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December 21, 2011


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I have developed a great relationship with my mechanic, accountant, lawyer, real estate agent(s), builder(s), co-workers and (perhaps most importantly to me) the food service attendants at work. My mechanic gives my car special attention and pricing – even will open the shop early for an oil change for myself or any of my friends and family members who drive new and used cars. The ladies and gentlemen working at my favorite restaurant at work (we have several in-house) give me extra toppings on my favorite salad; they have my order memorized and most times have it halfway ready for me when I step in the door. Sometimes I get a Mexican dish – which they also have memorized :-) My accountant has learned my habits and alerts me (proactively) when there is opportunity to save on my tax liability via a strategic business purchase etc. that I may be interest in making.

I value each one of these people enormously; I treat them as well or better than I would want to be treated. They all received tips, gifts or extensions of my time with no favor expected in return; I just value them on a personal level and I take every opportunity I can to show them that (customized individually). Example; I spent last Sunday setting up and networking my accountant’s new computers for her and her staff with a friend of mine. She knew I had worked 60 hours already that week and was exhausted – and was only in town for 2 days. In return, she looked at me as I was walking out and said, “Your bookkeeping, personal and business returns are all taken care of this year. We will also do your brother-in-law’s at no cost.” [His return is quite expensive as he owns many businesses and has several employees]. She of course reminded me to invoice her as we both must account for this barter transaction on our taxes. I was not expecting that – but it sure was nice :-) It was also fun to let my brother-in-law know his returns were paid in full; he was excited about that (as you would imagine)!!

On the riskier side of the fence I have a good friend who owns a consulting company who wanted to pay his employees before the Thanksgiving holiday this year to show them appreciation (couple days before they would normally expect their check). He was expecting a large (50K+) payment the following Tuesday and asked me to borrow 2.5K in order to meet payroll. I wired him the money immediately. He returned the money to me a couple days later when his check had cleared. He also sent along a new iPad case (he heard my wife had just purchased one for me as a gift). That sounds risky no? Well this guy has the influence to place high six figure income positions to various corporations all over the country at any given time – regardless of that he is my friend and I value him as a person.

Sorry for the tangent; social capital is just something I am very passionate about :0) Being nice and performing with excellence at work has also had its benefits as I have doubled my income year-over-year for the last 3 years. The income on my side businesses is picking up as well – I would imagine honesty, integrity, dependability (huge), flexibility and trustworthiness (earned) compete with likeability for credit.

My wife and I were up until midnight finishing about 3 dozen handwritten Christmas cards for several of my clients/friends last night – again I do this because of the great value I place on these relationships.

That reminds me; I owe my wife a fabulous dinner as her hands were getting very tired durinsg those last few card last night :-)

I would LOVE to hear other's stories of how they saved or earned more money via likeability. Although I am sure you will credit much more than likeability for your success as I have as well :-)


- Nate

I once heard that people are hired on skill and fired on personality.

For decades, my grandparents have made a nice side income doing the following:

1) befriend salespeople, management, etc. at retail locations

2) get friends to tell you about upcoming deals, especially clearance deals, especially when the deals come online

3) buy resalable merchandise

4) hold periodic "garage sales", marking everything up a decent margin from clearance prices. (Sometimes they'd load up a van and drive out to the rural area where grandma grew up, and hold garage sales out there.)

5) cultivate relationships with customers, telling them when you're next planning a sale and getting lots of repeat business

I waited tables for a long time during college and for a few months after. I can say first-hand that I was always far more willing to go that extra mile for nice guests than those that treated me like a servant. Why anyone would ever be rude to someone who handles their food is beyond me. Even just standing in line at the department store I've been appalled at the way people treat the employees. Usually a smile and "How are you?" is enough to get a cashier to whip out that coupon you didn't know about it and apply it to your purchase.

It just makes sense that being likable will advance your professional career. Because I'm well-liked at work (and therefore easy to work with), managers select me to work on their projects (I do contract work) and my reviews are always very good. One year I got a stellar review from one of the managers that was known to be very critical at review time. And then there are all the intangible benefits, as well. I've always said the world would be a better place if everyone were a little nicer.

I have a friend who openly admitted to me that he should've been layed off a long time ago from his job due to his lack of experience..but people love working with him and everyone wants him on their team and would rather see someone else go who might be better qualified but isn't as pleasant to work with. At the end, when all else is equal, and many situations when it's not, being nice goes a seriously long way.

Having worked plenty of retail jobs in my life, I'm always extremely nice to any service worker, sales person, retail worker, etc, because they have hard jobs, and most people are mean to them, or look down on them. They deserve better.

I try to be nice to all sales people (unless they're blatantly scamming or high-pressuring me)...mostly because I can't even begin to imagine how difficult it would be to have to deal with the public every day, 8 hours a day.

On the other hand, I will say that as I get older and less time remains to me, it's hard to emanate sweetness and light when people waste your time, either deliberately or out of stupidity. Usually this happens because of other customers who think the galaxy revolves around them (black holes for other people's time, these folks are!). Since one of the most frustrating time-wasters of all is the telephone punch-a-button runaround, I have to put out extra effort to be polite to the poor soul who picks up the phone when I FINALLY reach a human being!

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