Being likable is the key to differentiating yourself from the competition. The more likable your brand and your team are, the more people will be drawn to you. However, be forewarned — as Scott Deming, author of “Powered by Purpose,” says, “Likability without substance, value and relevance is simply not enough.”
If all you are is likable, but you can’t deliver on your promise, you will fail. Yet, if you have a good product or service and good values, likability will is the key to creating brand value.
Jason Dorsey, Chief Strategy Officer at the Center for Generational Kinetics, an expert on emerging trends says, “Likability has never been more important due to the transparency of information in each experience. This ranges from employment rating services like Glassdoor.com to customer experiences like Yelp.com and social media. Every interaction is magnified in a good way or bad way due to technology; likability is the one thread that cuts across all experiences.”
Likability is a sure-fire way to build relationships. What’s more, likability isn’t something that some brands are born with and others are not. There is a process to it that any entrepreneur can start implementing.
Here are three tips to increase the likability of your business and your brand:
Make it a goal to get back to clients or prospects quickly. Get back as fast as you possibly can, even if it’s to say, “I received your message and will get back to you soon.” You know you’ve done this right when people say “Wow! Thanks for getting back to me so quickly.” Make people feel special. Show them you care. If you are not just responsive, but hyper-responsive—you will win business.
Use small talk to build rapport.
Most people engage in small talk as a pleasantry or a way to pass time as they transition into or out of a conversation. Instead, use small talk as a secret tool. Find out if a potential customer likes a particular sports team, or if their child is in a school play. Most people hear this information then completely forget it.
Instead, remember a detail about them and then put it into a “Warm and Fuzzy File” on the person in your CRM system. Then when you speak to them next, you can bring up their file and ask how little Suzie did in her big performance. It adds a human touch to your conversations. It shows you care.
Do something unexpected.
Most businesses only care about clients and prospects as a source of money — they don’t see them as humans with feelings and emotions. Doing something clients or prospects don’t expect shows that you care and have their best interests in mind.
As a bonus strategy, treat a prospect who isn’t able to do business with you currently with the same respect as someone who can. Often business professionals will totally be turned off by a prospect once they have been disqualified. Even if they are not a good fit now, they may be a good fit later. If they had a great experience with you, you could be planning for tomorrow, today.
Likability is a way for you to compete and offer a one-of-a-kind experience for the people who do business with you. In today’s world, it pays to be likable, but this means nothing if you genuinely don’t care. As Jason Dorsey points out, “When you are likable, people will know. When you are not, even more people will know.”
This article has been edited and condensed.
Arel Moodie is the founder of the Art of Likability, which provides research on leveraging likability for business success. Arel hosts a weekly podcast on his likability research on iTunes that is listened to in over 140 countries. Connect with @arelmoodie on Twitter.