Don't go “yeah, right” just yet. Let me elaborate on my statement in the headline.
First of all, there's a good chance that I really like you, because I know a little or a lot about you. If you're on my mailing list, you might have done the little survey, I wrote about, and you told me some things about yourself there.
Many of the answers I've received had made me smile, laugh, feel pity, relate to or in other ways triggered emotions in me.
Second of all, these three words, “I like you” has made a guy rich. Can you believe it?
I'll tell you the story about the man in a moment. You'll probably ask yourself after reading it: Can it really be that simple?
I don't know… Probably, yes. But let's get started.
“Your flattering remarks are both desperate and obvious”
Only the sharpest among us will be able to make such an observation as the headline above. We're all suckers for flattery. This sub-headline is a quote from Scream II, by the way.
Have you ever read the French fable about the Raven and the Fox? (Here translated as “crow”, but I'm almost certain that it's a raven. Nevermind…)
It's the story about a raven who has found a cheese, and it's sitting in a tree with this cheese in its beak.
A fox passes by. He sees the raven with the cheese, and he wants it. So he starts to flatter the raven for its beautiful plumage and wonders if the raven's voice will match it.
So the raven opens up his beak to sing… Obviously, the cheese falls to the ground, and the fox gets it.
The fox himself reveals the moral of this story to the poor raven:
Learn that every flatterer
Lives at the expense of the one who listens to him.
This is not new knowledge.
And yet, a man got rich by sending post carts out with the text “I like you”.
Did he mean it? Or was it pure flattery?
No way to tell, but it worked.
“We are phenomenal suckers for flattery”
This is a statement that Robert B Cialdini, PH.D., wrote in his highly praised book “Influence“. And this is where he wrote about a car salesman named Joe.
In fact, this is not just any car salesman. It is THE greatest car salesman of them all. Joe Girard managed to sell an average of five cars and trucks every day!
His secret, according to himself, was that customers liked him.
And how do you make somebody like you?
Well, one way to do it is to flatter them, but to do it in a way that isn't obvious. Joe Girard sent out postcards to all his thousands of customers on every occasion possible: Christmas, Hanukah, New Year, birthdays… and on one side of the card he always wrote the three simple words:
“I like you”
The stamps alone cost a fortune, but Joe still made an even bigger fortune by his gesture.
Because people liked him back.
Was he faking? Or did he really like his customers?
My guess is that he liked them. Although we love to be praised and flattered, there's normally a little alarm bell that goes off, if it's fake. I cannot imagine that he would have had such a huge success by pretending.
What do you say?
Would you believe Joe, if you'd bought from him and received a postcard with the words “I like you”?
And how is your relationship with your readers or customers? Do you like them?
Give me your thoughts and points of view in the comments. Yes, I actually do care about them.
I like you.