High Performance: The likeability spectrum

May 9, 2016 -  By

Photo: 드림포유 

There’s an adage that says, “People buy from people they like.” Do you agree? I’m not so sure I do. After all, I’ve bought plenty of things from people I didn’t necessarily like. I needed something, and they happened to have what I needed. I may have truly liked the salespeople or I may have simply tolerated them, but I made the purchase anyway because I wanted or needed what they had.

In my mind, I see a spectrum of likeability. At one end of the spectrum are the people you like extremely–call them a 10. At the other end of the spectrum are the people you dislike extremely–call them a 0. In the middle of the spectrum are the people you’re indifferent about–call them a 5.

For reactive, order-taking selling situations, likeability is less important, but it does matter. I’ve walked away from making purchases because I disliked the way the salesperson (order taker) was handling things. I may be able to tolerate a 5, maybe even a 4 or 3, but probably not a 2, 1 or 0. Maybe we should revise the adage to read, “People don’t buy from people they dislike.” Do you agree?

For proactive selling situations, likeability is much more important. Proactive salespeople, commonly referred to as hunters, absolutely must be likeable. However, we should be clear about what likeability means in the context of sales. Think about a salesperson you really, truly like. What is it about this person that makes him or her so likeable?

One of my favorite salespeople comes to mind. What I like about her is she’s extremely prompt, thorough and is skilled at reading my cues. In addition, we’re about the same age and have many things in common. She “gets me” and treats me exactly how I want to be treated. Over the course of several years, we’ve become personal friends and have even vacationed with our spouses. She is a 10. This is a common occurrence between salespeople and their customers when the likeability factor is high.

Where are you on the likeability spectrum and what are you doing to improve your rating?

Now go forth.

Photo: 드림포유 

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About the Author:

Harwood is a Managing Partner with GrowTheBench and Pro-Motion Consulting. Reach him at He is a Landscape Industry Certified Manager, NALP Trailblazer, NALP Consultant, and Certified Snow Professional. Harwood holds a BA in Marketing and Executive MBA with Honors from Michigan State University.

1 Comment on "High Performance: The likeability spectrum"

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  1. Michael Voories says:

    All else being equal, people will buy from whomever they feel the most comftorable with.