Wednesday, August 15, 2007

How to Increase Your Likeability Factor and Make More Money

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Yesterday I gave a presentation to members from the Beachwood Chamber of Commerce where I shared the "That's Right, Stephen!" story. At the end, during a question and answer session, I was inspired with an idea for today's post.

Do you consider yourself a likeable person? Tim Saunders, a former Yahoo executive and popular business speaker, made "The Likeability Factor" a household phrase with his best-selling book of the same title. I haven't read it but I heard it was a good read.

While your expertise certainly helps, that's not why people ultimately do business with you. All the advertising in the world might get you some attention in the beginning but it's usually a waste of money in the long run. While a lot of businesses seem to be offering similar products and services, I still stand by my article, "There's No Such Thing as Competition." What makes you stand out is your likeability factor.

People do business with you because they like you. How you relate to others is now more important then ever. If you exude a personality that exhibits any degree of the likeability factor, they will want to work with you not necessarily because your products and services are any more colorful, functional or superior. It's not what you know but how much people like you.

Are you an upbeat individual with a firm handshake and a genuine smile? If so, they will want to be infected with your positive energy. Are you someone who's articulate, a good listener and one who shows empathy for others? Then people will want to do business with you because they are buying YOU. They want a bit of that essence you exude and take a little piece of you home with them.

Look at what happened with Bill Gates. He dropped out of Harvard to start Microsoft with buddy Paul Allen. At one point, IBM asked them to create some kind of DOS program. Do you think IBM was asking them to do it because of their "expertise"? They were two young geeks at the time for goodness sake! They actually had no clue on how to do it but IBM commissioned them to create the program anyway because their likeability factor was very high. The rest is history.

Yesterday, I went into the Pollack Studios in South Euclid, Ohio to have some new pictures taken for this blog, my speaking website as well as new business cards. Wendy, the "Goddess of Networking" introduced me to him. The first thing I remember was the way Mr. Pollack shook my hand with both of his and how he looked at me squarely in the eye with a kind smile on his face. Throughout the photo shoot, he asked me questions about my speaking business and genuinely seemed interested in me, taking time to stop what he was doing to listen and respond. He made me feel like the most important person in the world. By the time we were finished, I couldn't help but wanting to continue to do business with Mr. Pollack because his likeability factor was very high. In fact, I liked him so much that I want you to know about him. If you're in need of new photos (whether digitial or print), please stop by his website or contact him (216-381-2001 or drop him an email at JLPPHOTOG(at) You won't regret it.

Could I have gone out and bought myself a digital camera and done it myself? Sure. Piece of cake. With the invention of digital cameras, the photography business has been permanently altered. Investing in a digital camera these days makes almost too easy to bypass a professional photographer's services. But Mr. Pollack has been able to stay in business by differentiating himself through the likeability factor.

Here's my take on what makes your likeability factor go up:

1. You are the real deal. People want to be in the presence of genuine personalities. It's easy to spot a fake person a mile away. You're more willing than most to show the vulnerable side of you because you have no need to provide layers of insulation, pretending that you have "it." People respect real people, not arrogant pricks who pretend to be high and mighty like the anonymous guy on the Internet who calls himself "The Rich Jerk."

2. Your emotional intelligence is very high. You're great at validating other people's feelings and emotions. You really care about others and they sense that the moment you walk into the room.

3. People have no trouble understanding you because you are a conscientious communicator. You keep them informed, even when the news is bad or when you stumble and fall. It's been proven that doctors who fess up their errors are rarely sued for gross incompetence as opposed to those who try to cover up.

4. You have superior listening skills. There's nothing more exciting than to be truly heard. The eyes of likeable people are riveted onto you, making you feel like the most important person in the room.

5. You are comfortable in your own skin, giving others permission to be comfortable with you.

6. You have integrity, making it super easy for people to trust you. Would you buy from someone you didn't trust?

If you have the likeability factor, you'll have no trouble doing brisk business. People will be drawn to you like magnet because you are perceived to be a winner. They end up becoming your human advertisers, spreading the word because your likeability factor is quite high.

How cool is that?!?

Food for thought: How is your likeability factor today?
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Anonymous Quint said...

I think this is certainly true, even to the point of having a negative effect in some aspects of business.

I frequently work with technical professionals who don't have the highest competency, but retain contracts and positions because they are well liked. Businesses will keep working with these individuals based on the likability factor,regardless of the actual costs.

On the plus side, if you are competent and likable, then you have it made in the shade. We should all strive for that two part recipe for success.

8:29 AM  
Blogger Stephen J. Hopson said...


That is an excellent point! You are absolutely right - I hadn't thought of how we continue to do business with people because we like them even if they are do a so-so job. Very interesting.

Of course, if you are both likeable AND competent, then you're really going to attract clients in droves! Yes, you are right - it's very important to have a high likeable factor AND exhibit competence. Excellent, excellent point.

Thanks for sharing!


8:36 AM  

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