For anyone owning a business, you know the special challenges it poses. For many entrepreneurs and small business owners, success can seem elusive as they struggle to keep their income ahead of their expenses. It all sounded so romantic and attractive when they took the leap from the security of salary to the excitement of being their own boss. The reality of the everyday challenges, however, soon clouds the dream and many small business owners struggle to have enough clients to pay the rent and make payroll with enough left over for groceries that feed their family.
For all of you struggling entrepreneurs or small business owners that want more business, more clients and greater success, I have a secret to share. It is Nature’s recipe for business success: Like Me-Trust Me-Pay Me.
As long as you are offering a quality product or service that many people need or want, this recipe can take your business from hobby to huge, as it has mine. Even if you face stiff competition, it can put you ahead of the pack. Like Me-Trust Me-Pay Me harnesses our deepest instincts and can give your business a powerful advantage. Getting the edge in business is not about your product; it’s about bringing clients and customers into your “pack.”.
Animals congregate around others they like but steer clear of those they don’t. So do people, because at our core, we’re just animals on two legs instead of four with the same basic instincts. Many business owners spend a fortune on advertising and special offers to attract customers. Once in the store, owners or their staff focus on closing the sale, with receipts for the day measuring their success. While that focus might keep their business in the black, it may not help them realize their full potential or boost them into the stratosphere of success they dream of.
A snazzy ad may draw new people into a store, but if the person the customer first encounters (the receptionist or the salesperson or the owner) is bland, uninterested, snooty, prickly or otherwise unhelpful, that customer may take advantage of an advertised special…but they won’t be back. They won’t send their friends. It does not matter how good a product or service is; people do business with people they like. More importantly, they will avoid doing business with people they dislike. Animals gravitate toward those animal friends that are fun to be around. They don’t waste their time with anyone else and make a point to avoid those animals that are outright distasteful. Our Inner Animal feels the same. Just be likeable and customers will flock to you.
For a relationship to flourish in the Animal World and for all parties to get what they want or need from each other, Trust must exist. IE: A horse will share his hay with another if they do not represent a threat to him. For your customer or client, just “liking” you is not enough. Shysters and honey-tongued snake oil salesmen can be very likeable as well, but their true colors are revealed when they are not honest, transparent nor trustworthy about what they are selling. Animals are keenly aware of whom they can trust and whom they cannot. Your customer’s Inner Animal is always on alert, as well.
Businesses that worship the sale over the relationship will often avoid being fully transparent or honest with their customers if they fear such transparency may lose them a transaction. The result, sadly, can be the erosion of Trust, the second crucial ingredient in Nature’s recipe for business success. Here are a couple of personal, real-life examples that illustrate what I mean:
In my business of dog boarding, nasty cold viruses can sometimes sneak in under the radar and pass from dog to dog. Though the colds are not serious, no dog owner wants their precious pup coming home sneezing or coughing after depending on us to care for them. Though we know that alerting clients with upcoming reservations to the cold going around could cause them to cancel their reservation and hurt our bottom line that week, we call them anyway. What’s remarkable is that even though we have admitted a less-than-perfect situation in our own kennel and knowing it will affect us financially, the clients are happy to get the call and grateful to us. More importantly, this honesty and willingness to fall on our sword has earned us their TRUST. The more transparent we are, the more we are trusted, and the more loyal our client base becomes.
In another scenario, my family had been loyal clients of a local veterinary practice for many decades. Generations had taken our dogs and cats there, even when the ownership changed. We liked and trusted the new vet. Recently the practice sold again. I took my little senior-citizen dog in for a teeth cleaning and the new vet estimated up to six teeth may need to come out. I agreed and picked the dog up that afternoon only to learn that twenty teeth had been pulled! Though medically it may have been necessary, I was never called or consulted before this change of plans. There was no discussion about how it might affect the quality of life for my little dog; no compassion shown or respect for my feelings or say in the matter. My trust was gone, and I left that veterinary practice lock, stock and barrel that afternoon. They lost their longest and most loyal client because they did not follow the recipe.
When you add Trust to Likeability, magic happens! In my own business, being friendly and likeable says to our clients we will be friendly with their precious pet. Being honest and transparent lets them trust that no funny business will happen here or be covered up when they are not looking.
When customers like you and trust you and need your product or service, they will happily open their wallets and pay you! They will be loyal to you. They will tell their friends about you. Those friends will become clients that like you and trust you …and will tell their friends. When your company follows the Like Me -Trust Me – Pay Me formula, visibility happens, even without a lot of advertising. Sales happen without pushing to “close the deal.” In practical terms, your business becomes maximized and sustainable.
LM-TM-PM Applied to Your Career
Not everyone owns their own business, but I challenge you to follow the Like Me-Trust Me-Pay Me recipe in your career! Just substitute the words, “Hire Me” or “Promote Me.”
Like Me-Trust Me-Hire Me
When applying for a job, there may be several applicants equally qualified. If that’s the case, guess which applicant will likely get the job? The one the interviewer likes and trusts the most! No company wants to hire an unlikeable sourpuss who will bring negativity into the workplace. If, when asked why they left their last job, an applicant launches into a detailed, TMI account of how their previous employer did them wrong, the hiring company may not trust that this applicant would not badmouth them in public, either. Skilled, likeable and discreet makes the best hire.
Like Me-Trust Me-Promote Me
When putting in for that promotion, it is the degree to which you are liked among your co-workers and superiors and the degree to which you have earned your boss’s trust that will likely give you the advantage. Are you someone that puts the needs and goals of the company first, or your own? If the boss likes you and trusts that you will benefit the company more if given additional authority, they are more likely to “pay” you with a promotion.
So, there you have it. A simple formula for huge results: Like Me-Trust Me-Pay Me.
Give it a try!