ELEVATING TO THE NEXT LEVEL
I remember the first time I needed to ensure that the proposals we were sending out had the right quality of photographs. You know how you need to showcase the team that will be working on a project for which a lot of money will be paid for and needing to ensure that you build trust and likeability for the team based on how they present themselves and looked.
I had some opposition within the organisation because some people could not understand why we needed to spend so much money, time and a lot of paraphernalia to just take pictures. They felt it was a waste of valuable time, because time was money and they did not like all the fuss that went into the whole process.
The photographer we brought at the time was also a perfectionist who wanted everything done in a particular way to get the best results. The first time I saw her output I had to look for her, because I did not know her. What caught my attention was the quality of her pictures. At that time, I felt she was the best and the one that could showcase my team and make them “shine” to increase their appeal and likeability. Before then as an organisation, we were used to the “cut and nail” type of photographers. So getting and paying for her service was a battle, but very worthwhile. It was essential that we got the best in showcasing the team, which enhanced our proposals.
I am sure many of us have received proposals and seen pictures of those to work on the projects and been discouraged by the unpolished and unappealing way the proposed team looked. This may not have been the case and usually is not, but the problem was the team or organisation did not go the extra mile to brand its people. Neglecting to brand your people for likeability can make you lose millions of Naira.
Many organisations are now conscious of this fact and are working toward ensuring that they have a particular kind of people to showcase their brands. Professional Services and banking professions that traditionally need to build confidence in their customers because of the advice they need to give or the money they need to take try to factor this requirement into their hiring process. But I am not sure they always succeed. I have had reason to question the quality of their people from my interactions with them on this requirement.
Likeability goes beyond the way you look. It starts with your looks but if not backed by other attributes you need to instil in your people, you will not go very far and this can sometimes be detrimental to your brand. You do not want people deriding your organisation and making snide remarks that “all they have are their looks and no substance.”
I am sure some of you are asking, so what does likeability mean? I was asked the same question when I discussed this topic. So we checked for the synonyms and antonyms for clarity. Synonyms for likeability are: attractive, appealing, engaging, amiable, good (technical ability), winning, charming. The antonyms are: unattractive, disagreeable, cold, unfriendly, unpleasant, not good (poor technical ability).
As you can see from the above, likeability goes beyond looks and organisations need to ensure that they infuse these qualities in their people, and make them more likeable. Additional questions you have, may be, “how do we teach somebody to be charming or appealing? Actually, you can and there are ways to do it. It is important that these traits are imparted because the impact of likeability on sales, branding and customer acceptance cannot be underestimated, as well as the fact that the likeability of a company begins at its most basic level – the employees who have the power to make or destroy a brand.
How clients feel about a particular individual employee affects the way they feel about the whole organisation. This means, if you are a service provider, your employee’s behavior good or bad, affects your reputation and brand, because if your employees who provide first hand service are just not likeable for various reasons it affects patronage, sales and growth. This is because, usually the first person your customers meet may be your employees and not you the owner of the organisation. You hear people say I will not be using this product or service again, not because the product isn’t normally stellar, but because the employees they interacted with were just not likeable.
The bottom line is, if you want to be an organisation that is branded likeable, you need to start ensuring that you either hire for likeability or train your people to exhibit these vital characteristics and attributes from the gate house to the Ivory Tower.
– Marie-Therese Phido is Sales & Market Strategist and Business Coach
tweeter handle @osat2012; TeL: 08090158156 (text only)