Wow, I'm fired up! I spent the week at Berkeley's Executive Leadership Program at Haas. I haven't been in full-on thinking mode in more than 10 years, and the good news is that it's just like riding a bike.
And then there's me.
A few folks were excited to see Ping on the list because they thought it would lead to free golf clubs. But other than that, I didn't walk in with much clout! That left me with charm and wit... surely that counts for something...
I firmly believe in surrounding oneself with the best of the best, and this was no exception. Classmates included business unit heads from Nokia, Dow, Goodrich, Salesforce.com, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Kate Spade, and Chevron. Leaders traveled from South Korea, Finland, Thailand, England, France, India, and Brazil. And I dare say we accomplished much more than the United Nations.
I emerged with a full mind and notebook, ready to change the world. So, as I get on that, I'll share a bit of learning with you, and I welcome a dialogue (lest I experience withdrawl after a week of lively debate).
Lesson: The Power of Like
A few weeks ago, I blogged about the importance of connecting with an employer during an interview. The same applies in sales. You want to connect with your prospect and build a strong rapport. I've always felt more comfortable and willing to buy from enjoyable people, regardless of what they're selling. In fact, I suspect I've bought things I don't even want just to keep the conversation going.
I didn't know the business principle behind this on Sept. 22, but now I do. Liking is a huge driver of influence. Being liked is critical, and not just for warm-and-fuzzy affirmation reasons. Liking is a strong source of power. We *need* people to like us to get things done.
Innumerable research studies show that people like things and people with the following attributes:
- they like us first
This may sound like a no-brainer, but I think we lose sight of how important this is when we prepare for important meetings. People
are more likely to overlook experience gaps if they like you. (It was at about this time in the lecture that I felt a lot better about my inventory of charm and wit.) And they
are much more likely to help you, in general. Regardless of your
position, you will need assistance at some point along the way.
What's more, the Mere Exposure Effect dictates that merely being exposed to something repeatedly makes people like it more. So, you are more likely to react positively to someone you've met before. (Hence, face-to-face meetings are critical in business.)
Office politics make me cringe, and no one likes a suck-up. But, it doesn't take much effort to mind your Ps and Qs, and to tell a good story here and there. 'Cause doggone it... you're good enough. You're smart enough. People ought to like you! And research shows you'll like the bottom line as a result.