“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” right? Wrong. This idea is flawed and incomplete. It’s not about what you know or even about who you know. What matters most is who knows you and who likes you.
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We do business with people we know, like and trust. If people don’t like you, they won’t buy from you. If you sell something someone else sells, why should a customer buy it from you rather than them?
Increasing your likability is one of the best ways to separate yourself from the herd. Likability is accessible to everyone. Like anything else, it can be learned. If you offer a good product or service and people like you, your competition won’t be able to touch you.
The Likability Philosophy
Ask yourself this one question every day: “What have I done today to make my clients feel special?”
It’s a simple yet profoundly powerful question. Every day, without fail, you should do one thing to make at least one client feel special. Put this question on a Post-it note on your desk and frame a picture of it in your office where everyone can see it. Make sure you are reminded of this question daily.
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It can be as simple as sending a handwritten thank-you letter, sending someone a discount just because, or making a valuable introduction. If a day goes by and you didn’t make one of your clients feel special, you did not have a complete day. See what happens when you start going the extra mile and applying this question in your business. You’ll notice the extra mile is a lot less crowded with competition.
The Likability Action Step
Send “just touching base” emails.
Sending mass emails is a great way to make an announcement but a horrible way to build relationships. People are smart now; everyone knows how mail merge works. If your email looks personalized but has an unsubscribe link or a mass email service’s logo at the bottom, people will view it as a poor attempt to pull the wool over their eyes.
Email filtering is making it harder for mass emails to reach someone’s inbox too. Gmail now has separate tabs for primary, social and promotions. Mass emails hit the promotions tab. If you are not hitting their primary inbox, odds are your emails are not getting read.
Instead, get in the habit of sending emails to clients that come directly from you. This email should have no other goal but to let them know you were thinking about them and wanted to see how they were. Sadly, we are not used to people reaching out just to touch base. Most people just want something from us or are pulling for our attention to help them reach a goal. It’s rare to find someone who wants to reach out just to make sure we are doing okay.
Sending clients an email just to see how things are going builds your likability because it shows you care. If you do this only once a day during your work week, you’d have 260 people who like you more by the end of a year.
Please, do not end the touching-base email with, “If you ever need more widgets, give me a call” or anything similar. They already know what you sell. At the very least, what you do is probably in your email signature.
Also, none of this will work if you don’t genuinely care about your clients. People feel fakeness. Nothing can help you succeed if you don’t actually care. If that’s the case, please quit and do something else.
Now apply what you just read. Break the pattern of someone’s monotonous day and make them feel special. What’s not to like about making someone’s day brighter while building your business?
Arel Moodie is a best-selling author, authority on likability, professional speaker and the host of The Art of Likability, a top business/career podcast on iTunes.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.