Some of the first advice I ever received in business + entrepreneurship was simply this: People do business with people they like.
Duh, I remember thinking. Who doesn’t know that?
But the longer I’ve been in business, the more I’ve seen that there are plenty of people who either don’t know this rule or choose to ignore it.
But “likeable” can be hard to define, right? I mean, it’s not necessarily attached to a personality type. I have friends who are introverts and extroverts; super silly and more serious; easily excitable and more cautious with emotion…
But plain and simple, despite some personality preferences, likeability is attached to kindness and comfortability. Basically, answer these two questions for yourself:
After people encounter me, are they likely to be in a better mood or a worse mood?
Does my presence put people at ease, or do I increase difficulty, annoyance, worry or stress?
Now, I realize those questions can be difficult to answer, so let’s consider a few scenarios:
The Grocery Store
You’re walking into the store as someone else is walking out. Do you look them in the eyes, smile, and maybe even say hello? Or do you catch eye contact, only to immediately break away to find the sky, the floor or the contents of your purse extremely fascinating?
Your Favorite Restaurant
Can you carry on a conversation with a regular server or the manager? Of course, it’s their job to know your favorite thing to order, but do you know something about their life? Maybe their kids’ names, where they grew up or their favorite sports team?
The Doctor’s Office
Do you know the name of at least one other person who works there besides your doctor? A receptionist? Someone in billing? Maybe your doctor’s regular nurse? (The more you know, the better!)
When you’re seated next to someone, do you at least acknowledge their presence? I know not everyone likes to be chatty on an airplane, (Heads up if you ever fly next to me – I do!) but you can at least say hello and introduce yourself…that way, if you have to crawl over them to go to the bathroom, that’s not your first encounter.
The Cell Phone
Electronic devices aren’t people, so if you don’t remember any of the previous situations and that little device in your hand is the culprit, you might be likeable, but you just live too distracted to give yourself a chance. (I mean, no one wants to be friends with the girl who always has her face buried in her phone.)
But as she works His way women, it’s much more than just being likeable. It’s about being available to the needs, emotions and feelings of those God puts in our paths. Because our businesses aren’t just about profit for us; it’s about purpose. It’s about using the gifts and abilities God gave us to be His hands and feet.
People do business with people they like, yes. But people also trust those who care for them and encourage them. You just might get our greatest opportunity as believers – to point someone else to Jesus.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:14-16
Shine on, sister.