Likability is important. Whether you like it or not.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Save to My Library

Let’s start the day with a thought provoking quote.

“Questions are places in your mind where answers fit. If you have not asked the question, the answer has nowhere to go.”

That’s from Clayton Christensen, Harvard Business School professor and best-selling author of The Innovator’s Dilemma.

Perhaps a fitting corollary to that is the famous Wayne Gretzky quote: “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.”

Take your shot.

“Janet wants to be liked by her buyers”

Sales managers often say “Janet wants to be liked by her buyers” as if that were a bad thing.

Sometimes it is. However, it doesn’t need to be.

Let me explain.

If your motivation to be liked by your buyer is that it gives you the warm fuzzies all over from being validated by another person, then that’s truly problematic.

On the other hand, if you want the buyer to like you because it enables you to connect with them on a human level, activate their interest in your solution, build their trust and inspire them to do business with you, then that’s hugely desirable.

Look, we’re all familiar with the expression that people buy from people they know, like and trust. My experience over many years has shown that is largely true.

Robert Cialdini, in his excellent book Pre-Suasion, takes that even a step further.

He cites research that finds buyers are more likely to purchase from sellers who they think like them.

In short, buyers prefer to buy from sellers:

  1. who they like;
  2. who they feel like them.

That’s a whole lotta liking going on.

Just to be clear: you’re not trying to become besties with buyers.

You want buyers to like you because it helps you to do your job.

And, in sales, you have but one simple job: to help your buyers make a purchase decision. (Preferably to buy from you.)

However, if they don’t like you, then it’s unlikely that they will trust you. And, if you don’t have their trust, then…well, you know.

Along these same lines I’ve been amused, and saddened, recently reading sales bros posture and strut on LinkedIn about not needing to be liked by their buyers. “I just want their respect.”

“Personally, I think John’s an ass. I can’t stand him. But, I respect him. So, I recommend we give him our business,” Said. No. Buyer. Ever.

You need to sell as if 100% of every buyer’s purchase decision will be based on how they experience you.

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