People buy things from people they like. For years, sales directors have been able to tell us that their biggest sales come from the sales staff who are the most likeable. And you know from your own experience that if you liked the sales person you were dealing with, you were more likely to buy. There is a clear link between “likeability” and sales success.
So, online, how can you show how likeable you are? How can you be seen as likeable when we don’t have direct contact with individuals? Thankfully, new research conducted at Tufts University in Massachusetts shows us what to do.
The study took a bunch of volunteers who then met another group of people. This second group then rated these individuals on a series of factors that showed how much they liked them. The volunteers then allowed their Facebook profiles to be shown to another group of people who also rated how likeable the people were, based solely on what they said about themselves online. The researchers then compared the findings of the two different groups of people.
What they found was that the people rated most likeable offline, were also the most likeable online. There was a clear connection between online likeability and how likeable a person was when met face-to-face. The researchers identified several factors that appear to be involved in online likeability.
To improve your chances of being seen as likeable online, you need to demonstrate your personality; it needs to come through in what you write. One of the key findings of this research was that the most likeable people online were the most expressive in their Facebook profiles. In other words the more you see your online presence as a conversation, the more you treat it as a chat between you and one other person, the more likeable you will become.
Secondly, the research found that the more pictures of yourself you published, the more likeable you became. That’s because in the offline world we are looking at visual cues as to likeability – facial expressions are important in this analysis we make. Online, we don’t have that opportunity and so it seems that people are checking photographs of individuals to help them make this judgement.
So, what does this mean if you are trying to sell online? It suggests that you need to write more personally and less formally. It also implies that you need to include several pictures of yourself on your sales page. Ultimately, people buy from you, not from the Internet. The more you show of yourself, the greater your chances of sales.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+