These gals all work as Sales Consultants at Privatus Care Solutions, my private nursing company. All highly successful. All highly likable. And yes, the two are related. People want to do business with people that they like. But – being likable not only can positively affect your professional life, but your personal life as well. Who doesn’t want that? Yet – aside from being a ‘nice/genuine’ person, have you ever given any thought to what likability means? It is an interesting topic with more to it than meets the eye.
Let’s go back to 1985! I was in my mid-twenties, working for The Kendall Company as a Sales Specialist for medical equipment and supplies…after two years of employment, I had the opportunity to attend my first national sales meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona with hundreds of other men and women…I was blown away by the entire experience, which held nothing back in terms of expense and entertainment…in addition to the upscale accommodations and abundance of food and beverages, there were high-profile speakers, one being McLean Stevenson, comedian and actor from the TV show MASH…but it was another speaker that most left a mark on me…
Loretta Malandro, a motivational speaker who spoke to our group about ambition, motivation, and the keys to sales success…she talked at length about the importance of connecting and engaging with people, how relationships and likability play a key role in being successful. She summed it up in three simple sentences:
People like people who like them.
People like people who are like them.
People like people who like people.
This may at first sound like a lesson from Sesame Street, but it has stayed with me until this day…she actually handed out cards with these words printed on it, and I carried it in my wallet for nearly 40 years….when it became threadbare, I had a new set printed to use as a tool with our recruitment and sales teams…for example…
1- People like people who like them. Of course, this makes sense, when we sense that someone likes us, it makes us feel good! But how do you demonstrate that you like someone? Depending on the type of relationship, there are so many different ways: You spend time with them. When you are with them, you aren’t distracted by something else. You smile at them with sincerity, and make eye contact. You show an interest in them by asking them questions and listening to them. You offer to be helpful with something. You offer them coffee. You compliment them. You call them to share good news. You just call to check in! The list goes on…
2 – People like people who are like them. To connect with people and be likable, there generally needs to be a common interest/bond…it is not about race, religion, or gender, though certainly they can all play a factor…what it is much more about is finding a common thread with people. Sports. Food. Clothing. Music. Travel. Marriage. Divorce. Books. Grief. Child-rearing. Etc, etc…The key to uncovering the commonality is being an open person – whether you are at a work event, a party, at a bar, or at the hairdressers – showing an interest in others opens up a world of possibilities.
3 – People like people who like people. If you are in the camp of “I can’t stand anyone!”, you probably wouldn’t have read this far down – and we all feel like that some days anyway! But – how can you tell who ‘likes people’? This one is probably the easiest…they talk to everyone, strangers or not! On a plane, in a waiting room, in line at Starbucks, on the beach, when out for a walk – always engaging, always enjoying human interaction. These people generally are great in sales and recruitment careers…remembering back many moons ago we had a gal in our sales department (highly successful), who said she could talk to a stick!
Well, we all aren’t wired like the lady who could talk to sticks – BUT – to some degree we can all change our behaviors with enough motivation. Is it to be more successful at work? To expand your circle of friends? To meet a romantic partner? Or to simply be a better person? Maybe you don’t see a need to change your behaviors, but just to better understand your current relationships and the world around you.
Candy Costas is certainly no psychotherapist, but I find this so interesting and thought provoking. Hope that you do too. 🙂
Work hard. Play hard. Enjoy every day.