Why Getting People to Like You is Good (and I don’t mean on Facebook)

Everyone wants to be liked. Some may say they don’t really care, but who would choose to be unliked over being liked?

Not a smart, marketing-savvy dentist, that is for sure!

That’s because those people who are liked have more influence than those who don’t. Liking is one of Dr. Robert Cialdini’s six key principles of persuasion and the topic of today’s blog, which is part of a series on the subject.

I’m a big fan of Dr. Cialdini’s, having read his book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” and heard explain the principles during a recent webinar. What he says makes sense and has very practical applications for dentists.

Liking, the second principle he discussed during the webinar, supposes that people prefer to say yes to someone they know and like.

Backed up by research

He gave the example of an online negotiation study between MBA students at Northwestern and Stanford. In the study, the students had to reach an agreement in a deal via email with counterparts from the other school or they would receive a poor grade.

He didn’t say what they were negotiating, but clearly, both side had something to lose as 30 percent of the negotiations ended deadlocked.

But when students exchanged personal information and interacted via email and got to know one another before the negotiation, they failed only 6 percent of the time.

That’s why so many salespeople take their clients out to dinner or for drinks. That’s why your medical reps send you holiday cards and “stop in just to say hi.” Dealing with a salesperson is confrontational… dealing with a friend is pleasant.

The principle of liking also postulates that people like others who are like them in some way: gender, racial, socioeconomic status, background, family history, country of origin, etc. People look for others with common ground.

So how does this affect you?

Because you are selling services, but you don’t want to seem like a salesman. You want need potential patients to like you if they are going to trust you with their appearance, ability to eat the foods they love and restore them to a pain-free life!

This is nothing new to you. Every medical professional knows the importance of a good bedside manner.

You are trying to establish rapport so the patient feels comfortable with you. The idea of liking is the same, it just occurs before the person has become your patient.

 I feel so strongly that this matters to dentists that I wrote a whole book about it.

In the previous blog we discussed how if you get prospective patients something of value, they will feel a need to reciprocate. Well, giving them those electronic or paper books, DVDs, newsletters, free reports or blogs also lets them get to know you.

Video is the game-changer

But you know what really lets patients get to know you? Video on your website. Video of you showing your expertise (more of this in a future blog), video of you talking about the practice, video of you showing your personality.

I feel so strongly about it, I wrote a book about that too!

People feel like they know you when they see read your words, see your face and hear your voice. That’s why TV personalities and movie stars have such huge fan groups! It lets them “start a relationship” with you and get to know you as a person.

Speaking of groups, the third key to persuasion is a consensus. We’ll talk about that in the next blog.

Please leave any comments about anything you have seen in this blog or ideas for future topics.