Worry less about being liked; obsess over delivering value

Deliver value to your clients and customers.
Deliver tangible value to your clients and customers. Something they can notice or see.

Unless you’re prepared to morph into the person others want you to be, including changing gears at any given moment, you need to give up your worries about being liked.

While I appreciate the overall message in Tim Sanders’s book, The Likeability Factor, know that being likeable and being liked are two different things.

Life is more enjoyable and rewarding when you get along with others. That’s for sure. The problem is that in business it’s impossible to please everyone.

So when it comes to clients and customers, get past your need to try to do that.

Blame the Web

Let’s take a few seconds to vent. It’s okay to recognize that how people do business and select vendors has changed dramatically since the mid-1990s. It’s been a time of adjustment for some, and a time of very painful transition, for others. I feel your pain. Blame this whole “www” thing for that.

Yes, spend the next ten seconds lamenting how the rise of the Web has caused buyers to care less about relationships and more on value for dollars paid. Get it all out. Shh, shh, there, there. Uh-huh. It’s ooookkkaaaayyy.

Alright now, shake yourself, put it all behind you, and start delivering measurable value to your clients and customers. Quit thinking about the way things used to be — like, forever. Change happens. Cheese moves. Icebergs melt. It’s time to step up. You need to adapt and change. You can’t just do what you did 15 years ago because you’re used to it.

Add the Right Kind of Value

From a business standpoint, start focusing on adding value to peoples’ days. Give clients something they can’t get elsewhere. (And niceness doesn’t count — it’s not enough.) Stretch yourself to leave people better equipped or smarter than you found them, not JUST happier. Don’t just go through the motions.

The key there is to deliver noticeable, provable/measurable value.

Maybe that value is tangible, instant and hands-on. Maybe it’s in sharing specific, actionable ideas that few people would otherwise have the knowledge or willingness to share. It differs based on the circumstances. But if you spend most of your time as a business owner or salesperson spinning your wheels to merely be liked on a personal level, you’ll keep right on losing customers.

Add measurable value and you’ve got a better chance to retain customers, make good money, and enjoy your career. Leave that to chance and, well, you leave the entire business relationship to chance.

Be likeable, yes. Worry about being liked, no.

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