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The Art of Likability: Strategies for Small Business Owners

A woman with grey hair and glasses looking into the eyes of a client and smiling.
Show you care with your eyes and your smile

In a world where business often feels like a cutthroat competition, what if the key to success wasn't just about offering value but also about being genuinely kind and generous? That's the essence of the 'Like' factor we're delving into today. It's about understanding that personal connections, acts of kindness, and a sincere desire to help can make your audience follow you and truly like you. If you're a purpose-driven business owner looking to redefine success through kindness, you're in the right place.

Key Takeaways

  1. Building the "Like" factor in your business is essential for connecting with your audience and inspiring them to engage and invest in your offerings.

  2. Authenticity is the key to likeability – be genuine, kind, and generous, and your audience will be more inclined to trust and support your business.

  3. Actively listening to your audience's feedback and needs is a powerful way to foster a likable persona and create a loyal community of supporters.

Why "Like" Matters to Small Business Owners

Why does the "Like" factor matter for you, the small business owner? Can’t you just provide excellent value and have customers flock to you?

J. Keenan found that customers care more about the value of what they are buying than whether they like you, but we also know that people will rank their leaders higher on all scales if they are more likable.

So what is a business owner to do with this seemingly conflicting information?

First, know that you must offer value, but consider that there are many other people offering the same or even better value. If you are more likable, you will be the one to seal the deal. In today’s world, there is even more competition and there is always a way to find a better deal using the technology we have available, but one thing that will only increase overall value is personal connection. We need to increase our own likeability and connect with people to provide real value.

When people like you, they're more inclined to listen to what you have to say. They're more likely to engage with your content, attend your webinars, and ultimately, invest in your courses and memberships.

One huge caveat, all of your likeability must stem out of authenticity. If you appear to be disingenuous or self-seeking, you will immediately erode all the trust your audience has. That one misstep will cost you every effort you have made to build your trust factor.

What can you do to build your likeability?

1. Use Humor to Connect

My husband is a master of using humor to connect. He is able to take a serious situation and find the lighter side. He isn’t a showman doing a standup routine (in fact, I would argue he leans likable introversion), but he infuses his sense of humor into his work while remaining professional. By strategically injecting humor, he breaks down barriers and connects to people making them more receptive to what he has to say.

How can you learn from my husband? Remember, you don’t need to conduct a stand-up comedy routine, just add some light-hearted humor that brings a smile to your audience's faces. Share relatable anecdotes, witty observations, or even self-deprecating humor.

2. Practice Kindness and Generosity

A Generous person will prosper, whoever Refreshes others will be refreshed.

I recently found this Bible verse and posted it as a guiding principle for my business practices. For me, it means that my focus is on serving and helping others. Instead of looking at how I can get people to buy from me, I focus on how I can help them and what I can offer them.

Always be on the lookout for ways to assist others. Go out of your way to help and show a sincere interest in their needs and goals. Being helpful and caring creates a likable persona that's hard to resist.

Kindness is an invaluable currency in the business world. It doesn't go unnoticed when you genuinely care about your customers and go the extra mile to help them. Show your audience that you're not just interested in their wallets but in their well-being. This builds trust and makes them like you even more. Remember, trust is often destroyed when people feel someone's interests are purely self-serving.

3. Demonstrate Friendliness

The book “How to Talk to Anyone” by Leil Lowndes offers many tips and tricks on being friendlier and likable in various situations. For example:

  • smile sincerely and warmly

  • Use people’s names often

  • show interest and curiosity in people

  • give genuine and sincere compliments

In short, you want your body language and words to demonstrate interest in other people. Be approachable and warm. Interact with your audience as if you're chatting with friends. Answer comments, messages, and emails. Let your online presence reflect your true, friendly self. People like to do business with those they consider friends.

4. Listen More Than You Talk

In my background as a teacher, I’ve noticed that many people think teaching is simply about telling others everything you know. Although that may demonstrate your authority, it does little to build the likeability or help your students. Truly great teachers take time to listen to their students. I would start each year by getting to know my students’ interests and current level of knowledge and skills. Then, throughout the year, I would consistently ask for feedback to find out how they responded to techniques and what areas they still needed support. Arguably, I spent more time listening to my students than telling them what to do. This way, I could craft lessons that met their current needs and helped them feel seen and heard. I wasn’t seeking likeability, but it did help that purpose because students had few other teachers who took the time to listen to their concerns.

In our businesses, we want to remember to do the same. We must always learn from our audience - not just telling them what they want. Listen to their concerns, feedback, and suggestions. Show them that their opinions matter to you. When people feel heard, they automatically like the person doing the listening.

Make your likeability plan

Remember, these steps aren't just about being liked; they are about creating a community of loyal supporters who resonate with your mission and values. Make a positive impact, and start building that "Like" factor today!

Start incorporating humor, kindness, generosity, friendliness, and a helpful attitude into your online and offline interactions.

Pick one or two actions to focus on to build your likeability. Book a free call with Cordes to find your focus so you can plan to impact this area.


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