My Dirty Little Secret, American Idol, and Likeability

Periodically, I have to admit to the dark underside of that which is me; so if you want to keep your perfect image of me, I suggest you skip this post.

Still here? OK. It’s embarrassing but I must come clean. Please don’t judge me. I tell you this only in the interest of an honest relationship. Alright…deep breath…heavy sigh…

“I watch American Idol.”

There. I’ve said it! It’s out for all to see. Go ahead. Hate me. Say evil things about my heritage. I even bought David Cook’s CD and a few songs from Melinda Doolittle. I shall no longer remain in the closet. My intellectual friends might snub me, but I shall not be held back due to my beliefs in attractive, nice young people pursuing their dreams on my large-screen TV. I’ll say it again, “I watch American Idol!” Deal with it! (Boy, do I feel better now!)

Now that I’ve got that dirty little secret out in the open, I can go on to my topic, because Tuesday night’s show is what prompted this.

My wife (oops, I just outed her too)  and I were watching the first competition episode. This year, they’ve narrowed it down to 36 and each week for three weeks, 12 perform. Of the dozen singers, there were a few who really stood out, as one would expect. One young man, Anoop Desai, struck both she and I as very “likeable,” which prompted me to wonder, “What is likeability?”

I mean, we all know it when we see it (well, except unlikeable people who probably see unlikeable as likeable. Hmmm… weird concept). But, what is it?

When all else fails, bring out the Googles!

That’s what I did. In the interest of trying to put a quantitative spin to the concept of “what is likeability?” I searched that expression. That brought out some interesting posts. One of which was here, posted by Dianne Berenbaum of a customer service training group called Communico. She posts a link to a downloadable self-assessment called “An L-Factor Self Assessment” where you can rate yourself on how likeable you are. (You can find that form — devised by Tim Saunders — here.)

You like me! You really like me!

You like me! You really like me!

I took the test and came out above average on likeability, which was nice. (However, I was trying so hard to be honest that I rated myself a little severely. So, I’m probably more likeable than that. One might assume likeable people are humble — or at least have low self esteem, huh? Now, I’m feeling bad that I’m not more likeable. I want to correct the test. Oy, am I a mess!)

Anyway, I wanted more information and scanned the remainder of the first page of Google searches (no one — including me — goes past the first or second page) and nothing was jumping out. So, I then asked Google to “define likeability” and about 1/3 of the way down the first page was an entry called “L A L.” I didn’t know what that was, except for being a PDF so I downloaded it. (click here if you want it)  It was the notes from a video or web presentation done by Tim Saunders.

In that presentation, I found some relevant stuff. Hooray!

Tim (whom I’ve seen speak before and was quite entertaining) says there are four factors when it comes to likeability.   From the PDF, it says this:

1. To be likeable, you must first be friendly.
2. For someone to find you likeable, you must also be perceived as relevant.
3. Amplifying the perception of friendliness and relevance is the perception of being empathic—truly caring for the other.
4. At the highest level of the likability hierarchy is the perception  of being real; likeable people are authentic.

That made sense to me (with the exception of why Anoop was “relevant” to me; maybe three out of four does it?) I thought of people — and businesses — I “like” and, for the most part, they fit those qualifications. If I don’t “like” a store or business, I wont’ go there, unless I have no other choice, and we know that relationship won’t last very long, will it?

Yet, on the other hand, if I “like” them, they become “mine;” I even become somewhat protective of them and want them to do well so I refer them and feel good when things go well for them. It’s not about logic, it’s all about the feelings.

My model for behavior

LEPS: the basis for all changeIn my own presentations, I use a model of behavior I call “LEPS” (logical • emotional • physical • spiritual) which accounts for all we do. I know that’s kind of a brash statement, but I believe it and — so far — the model holds up. However, the bottom line of it all is, “if they don’t like you, they won’t buy from you.” Period. Now, at least I know a little more about what that is.

Boils down to the number one rule of sales and marketing:

People don’t buy what they need, they buy what they want. (They back it with logic.)

Although likeability obviously didn’t help Anoop. He got voted off. (At least we still have Danny Gokey.)


~ by scottqmarcus on February 19, 2009.

2 Responses to “My Dirty Little Secret, American Idol, and Likeability”

  1. […] a business slant on likeability, check out my post at […]

  2. Great posts!

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