Many years ago I heard a story concerning a Native American who said to a visiting missionary, "I like myself better when I am with you." That really is the ultimate compliment. When you make people feel better about themselves, you also feel better about yourself.
In Personnel Journal we read some excellent advice: "Everyone needs to feel he counts for something. If you recognize that need in dealing with people, you will learn to get along with them. Simply show by your actions that you know the other person is quite a person and watch his response. Lord Chesterfield told his son, 'Make the other person like himself a little bit more and I promise you that he will like you very much indeed.' This is one of the most valuable keys to successful human relations. Use it to make additional friends, to get more cooperation, to add magnetism to your personality."
Former insurance executive Walter Hailey adds to this when he advises salespeople to learn about the other person and his business before attempting to make a sale. You will discover something quite fascinating in the process. The more you know about him and his business, the more your prospect will assume that you know how to solve his problems. Not only that, he will think you are especially nice and very bright indeed. (Vol 7, no. 1)