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It’s been believed for many years that in order to get people to hire you or buy from your business that people need to know, like, and trust you. Today, that’s beginning to feel like a minimum requirement and I’ll bet it’s not your objective in business to meet the minimum standard on anything. Let’s look at each of these objectives to consider what higher standard is required today to stand out.
Knowing you isn’t enough
First of all, this isn’t about people getting to know you. It’s about you getting to know them. Let’s also understand there’s a difference between getting people to know your business and getting to know you or what your brand stands for. Yes, they have to know of your business in order to consider doing business with you. The implication of the phrase though is that they need to get to know you, your brand, and your mission. But really, what’s on the mind of any potential buyer is “what’s in it for me?” So this has less to do with them getting to know you and far more about you getting to know them.
In fact, knowing them isn’t enough. Let’s really raise the bar and instead of making them feel like you know them, how about you make them feel like you “get” them. That you understand what’s important to them. What they prioritize. A bit about their lifestyle. What their values are. Making people feel like you get them is far more impactful and likely to engage a customer than knowing them, or worse yet, getting people to know you. The classic Maya Angelou quote couldn’t be more fitting here – ”People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Instead of getting them to know you, make them feel like you get them.
Liking you isn’t enough
There’s a scene in the classic sitcom, Golden Girls, where Sophia, the elder of the crew, is in bed with a lover when she blurts out, “I love you.” Her mate in return says, “I care for you.”
“I care for you?” she responds with great distress as she punches him and storms out of the room. Is it really your goal to get people to like you? To care for you? Is that it? Getting people to like you is equivalent to meeting people’s expectations. What happens when you meet someone’s expectations? When you’ve delivered what they expected? Likely what happens is silence. Meeting expectations isn’t nearly enough. Neither is being liked. It’s a minimum bar. The problem is people only talk about businesses when those businesses exceed expectations or do not meet expectations. In fact, while it may seem that people are more eager to complain about a business than rave about a business, research tells us otherwise. According to a study by Sitel Group, while 30 percent of customers say they will share a bad experience on social media, 49 percent said they will share a positive experience. So getting people to “like” you is simply not enough to get anyone talking. You have to by far surpass their expectations to get anyone really talking about your business. Don’t aim for being liked. Aim for being talked about because you exceeded expectations.
Trusting you isn’t enough
Let’s consider how trust is built between a prospective customer and a business. Is trust built when a company proclaims they are the best in their field? Nope. In fact, it likely creates distrust. Is trust built when someone comes on strong to sell you what they offer? Nope, people back up. Is trust built in any relationship where the person doing all the talking is talking about themselves? Nope. Think horrible date.
While I love and highly respect the work of Simon Sinek and the idea to Start With Why, its time may have come to pass. Because when a business starts with why, like the bad date, they are likely talking all about themselves. And it doesn’t build trust. What builds trust is a connection between why your work is meaningful to you or the bigger mission of your brand. And as is often the case with trust, it is earned. The moment you tell someone to trust you, they won’t. The moment you proclaim to be the best, they doubt you. Therefore, it’s not about getting people to trust you. It’s creating the connection where trust is granted because the customer feels the why, the mission, the heart, and the soul behind the business and responds by thinking to themselves, “It’s no wonder this is why you do what you do.” Today, people buy into a business before they buy from a business. That’s earned trust.
Know, like, and trust is a minimum requirement. What you want to do to be exceptional is make your customers feel like you get them, exceed their expectations, and create a genuine connection.