Likeability is something that is referenced often when people talk about doing commerce with a specific business. Certainly, Likeability has something to play. It’s made up of many things, including your reputation as a person and the reputation of the business you own or work for.  When you think of someone…what initially comes to mind? Let’s play a name/word association game. I’ll share a name, you think of what immediately comes to mind:

Brad Pitt – Heidi Klum – Milton Hershey

Brad, Heidi, and Milton. What are they known for?

Brad, Heidi, and Milton. What are they known for?

You noticed I didn’t pick anyone in this game that was remotely controversial. In my view, they all have good reputations. I’ve written before about how your reputation matters.

The saying that people do business with who they know, like, and trust, isn’t just lip service. If you are known, but not liked it will be hard to get more word of mouth referrals in your business. When I speak about getting more word of mouth referrals, I even take it a step further to say that people do business with who they know, like, trust, and care about!

What if when your name was mentioned in a circle of friends, you were known for something OTHER than what you would want to be known for? I think we all realize that people talk. Good and bad, so why don’t we do our best to control what they talk about, preferably the good things.

During the 16 years I owned and operated my website agency, we found that we were a go-to company because many other web agencies wouldn’t call their clients back. In fact, in some cases, the clients were told that the agency wouldn’t call back because the work the client wanted was too small! Say What?


If the business isn’t a good fit for you, find a way to refer that business to another company, always ensuring that you are taking the utmost care of the client, because if you don’t, they tell the next company what you said and how you left them high and dry. I assure you that the new company is not the only company or person they are telling these things to. If you do this to your clients, it will burn bridges and make it some much more difficult to get more word of mouth referrals.

There are a few business owners that I would love to refer business to, however, I personally have trouble getting hold of them. That creates a huge issue for me to refer them. I’m deeply concerned that if I can’t get my call or email returned, then the person who needs the help likely wouldn’t either, and I don’t want any prospect or client to have that experience. EVER! (or EVAH as we say in Boston).

In one recent conversation with a business friend, a mutual friend and company came up, and in discussing it, we both had the same understanding of the difficulties with reaching this person and company. It’s just their way of running their company. Keep in mind that if this is what you are putting out into the world, there are many other people are having similar conversations about you and your business.

When you perform well for your clients and partners, all your contacts become aware of how well you deal with others and that is what they talk about. When you do this, there is always more good than bad. In this situation, you are controlling the information that people use to discuss you and your company. By over-delivering on a regular basis in all forms of your workday, people will notice, and they will respond with more word of mouth referrals.