Partners at Goldman Sachs are going to have to “make do” with just £1m for the past year. Their pay has been capped at this seven-figure sum, reducing their take-home income by almost two-thirds. That’s a big hit for a multi-millionaire. But compared with David Beckham, who’ll earn an estimated £30m this year, those City bankers are paupers. And while the world is jumping up and down about the income of banking professionals, Larry Page and Sergey Brin – the founders of Google – are to cash in shares and earn a whopping £1.7bn each.
The reaction to each of these financial revelations is different. In the case of Beckham it’s largely jealousy – all that money for just kicking a football? Gosh – we can all do that. Well, actually, we can’t – we don’t have his talent. As far as the Google couple are concerned, the reaction has been somewhat muted – they deserve it, we say. After all they came up with this clever invention that now helps run the world. But the bankers? Goodness me – they still want a million? Who do they think they are?
Here’s the difference – we like Sergey Brin, Larry Page and David Beckham. But we just hate bankers.
Wherever you look, if we like someone we don’t mind them getting paid. If you like your boss, you don’t mind them getting more than you. But if you think your boss is a waste of space you reckon they don’t deserve their salary – even if it’s not much more than yours. Similarly, if you like Tom Cruise you don’t mind him getting £10m a movie, but if you think he’s a wooden actor you reckon you could do better for half the money.
So, what do your customers think of you or your sales staff? Do they like you or do they have you on their hate list? Perhaps they are just indifferent. Either way, if they dislike you or have no feelings either way it makes it much easier for them to challenge your prices and attempt to negotiate with you. The trick to being able to charge more and to have people simply accept your pricing is to be immensely likeable.
But how do you do that? How come Page and Brin are “likeable” when we don’t even know them? How come many people like David Beckham – even if they don’t support his team? And how come we simply dislike bankers? There is a significant difference between the likeable and the hateable. The people we like are doing whatever they do for us; the people we dislike appear to be doing it for themselves. That’s it.
David Beckham is doing whatever he does to give football fans an enjoyable 90 minutes; when he fails at entertaining them, boy does he know it from the boos he gets from the crowd. Similarly, the Google founders have produced Google for us, not themselves. Now, who do you think the bankers are working for? That’s right – themselves (or so it seems). And that’s why we don’t like them. And that’s why we begrudge them a mere £1m.
If you want to be able to charge high prices, and not get them challenged, you need to be liked. And to be liked you need to prove, time and time again, that everything you do is for the benefit of your customers and is nothing to do with yourself. That way, they’ll like you and pay you well. Any hint of selfishness on your part and they’ll challenge your prices.
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+