Bob Burg, a sales coach for many Fortune 500 companies and author of “Endless Referrals,” asserts that clients and customers ”do business with and refer business to people they like and trust.” A Columbia University study by Melinda Tamkins similarly concludes that success in the workplace is also primarily a function of “likeability and trust.”
Empirical studies on who buys from whom back these conclusions up, proving a marketing maxim that “no trust means no sale.”
For lawyers and other service professionals, this means that they should act in a way that is both likeable and trustworthy.
My own interviews and research for articles I have written about leadership and marketing indicate that “likeability” is frequently a function of:
- Being courteous and polite;
- Being thoughtful toward others; and
- Being generally positive and encouraging.
Others who have studied “likeability” have identified these and a handful of similar key traits (see: article by business psychologist, Pam Holloway).
The elements of being perceived as “trustworthy” have similarly been studied, and most studies that I have seen conclude something similar to that asserted by Ken Blanchard, author of “The One-Minute Manager.” Blanchard asserts in a paper on building trust, that the key elements of being perceived as “trustworthy” are:
- Being capable;
- Being dependable;
- Being connected (part of social networks or groups based on trust); and
- Being believable (I would argue that this latter component is a function of being authentic – not a phony – and being courageous enough to speak with candor and consistency).
If you establish with your actions that you are both likeable and trustworthy, chances are that you will have a lot more referrals and close a lot more sales !