Andy Murray appears to have split the nation; in spite of winning his Wimbledon match against Richard Gasquet to get closer to the Wimbledon title than any Brit in years, there are still people who don’t want him to win. Take a look at one of his videos on YouTube for instance and you’ll find plenty of negative comment about him.

This morning on BBC Radio Five Live, Nikky Campbell said that the station had received several text messages from people who just don’t want Murray to win. So, here we have someone who is clearly an accomplished tennis player – currently 11th out of 1,856 ranked players worldwide – who people don’t want to be a winner. Why?

The answer comes from Simon Cowell, the TV personality and leading music producer. He often says in shows like American Idol or The X Factor that an individual has “the likeability factor”. Sometimes, even experts like Mr Cowell cannot explain what makes someone outstanding at their job – it’s just that we like them.

And guess what, Andy Murray does not have the likeability factor. He is grumpy, has negative body language, constantly uses negative words and his tone of voice is always downbeat. He just exudes negativity – except on the Centre Court on Monday when his excitement at winning every point turned to expressions that seemed like vitriolic anger. Perhaps another reason not to like him.

What does this mean for running an Internet business? It means you have to find that magic that Simon Cowell talks about – likeability. It is well known that we tend to do business with people we like; sales staff in car dealers, for instance, spend most of their time attempting to be liked rather than trying to sell a car – the result is they sell the car.

Online that’s difficult; you don’t have long to engage or build up a relationship with your customers. That’s especially true if your web site is not likeable. So how does your web site gain the likeability factor and avoid the “Murray factor”? Easy – inject real personality into it. Make it personal – people will engage with YOU rather than with an anonymous web site. Having a real person to connect with rather than links like “contact us” will boost your business; include photos of staff – give your web site a human face and your online business will improve. Otherwise, you will not have the likeability factor and no matter how successful your business is in terms of market share or offline sales, that will not so easily translate online. You’ll be like Andy Murray with people knowing about you, but not that interested in your success.

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