The latest buzzword in our marketing vocabulary is “likeability.” There has been a noticeable shift in the way companies communicate with customers. Social media and a renewed focus on service put unprecedented word-of-mouth power into the hands of our clients and customers. Big brands across the country are refocusing marketing efforts on becoming more likeable. While likeability is a new buzzword, it certainly is not a new concept. It’s actually one of the most basic rules of sales: People want to do business with those they like and trust.

Becoming “likeable” sounds easy—and it is. Just think, in everything you do, “how can we add value to the customer?” Answer that question in new and creative ways and you will be liked and trusted by customers and potential customers. Being likeable is a crucial part of your marketing and strategic planning.

Here are a few ways to add value and be likeable:

1. Be generous. Customers and potential customers are always looking for added value, and in most cases you can deliver this through free advice, education, product add-ons or complimentary services (like consultation). All companies should provide great website content that educates people on the business, product or service, or related industry topics. This content shouldn’t be all about sales. Always think about how to add value to your customers’ lives. If you help them in some way, they will return the favor with their patronage.

2. Be transparent. Be open about your process and your product. Obviously, you don’t want to give away your “secret sauce” or your entire strategic plan, but you can be transparent enough that your customers understand what you do and how your process helps them.

3.  Be social. Connect with people online in the right communities. For credibility purposes you may wish to have a company page on Facebook, but that might not be where your customers are talking about your services or products. If you are a B2B business, you should be on LinkedIn and connect with potential customers through targeted groups. If your industry has a lot of chatter on Twitter, or is an industry with rapidly evolving news and practices, Twitter might help you easily connect with new clients. At the very least, you should make all the content on your website and blog sharable with “share this” buttons.

4. Be accessible. Customers should have access to more than just sales reps when they need something or have questions. In larger companies, they should have access to a director or VP-level decision maker. In smaller companies, they should be able to call the business owner directly. Being accessible to all your customers tells them that they are important and ensures that their needs are being met at every level of the company.

Think about the brands you love. What makes them likeable?

Howard Shore is a strategic planning consultant who works with companies that need leadership development and business management coaching. Based in Miami, Florida, Howard’s firm, Activate Group, Inc. provides strategic planning and management coaching to businesses across the country. To learn more about business strategy development through AGI, please visit activategroupinc.com, contact Howard at (305) 722-7216 or email him.

Business Coach, Business Coaching, Business Execution, Business Networking, Communication

About Howard M. Shore

Howard M. Shore is a Certified Gazelles Coach, Certified Public Accountant Certified Executive Coach, Certified Behavioral Analyst, Certified Values Analyst, and Certified Attributes Index Analyst. He has earned Bachelor and MBA degrees from Florida International University, and completed advanced executive programs at Harvard Law School and the University of Chicago.