Business relationships matter. It’s the relationship that keeps your clients coming back and not going across the street to your competitor. The key to starting (and maintaining) a successful relationship is being likable.
Whether you’re already likeable or a real SOB, if you want to be successful in business you’re going to need to be liked. For some of us, that means playing dirty.
Here are some sneaky ways to trick people into liking you:
- Jump on a crisis. People never forget when you help them out in their time of need. Even small tasks like helping a busy co-worker make copies or filling in when they’re on vacation will make you stand out (and appreciated). Better yet, help a coworker or client who was recently laid off – I guarantee it will solidify a relationship for life.
- Bypass technology. Email is the enemy of effective communication. With everyone being so damn reliant upon email, most of us have become afraid to meet in person. A face to face lunch, an impromptu meeting at the office, or even just picking up the phone will go further than years of email communication.
- Open up personally. The more you share your passions, hobbies, and family stories the less likely you are to get fired and more likely you are to get the sale. People are suckers for a good “My kid started walking for the first time this weekend” story. Your life is interesting, I promise. Excellent read: “Rework”, by David Heinemeier Hansson.
- Show your sense of humor. Don’t be afraid to tell a cheesy joke or play a prank. Loosening up a client or coworker can help cut through inefficient formalities and accomplish what you want quicker. Humor is obviously a sign of tremendous intelligence.
- Grow a mustache. Just kidding…or am I?
- Be accommodating. You don’t have to swallow your pride and be a “Yes Man (or Woman)”, however, people remember when you’re flexible or do them a favor. They like doing business with that person. I know people who have gone as far as not returning to a business because the cashier made them break a dollar to pay for their $2.01.
- Keep the gossip down. Anything you say will be taken out of context and used against you. You’ll get more respect by being the person who people come to for solutions, not gossip. Don’t be that person.
- Stay positive and productive. Negativity is cancerous. Don’t be the guy or girl who lets out a big sigh when asked how your day is going. I challenge you to respond with something upbeat next time you’re asked – it’ll make a difference. Staying productive plays into the 18 Financial Tips I Wish Someone Told Me When I Was Younger.
- Be inquisitive. Just as people like hearing about you, they like telling you about them. Even the most novice conversationalist can ask about family or hobbies. It’s a great icebreaker and conversation starter.
- Avoid the need to be right. Take the high road, listen to other people’s questions and discuss in a productive fashion. No one likes the guy who feels the need to spew out how much he knows. Save it for Thursday night trivia at the tap room.
- Everyone loves Freebees. There are people in my office who know nothing about me, but they love me. Why? I’m the guy that brings in bagels on Fridays. It’s that simple.
- Exude confidence, not insecurity. Being confident in your actions and business decisions is highly effective. If you’re unsure or find yourself about to flip-flop on an issue or question, ask to have a minute to research the issue. Much like your hands, keep your insecurities to yourself.
- Keep it interesting. It’s not easy, but try to have something intriguing about you. I don’t know why, but I find the girl who dyes her hair pink a lot more likeable than Bill who tells me all about the TV shows he watched last night.
- Be good looking. Life sucks for this reason, but everyone prefers a good looking person over an ugly one. Anything you can do to dress better or keep your hair trimmed will help out – hey, you asked.
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