It has been said that all things being equal, people will do business with people they like. This became crystal clear to me some years ago when I was selling meeting services for a large company in the Midwest. We had scheduled a meeting with the Ricoh Corporation, the Japanese copier firm, and upon entering the conference room we spotted a cake adorned with colorful balloons. We assumed there was a birthday celebration in the works. This was a logical assumption at the time. We were wrong.
As it turned out, their current supplier had just won an award for creative excellence. This is known in the business as “bad timing.” Our competition was taking bows and patting themselves on the back while we were cooling our heels in the lobby waiting for our turn to present our wares. As long as we were there, we decided to present our services prior to packing our bags and whining about our bad misfortune.
We presented. We left. We whined
The very next day my phone rang and to my surprise we were awarded the Ricoh account. The business was ours. We stopped whining, politely acknowledged our good fortune and began work on their next meeting without pausing to ask for an explanation.
A year after befriending the decision-maker, I managed to gather enough courage to ask the question, “Dan after your current supplier won an award for you, you gave us the business? What’s with that?” (Actually, my New Jersey accent probably kicked in at the time and it sound more like, “Wuts widdat?”)
I will never forget his reply. “Mike,” he said. “That’s an easy question to answer: I didn’t like them.”
Here again was an example of the truth that people will actually do business with people they like, all things being equal. If this is true (and it is true), then it is in your best interest to become more likable in the eyes of your prospects and customers.
So what exactly do people find likeable? Here are seven common traits worth emulating. Likeable people:
- Ask questions and intently listen to the answers.
- Show a genuine interest in what is being discussed at the time.
- Don’t interrupt others in mid-sentence, then pause before speaking.
- Make others feel welcome, comfortable, and important.
- Do what you say you will do without exception, excuse, or needless delay.
- Have a healthy sense of humor, don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself.
- Always be polite, soft-spoken, well-groomed, and well-mannered.
There are probably other areas that can be associated with likeable people, but these seven will give you head start when fine-tuning your likability factor.
Mike Marchev freely shares his experiences, strategies and observations with travel professionals in an effort to keep them on top of their game. For a complimentary copy of his 12-Word Marketing Plan send him an email at email@example.com.
Mike’s daily column is made possible by AmaWaterways.