Home > Social Influence > Do prospects/customers need to like you?

Do prospects/customers need to like you?

Do your prospects/customers like you? Is that important? Are salespeople more successful if prospects/customers like them? How does salesperson likability fit into the larger picture of sales success?

Please discuss... - by Skip Anderson
In my opinion... customers don't have to like you, they can hold a neutral attitude, however if they dislike you and they don't perceive an offsetting advantage to buying from you (price, scarcity, politics, etc.) then they'll probably look elsewhere. - by AZBroker
I closed a deal yesterday (cha-ching) and the customer said it was good that she met me because before me she looked at homes with a guy from a different company and it didn't matter what he had for sale because she wasn't going to work with him. I think that's a compliment. ;sm - by Thomas
In my opinion... customers don't have to like you, they can hold a neutral attitude, however if they dislike you and they don't perceive an offsetting advantage to buying from you (price, scarcity, politics, etc.) then they'll probably look elsewhere.
I agree with that completely. Good insight, AZ. - by Joe Closer
I agree with that completely. Good insight, AZ.
Thank you JC. ;sm - by AZBroker
Do your prospects/customers like you? Is that important? Are salespeople more successful if prospects/customers like them? How does salesperson likability fit into the larger picture of sales success?

Please discuss...
Do they need to? No. However I've found more people liking and respecting me when I was presenting better. - by Wonderboy
Does anybody else have any thoughts about the role that salesperson likability plays (or doesn't play) in achieving sales success? - by Skip Anderson
People want to buy from people they know, like and trust. - by Iceman
I'd say that when a customer doesn't like a salesperson they're not as open and honest as they would be otherwise. That makes achieving sales success that much harder. - by Calvin
At some levels I'd agree that likeability is a key factor but at other levels, c-level for example, likeability takes a back seat to trust and credibility. - by Frankie
people always tell me my customers like me and thats why they buy from me. i think there is something to that. - by BobSales
At some levels I'd agree that likeability is a key factor but at other levels, c-level for example, likeability takes a back seat to trust and credibility.
Jeffrey Gitomer wrote about this in "The LIttle Red Book of Selling". Here is an excerpt:

Liking is the single most powerful element in a sales relationship. I got a quote the other day from someone claiming to be a sales expert. It started out saying, "Your customer does not have to like you, but he does have to trust you". What an idiot. Can you imagine the CEO of the company, when making a buying decision, saying, "I trusted that guy, but I sure didn't like him." Like leads to trust. Trust leads to buying. Buying leads to relationship. That's not the life cycle, that the life cycle of sales.
- by Houston
I think it's probably more important that you like and know how to relate to them than vice-versa - by callactnow
The more confident and excited you are about your product or service the more your prospects and clients will feed into that energy and by default will end up liking you.

Success,

Rory Wilfong - by rwilfong
I think that if a customer likes you he is more likely to use you to start with but if you have a long term selling relationship - trust and competence will come into play pretty quickly. So like-ability will get you in the door but then you must establish trust and competence quickly or you will soon lose the client. - by waynelong
AZBROKER and Joe are right about this.

The important question has to do with what produces one to be liked or not to be liked. Too often what's done to produce being liked is contrary to the desired outcome.

Neutrality and a belief in your own believablity lead to being trusted and respected provided the offer being made is clear and to the point. After that when a "want-to" is expressed being liked becomes a function of clear communication to uncover conditions of satisfaction and further trust and respect.

It's a character issue more than a superficial like issue. Smiling, making glib, light talk, building rapport and being a yes man or woman generally creates dislike. So does probing when the prospect says NO and the salesman attempts to change NO into a YES.

MitchM - by MitchM
Neutrality and a belief in your own believablity lead to being trusted and respected provided the offer being made is clear and to the point.
Huh???

After that when a "want-to" is expressed being liked becomes a function of clear communication to uncover conditions of satisfaction and further trust and respect.
Huh???

It's a character issue more than a superficial like issue.
Huh???

Smiling, making glib, light talk, building rapport and being a yes man or woman generally creates dislike.
Your ignorance and pomposity frustrates the heck out of me. There are so many great people in this SP community who want to learn and share information. But you just want to be the center of attention, I believe.

By definition, "creating rapport" creates "like", not "dislike". Unsuccessfully creating rapport creates dislike. Look up the definition of rapport, for Pete's sake, before you spew such ridiculousness.

Smiling is a universal sociological signal of pleasure and happiness, and has been used for time eternal as a way of connecting with other human beings (at least on my planet). People smile at other people and those people like it. Smiling is a good and nice thing. Smiling is part of being human. Smiling does not create dislike, as you postulate. Only in your world, MitchM, does smiling cause dislike. But, I will say this: posts in this forum that have typos and spelling errors and are filled with self-serving drivel create dislike.

Making "light talk" is a way of being sociable and human and friendly. Why is being human and sociable and friendly offensive to you, MitchM?
[/quote]

Frankly, MitchM, your posts like this serve absolutely no purpose other than allowing you to have another moment in the "new posts" spotlight. But it's clear that all you have to say is gobbly-gook. Honestly, your views on selling are just too strange for words. The majority of your posts have little to offer anybody interested in improving their sales performance.

One last thing: Your forum profile says you have a Master's degree in literature, right? I simply do not believe it. - by Skip Anderson
To be or not to be and how to be liked, that is the question. I don't need to respond to either "huh" or insults, Skip as they serve no purpose.

I spent the day at an employment exposition at a local community college. My friend Dick who has sold insurance and run an agency for thirty-three years was there and we talked shop talk. One of our topics (on the way out) was partially about being liked.

We talked about how being liked isn't something you do, it's something that happens when people hear you responding to their needs and paying attention to what they're saying. It's not a smile or light talk at all. It's clearity of intention and focus in a meaningful conversation.

Your public stand against what I have to say, Skip, is true for you obviously and others who agree with you. Likewise, the private emails I've had on occasion validate other people understand what I mean and agree with much of my perspective.

What I post and how I've built my business which is small compared to what some have done and large compared to others - my distribution network does just under a million dollars in retail sales yearly - are in agreement and the independent distributors who I've worked with and trained are successful.

Obviously personality also has something to do with success as do unique and sometimes esoteric and highly personal sales methods or systems.

Others here will judge what I have to say, Skip, what you have to say, and what we have to say to each other. If they can't learn from it all and everything else here it's about them, not us.

I wish you continued success, Skip.

MitchM - by MitchM
I think there are three questions you need to achieve YES in to get business;

1.) Does the customer like you?
2.) Does the customer trust you?
3.) Does the customer respect you?

If you've worked on building successful rapport, you should get yes in all three and gain the prospective business (external factors aside). - by MrCharisma
My partner during my years with Connecticut General was not really "likeable" in a haha sense, but he was always interested in other people... like in "how to win friends and influence people" and he was always dressed in coat and tie and got me to always wear a tie at the very least... his admonishment was professionalism starts with an attitude... and your attitude starts when you get out of bed in the morning.

This attitude of his made sales. He was always interested in others... who they were.. and that led to what they did and that led to his having a 80% plus sales success.

Aloha... Tom :cool: shds; - by rattus58
In my opinion clients buy from people they like and trust. This would be especially true with a long term B2B relationship. - by MPrince
Simply answered to the question do they have to like you in order to have an ownership exchange NO. If we are realistic not everyone you meet will like you. There are personality differences. We must learn to deal with those differences and overcome the differences. Yes there are people who will not like us. We must take the attitude that someone must sell the item and why not me.

It is true it is much easier to enjoy the ownership exchange when there is a likeability factor.We build the trust and value you can receive the ownership exchange. Trust and value does not need the like in order to be perceived.

With the clients that do not like me I believe it is the logic that drives the ownership exchange.I think the real problem is when the sale person does not like the client that the ownership exchange fails more so than the opposite. - by rich34232
Are salespeople more successful if prospects/customers like them? How does salesperson likability fit into the larger picture of sales success?
It is a contributing factor. - by Ace Coldiron
Do your prospects/customers like you? Is that important? Are salespeople more successful if prospects/customers like them? How does salesperson likability fit into the larger picture of sales success?

Please discuss...
It all ties back to the "know, like' and trust" factors. - by The Dynamic Business
Of course customers have to like you. 85% of people surveyed for the auto industry said they bought the vehicle because of the salesperson. Can you sell the product if they don't like you, it is possible but not probable. And if you do, the customer won't listen to you, because, if they don't like you, then chances are they don't trust you. - by jrboyd
Let me reverse the question. How many times have you bought something from someone you did not like? - by MPrince
How many times do you purchase products from a home center?Go to a showroom and purchase products from people you do not know or like?How about electronics from best buy? A tv?Grocery store?Drugstore?Hardware store? Gas,cable tv,utilities. We buy because we want or need.Ah but we do not consider these as sales.

We all purchase products from places where we do not like or we are indifferent with the person we are dealing with and in most cases with purchases like these we do not take the time to know the person or their name. - by rich34232
If a person at one of these "stores" happened to be rude to you would you buy there? I will go somewhere else. I can only speak for myself, but I don't believe in this case, I am unusual. If I have a choice of where I spend my money, and I usually do, I will spend it somewhere that I am smiled at, spoken to, and treated respectfully. I have mentioned this in several posts, I sell broadcast television advertising. One of the single most important elements to my success is relationship. My clients "like" and trust me. As a matter of fact it is vital in my career. - by MPrince
Let me reverse the question. How many times have you bought something from someone you did not like?
Whenever I have had an alternative available, I would choose not to buy from a person, or company I don't like. However, it's not a frequent occurence in my travels. - by Ace Coldiron
How many times do you purchase products from a home center?Go to a showroom and purchase products from people you do not know or like?How about electronics from best buy? A tv?Grocery store?Drugstore?Hardware store? Gas,cable tv,utilities. We buy because we want or need.Ah but we do not consider these as sales.

We all purchase products from places where we do not like or we are indifferent with the person we are dealing with and in most cases with purchases like these we do not take the time to know the person or their name.
I don't buy anything from Sears anymore just because of not so much rude, but incompetance and then the "cover up". I think that the bad mouthing I'm giving sears may have a difference as well. There are alternatives to sears here in Hawaii and they are getting my business exclusively.

Aloha... :cool: shds; - by rattus58
At some levels I'd agree that likeability is a key factor but at other levels, c-level for example, likeability takes a back seat to trust and credibility.
In my opinion it is rare that TRUST and LIKE don't go hand in hand.

In regards to this thread the simple answer is NO but it sure helps. Of course, if you do not like the buyer it is more difficult for him/her like you. - by Gold Calling
I agree, the answer to the question (in absolute form) is no. However, I also believe successful people are drawn to sales because they have good people skills and find people do indeed like them!

Stephen - by sfrenkel
There is never an always regarding sales.Most will go to stores that are convienent. Obviously if convience to visit a different store is the same ie distance and time they may change stores.

Grocery store one is five minutes away and the other is across town chances are great that you will still shop at the one that is five minutes away.Let us say you wanted a craftsman tool and sears was the only one you probably would buy it froms Sears or go without.

Home centers are famous for indifferent employees,people still shop there? It depends on what importance a product has with the person buying where they shop.

Remember I am not suggesting that it is easy to have the ownership exchange with people who do not like you. I am making the statement people will buy when they do not like the sales person.That was the question. It is much easier enjoying the ownership exchange when the client likes us.Someone must make the sale and I might as well be the one who makes the sale is my point.

When we moved to Florida I wanted State Farm Insuance. I used them for everything when we lived in Ohio. Business ,vehicles ,office ,shop,autos,work vehicles,home,life etc. I wanted State Farm in Florida. I did not like my agent here. I called my agent in Ohio who straightened out this fellow for me. We have a business relationship. I like the product and service of State Farm and I wanted them here.

How many people buy insurance without knowing who their agent is? Most home owners have no idea who their agent is. There is no like or dislike of their agent it is indifference on that front.I deal with many homeowners with insurance and I must talk with their insurance agents due to the home owner not knowing who it is.

Who is your bank manager where you do most of your banking? Like or dislike him or her? I do not know the bank managers name of our bank.
What was the name of the person who installed tires on your car or perhaps did your last oil change?Like or dislike? I can keep going down the list but I think the point is made. - by rich34232
There is a store a block from my house, the owner needlessly offended my son fifteen years ago and for fifteen years I have driven a mile past that store to go to another one. To some that may seem silly but to me it is important. There are many things I have no control over but I do control where I do business. I go the extra mile to earn my clients business and if someone wants my money they need to earn it. That is my opinion. If I pay someone for a service or product I need to trust them. Maybe that is why I feel it is important. - by MPrince
How does salesperson likability fit into the larger picture of sales success?
"The salesman is often the only contact a buyer has with the producer, and therefore the salesman is the company from the buyer's viewpoint. The buyer's attitude toward the producer and the product often depends upon the personal qualifications of the salesman. Therefore, business organizations select their salesmen with great care, knowing that sales volume often depends as much on the salesperson's personality, competence, and knowledge as on the quality of the product and the company he represents." - by Johnny Fairplay
Dislike is not the same as hate or despise. I may dislike a person due to thier looks. I may dislike a person due to their communication. I may dislike a person due to what they are wearing. There are many reason we make a judgement for like or dislike.

When that turns into despise or hate that is quite different then dislike and will mean a disqaulification of the ownership exchange.If we despise a company for their standards again that is different then dislike.

It is obvious when a client likes the sales person the chances of the ownership exchange increases.However liking the sales person does not guarantee the sale. The product and solutiuon must still fit the clients wants and needs.

I am not going to buy a house because I like the sales person.I am not going to buy a car from a sales person I like if I do not like the car.

When likeability enters with the right product and solution the probability for the sale increases dramatically with little regard to price. - by rich34232
Prospective clients do not have to like the individual or even the company brand. It is rare, however that a successful long term business relationship will ever develop in these circumstances. Any business will tend to be on a transactional basis.

Who instigated the initial contact will also have a big influence on the situation.

There have been times when I have decided on a solution before ever contacting the company. When I have contacted the company I have taken an immediate dislike to the salesperson. Did I carry on and buy?

Of course i did.

However, if someone cold calls me (or warm calls or whatever description makes it palatable for you) and I take an immediate dislike then it is unlikely i will get to the end of their 'pitch'. Even if they arouse my curiousity of a product or service. It's too easy to then do my own research and find someone else.

Therefore:

Depends on the relative importance of the purchase
Depends on who instigated the contact - by peter-odonoghue
Skip...in my type of sales, you must build a relationship bridge before you can build sales. I may keep a client for years. In that type of sales it is vital that a client or prospect not only like you but also trusts you. However a shorter sales process might not be as important that a client like you. - by MPrince
I answered yes to the poll.

But then I gave it some thought.

There is one thing that means more doing more business than being the "preferred" and that's being the "only."

In other words - being the preferred source of a solution (which is what a "liked" salesperson is) is certainly helpful - but you've got NO problems when you can position yourself as the ONLY source of a solution.

Regardless of your industry and the existing competition if you can determine what the true nature of your market's need is and become the number one expert authority on solving that need... you're better off than the likable folks, guaranteed. Even if you're a jerk. - by MarcEnriquez
You can like someone and not want to do business with him or her and likewise, not like someone but want to do business with him or her - that's pretty common.

But however "like" is defined there's usually some kind of liking the person for some reason that emotionally is connected to the person even if the like is something else - liking the product, liking the deal - that's part of the mix.

MitchM - by MitchM
Weekly Updates!
Questions and Answers about Selling
Subscribe to our mailing list to get threads and posts sent to your email address weekly - Free of Charge.