Should you worry about what people think of you? If you want to do more business, you probably should. In Likeonomics: The Unexpected Truth Behind Earning Trust, Influencing Behavior and Inspiring Action, Rohit Bhargava argues that by becoming a trusted advisor for your consumers, vendors and others, you’ll see more success. People decide whom to trust, what advice to heed and what to buy based on believability. Being more likable makes it easy for others to trust you, and more likely that they’ll do business with you.
As a small business owner, you need to deal with people all of the time, from customers to suppliers to peers. Your likability matters in getting new business, getting the best rates from suppliers and getting respect from your peers and employees.
But what makes someone likable? Here are five keys:
Likable people listen – but they also talk!
Being a good listener is important, but the most likable people are actually very talkative. When you’re talkative, you never leave the listener wondering what you are thinking. You speak clearly and explain things in detail. This can make a difference with a new freelancer who is taking over a task in your business or a new client who isn’t sure how best to work with you. Provide more information than you think you need to—within reason!
Likable people are consistent.
Reliability is a big factor in whether or not people will choose to work with you. When you’re scattered, late and rushed, you’re less likely to be consistent and it can raise red flags for those that you work with. People want to know who they are dealing with, and what they can expect from you in terms of your response and your follow through. Owning a small business may be a personal passion project, but don’t let your personal feelings get in the way of being consistent.
Likable people are humble.
Being in charge doesn’t mean being arrogant. You can be an effective leader without projecting an air being better than everyone else. Arrogance is the enemy of likability. Your role as a leader should bring you a sense of accountability to serve others, and not be used as a position of prestige. While there is something really cool about seeing your name followed by “Owner,” stay humble.
Likable people are relatable.
Being in charge doesn’t mean being arrogant—that can set you apart from the very people you want to connect with. Likable people make you feel comfortable because they are relatable. Show people you’re communicating with that you’ve walked in their shoes and understand their frustrations.
Likable people are generous.
Don’t hold back! When it comes to collaborating with other business owners, solving problems for clients or just listening to people with great ideas, be generous. Likable leaders are generous with their time, resources and knowledge. If you want to people around you to do well—whether they are vendors or clients—you need to give. Believe that other people’s success is your success.
Take steps to be more likable. You’ll build trust, earn respect and be able to lead your business toward success!