I like people. I like to work with people, do good business, and help where I can. If I am lucky, other people feel that I am likable, too—because it matters to the success of my business. Regardless of what kind of business you are in, being likable matters.
Each person has their idea of ‘likable’. Basically, likability is about what you would expect—friendly, engaging, curious, mindful, interested, and interesting. For small business owners, the personal touch matters, and getting your message across means reducing the immediate barrier of first impressions. It all starts with a smile.
Increase your “likes” with these four tips
As an entrepreneur, you know that success is built on a good idea, sound structure and marketing, financial ability, and advanced organizational skills. A big company is largely considered faceless, but one key advantage of small business owners is that they are the faces of their companies. That personal touch can be the difference between success and failure.
To make a deal to sell your goods and services, or buy those of another, demeanor counts. Anyone who has watched Shark Tank knows the Sharks intend to eat you alive – warm and fuzzy is not on the menu. But the reality show is intended to sell ratings, and that it does. In the real world, you have to sell your product—and yourself. So how can you improve your delivery?
Let’s take a look at some keys to presenting a congenial face to your clients and potential clients:
1. What is on the inside? Unless you are a good actor—and you may be—it matters how you feel about your business, your day, and the person sitting across the table from you. There is plenty of research about the psychology of body language and facial expression. While you can practice your firm handshake, relax your voice, and be sure your arms and legs are not crossed, authenticity is your biggest selling point. Humans got to the top of the food chain for good reason – we are born observers who not only passively intuit, but actively watch contextual clues like gesture, eye and facial expression, and body position. Do your best, and be your best. It gets you further than a slick dose of “fake it till you make it.”
2. Empathy matters: Empathy is a higher level human skill. Unlike sympathy, empathy is the ability to genuinely understand and share the feelings of another—even if you have not been in their shoes. Empathy goes a long way to making you likable. No person can be positive, jazzed, and ready to roll at every minute—but they can be empathetic. You may meet someone having a tough day—or a rough couple of years. Do not paste on a smile, tolerate a couple of minutes, and then shift the conversation your way. I am going to go out on a limb here and say, let your client, or customer, talk. Even if they spend time discussing a personal matter of great importance to them—let them talk. People with real empathy are good listeners, and somewhere in there, you will hear what you need to know about this person to help you make your sale.
3. Curiosity: Curiosity is seductive. I find there are few people who do not want to talk about their business. Ask the right questions and scaffold the discussion on those answers. It goes a long way toward likability—and makes you a trusted business connection. I have said it many times before—you need to learn what your customer wants before you can offer it to them. If you are curious about their ideas, vision, and history, they will feel as if you understand them. Being curious about their business also lets you create the perfect pitch based on the free information they just provided.
4. Help first: Remember the slogan, “Commit Random Acts of Kindness”? It is good idea. Create an opportunity, open a door, pass along a contact name—help someone out each day. Being a consistent, trusted resource for others makes you the “go-to,” a highly valued individual inside and outside of your business community. Reach out to others to widen your own network. Not asking for reciprocal favors gives you real power.
There are many tactics, tips, and cues you can use to improve how others perceive you. As a small business owner, genuine interest in others is attractive to those seeking what you have to sell.
Start your day with a smile, and start each phone call the same way. Even when others cannot see you, a smile generates a different business environment for your conversation—one that is…likable.
For entrepreneurs, it is easier to attract the success and income you want, when you feel positive about your direction, and your marketing. When you need sure-fire ideas and a rock-solid business plan, call me at 585-633-7563.
To your success!
Bob Britton is an accomplished entrepreneur with 25 year’s experience starting, building and growing both brick-and-mortar companies as well as online businesses. He's personally built 3 companies from one man shows to the million dollar mark. Marketing Automation Group and the Automated Entrepreneur Method® are his latest brainchild. After working with hundreds of business owners in every walk of business, he realized there was a HUGE gap in the support and training that was available, and set out to fill that void with his no-nonsense, hype free approach to business growth.