Who Wins the Battle Between Likability and Trust?

This is probably one of the biggest contradictions in business and relationships alike. We’re often told that being trusted is more important than being liked. But the issue is more complicated than that, and the more important question to ask is this: Which comes first?

Is it trust that gets a woman to exchange phone numbers with a man to go on a date? Is it trust that gets a potential prospect to want to meet with you and do business? Or is it the fact that they first liked you?

The difference between trust and likeability is that one takes time and the other makes time. Trust takes time to develop while being liked gives you the time needed to earn that trust.

Think about the most impressive person you ever bought a product from or hired to do a service for you. What was it about that person that made you want to know more? Was it her knowledge about the product? Was it his smile or attitude? Was it the way that person made you feel? Or was it because you knew instantly, almost magically, that you could trust that person?

The first key to success in any kind of a sales process is to have a very high likeability index. This is something that is a must to work on if you’re in the people business. I’ve met many people who I trust because I’ve known them for a very long time; but in many cases, when I introduce a person to someone in my network, he or she comes across as a jerk, even though that couldn’t be further from the truth. But the fact that this first impression isn’t one that will lead to a second impression could cost my trusted friend the sale or the potential relationship.

In order to build trust, work on your likeability. You’ll be surprised at how many more opportunities you get to develop trust when you’re more likeable.

Here are ten ways to be more likable:

  1. Be yourself.
  2. Smile.
  3. Give sincere compliments.
  4. Look people in the eyes.
  5. Stop looking at your phone every five seconds.
  6. Sincerely get to know people and potential clients alike by asking questions.
  7. Don’t look like you’re in a hurry.
  8. Find areas of agreement—being constantly argumentative is off-putting.
  9. Find reasons to be optimistic about life.
  10. Constantly remind yourself of the first nine items on this list.

If you work on being likable, you’ll end up having time to earn trust as well.


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