How important is likeability to your business success? It’s been said before (by me and many others) that all things being equal, people prefer to do business with someone they know, LIKE and trust. Certainly from a sales perspective it’s important to be likeable, but it also plays into lots of other components of your business as well.
Do other business owners like you?
Entrepreneurs are generally pretty independent…it’s kind of a requirement if you want to succeed at building your own business. However independent doesn’t mean that you don’t connect and engage in positive ways with your peers – other business owners. In fact, these days it’s impossible to succeed (in the long run) if you don’t have a strong network of other businesses who like you.
Collaboration – Smart business owners don’t try to be all things to all people…and they need partners they can trust to help them with stuff that’s not a strength but still needed by customers.
Support – Along the same lines, smart business owners find ways to outsource many of the non-core aspects of their business. That could include accounting, marketing, web development and design, product creation…maybe even sales or customer support.
Referrals – Finally most successful businesses generate a lot of referrals from other businesses who see the value in the great work that you do.
But here’s the catch – no one is going to want to collaborate with you, give you their best support (go above and beyond) or send you any referrals if they don’t like you!
Do your employees like you?
In this economy it’s tough to find a job, so people are hanging on to jobs…even when they hate them. (Up to 84% of employees are looking to leave?) You don’t have to be best friends with your employees (in fact that can bring other challenges)…however it’s guaranteed they are not going to do their best work if they don’t like you. They won’t go the extra mile…and even worse (and more likely) they will subtly undermine whatever you’re trying to do.
Small business success is driven by great employees. You can’t succeed without their support.
Do your customers like you?
Yes people tend to buy from someone they know, like and trust, but there are many times when they’ll buy from someone who they don’t like for a variety of reasons (more convenient, cheaper, limited options).
But here’s the thing – if your customers don’t like you, they aren’t going to tell anyone else about you (unless it’s a negative)…and they are going to run away from you as soon as they see a viable alternative.
What’s it take to be likeable?
The good news is that likeability can be cultivated – it doesn’t require certain genetics, anyone can become more likeable with some effort and awareness. In fact it starts with awareness – how do you treat others? How do they react to you? Are you aware of things that you consistently say or do that rock the boat with others? Do you legitimately care and want to be liked? (If the answer is ‘no’ to this one, then you may have some problems with long term success…!).
In terms of efforts and where to focus – start by focusing on having a positive attitude. It’s difficult to not like someone who is smiling and looking at the bright side of things. From there, the other key thing to focus on is how you can help other people. Odds are that’s a big part of what your business is about, so make that a more prominent part of what you do and how you do it – it’s difficult not to like someone who is legitimately trying to help you.
Guy Kawasaki recently wrote a compelling book called Enchantment (review of Enchantment here) and one of the keys to creating an enchanting business is being likeable. To that end, he created an infographic with a bunch of specific ideas on How to Increase Your Likeability.
Are you (and your business) likeable? Is it important to you? I’d love to hear your thoughts – please share them in the comments below.
Shawn Kinkade Kansas City Business Coach