Why Being Nice is Good For Business
If you've been following me for very long, or if you've read my book Exit Strategy, you've heard me talk about the importance of “know, like, trust” in business. To really be successful, you need people to know you, like you, and trust that you're producing great quality products and services.
But today, we're going to talk about why you need people to like you, and why knowing and trusting you isn't enough.
Want to listen? There's an audio version below
One of my clients works at a hospital and rubs elbows with doctors, nurses, and administrators every day. In particular, there's a group of doctors she works with and with whom she has gotten to know.
Being “Qualified” Is No Longer Enough
Over the past few years, my client has come to trust the advice each of these doctors, and she trusts that their diagnoses are correct. She has come to know that each doctor cares about the well being of their mutual patients.
But one of the doctors… well, nobody really likes him.
Related: Think your qualifications set you apart? Watch This
So, when the time came for a referral, my client sent the patient to the doctor she liked. When it came time to have a loved one visit the hospital to get some work done, she referred her family member to the equally knowledgeable, equally trustable, but infinitely more likable other doctor.
When my client told me about how she chose to refer her friends and family to a doctor she liked over a doctor she didn't, I knew I had to share the story.
Being Liked Pays Off
After doing some digging, I found that both doctors had similar education, similar experience, and were similarly capable, but one was a jerk. One attracted people to him, the other put people off. And, their businesses were impacted.
In business, rock stars who can treat people like crap and still succeed are rare. When and where they work, those rock stars are either so good that their talent outweighs their negative personality quirks, or they've surrounded themselves with people who can act as insulators to their asshole-ish behaviors.
Remember House, M.D.?
But for most of us, those of us who aren't the Steve Jobs', the Michael Jordans, the LeBron James' – the freakishly good – we can't afford to have people dislike us.
Now, I know we can't make everyone happy. And it's pointless to even try. But, when everything else is equal, it sure is nice to have people on our side and rooting for us.
One thing I do in my business, something that has served me quite well, is to treat every client like I'm going to ask them for a testimonial. And I usually do ask. The best business card is a happy customer. And that is why you need people to like you in business.
Being Nice As a Business Strategy
Now, I'm not saying that you need everybody to like you. You don't need to be friends with your competitors or customers. And, a degree of professional distance is often recommended.
However, wouldn't it be nice to have people in your corner rooting for you and wishing for your success?
I already told you that being nice can have a positive impact on your bottom line, and I showed you an example of being nice as a business strategy. But being nice can also lead to greater connections and new opportunities you might not have otherwise. Nobody likes an asshole, and nobody wants to recommend one to their friends and colleagues.