should not assume that it is the father that makes this kind of the decision because you would be wrong 80 percent of the time,” Kawasaki said.

“Sometimes it’s the mother, sometimes it’s the sister, sometimes it’s the grandmother. In my family, it’s the daughter,” he said, prompting laughter from the audience.

8. Build an ecosystem. Create a world of partners, friends and allies that want you to succeed and will offer customers what you cannot. For instance, Apple offers hundreds of thousands of apps that it could never have created by itself, he said. “It’s the totality that enchants people,” he said.

9. Reciprocate. Kawasaki tells this story: When Ethiopia was fighting Italy for its independence in the 1930s, Mexico sent Ethiopia funds to fight the Italian occupation. When Mexico later suffered an earthquake, Ethiopia sent Mexico aid even though the country was in the middle of a famine. “That’s the power of reciprocation,” he said.

When someone thanks you for your help, tell them, “I know you would do the same for me,” he said — not just to be polite, but to reinforce the idea of reciprocation. And later, because people aren’t mind readers, let them know how they can pay you back, he said.

10. If all else fails, get on your knees. Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, once asked Kawasaki if he had ever flown on Virgin America. Kawasai said he hadn’t because he was part of a frequent flier program on United Airlines. Branson then got down on his knees and started polishing Kawasaki’s shoes with his jacket.

“That’s how I became a Virgin America customer,” Kawasaki said.

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