Just be Nice. Likability is Good Business

What’s the new driver of business profits? Likability.

I don’t know if it’s the social media world that’s creating this trend, or whether business is just coming to its senses, but being a likable company is starting to overshadow other marketing variables such as product quality and guarantees. From Facebook Likes to rosy reviews on blogs to text messages, nice guy companies are getting recognized and finishing first.

Companies such as Virgin, Jet Blue, and even Google and Apple are considered good corporations. They’ve built a reputation for quality, great customer service, corporate responsibility, and giving things away without charge. Richard Branson in particular, has led his company Virgin, with a credo of customer responsiveness and likability. He’s become an international icon of good business.

Being good is common sense, however most business owners let the details of likability slide. They have them in short term memory for 8 seconds and then forget. There’s no doubt your business is likable in some ways. How about making it a nice guy company in every way?  This is our goal at Ravenshoe Group and we do it for ourselves and our clients.

It’s traditional for small business owners to build relationships, but as their company grows, this culture of personal likability fades.

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Rule for Being Likable: Just do Good

If there is a rule for likability, it’s simple; do good for consumers/customers and they will show their appreciation.  Maybe you already look at it that way, because after all, yours is a for-profit enterprise and you’ve worked hard to keep your customers.

If you haven’t done so, creating a “Likability” strategy for your whole organization might just be the right thing to guide your business to the top.  Begin with listing the traits your business needs to possess and then go about ensuring your staff delivers it.  And being likable seems to provide an ideal form of cohesion for organizations.  From internal branding (employees) to customer relations to your inbound marketing, the good guy image can build rapport and keep everyone focused.

Social Media and Liking

The thing about social media is that it seems to create a competition of niceness and sharing. Hey, if you’re collaborating and sharing, you might as well up the ante and really put out. Being better at it certainly reveals a commitment that consumers will respect.

What is the Essence of Business Likability?

Below are some traits experts feel are critical to business likability. They’re ideal for personal likability too. What they all point to collectively is generosity of spirit. From listening to gratefulness to surprise, the focus is on creating a great customer experience.

  • Listening
  • Responsiveness
  • Authenticity
  • Transparency
  • Adaptability
  • Simplicity
  • Gratefulness
  • Story Telling
  • Passion
  • Surprise and Delight
  • Team Playing

If your organization responds as though it was a compassionate person with all of these traits, your company will be very well liked.

Nice Guy Books

Since building a nice guy company image takes a little thought and some strategy, you might want to read a few leading books on the topic.  These three may be the best available:

Likable Business by Dave Kerpen

Dave Kerpen reveals the remarkable returns you’ll get when you gain the trust of your customers and stakeholders. In today’s social media world, it literally pays to be likeable.

Kerpin takes one chapter for each of his 11 laws of likability. He emphasizes the connection to social media even though this book is about business in general.

Nice Companies Finish First: Why Cutthroat Management Is Over–and Collaboration Is In by Peter Shankman

Shankman explores the new hallmarks of effective leadership, including loyalty, optimism, humility, and a reverence for customer service. Shankman says “The key to being nice is focusing on the customers you have, letting them get you the new customers you want.”

 

The 11 Laws of Likability: Relationship Networking . . . Because People Do Business with People They Like by Michelle Tillis Lederman

In this book, Lederman provides 11 rules for creating business likability.  And there are activities, self-assessment quizzes, and real-life anecdotes from professional and social settings to help readers create their own likability strategy.

 

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