The Value of Being Approachable: Priceless

Published: Jan 24, 2019
Modified: Mar 26, 2020

What would happen if you wore a nametag all the time? Would people be friendlier? Would people say hello? Or would people stare at you with confused looks on their faces, ridiculing you and assuming you were a complete idiot?

The answer is, yes: All the above and more.

If you want to be approachable, the opportunities that come your way will dramatically increase. All you have to do is act as if you are wearing a name tag.

I know this works. I have worn a name tag every day for long enough to be the world's record holder—more than 3,000 days in a row. (I even had my name tag tattooed on my chest!).

When you wear a name tag, people know that you want them to be free to engage you in conversation. It’s an invitation that tells people, “Approach me, introduce yourself. It’s OK!” If you’re a manager, that’s the way you want people to see you and that’s the way you want your people to be seen.

When people see you as approachable, all sorts of opportunities open up. For example:

1. Approachability wins business. We live in a culture of sales resistance. Consumers are skeptical and require confidence before deciding to buy. Remember: If they can't come up to you; how will they ever get behind you?

2. Be the origin, not the echo. There are no cover bands in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Similarly, in business: The more imitable you are, the less valuable you are. Be un-competable. Be un-confusable. Be unique.

3. Create points of dissonance (POD’s). Curiosity is a natural motivator of human engagement. Before someone gets to the "aha!" about what you do and who you are, they first have to be captivated by the "huh?"

4. Don't be stopped by not knowing how. Focus (first) on the what, and the how will eventually appear. Remember: Ideas are free; execution is priceless.

5. Create fans, not customers. More fans = less selling. You need fans; and you need to give them megaphones. Here’s the secret: Build a following. Post on your blog everyday, because writing is the basis of all wealth.

6. Make the mundane memorable. Nobody notices normal and nobody buys boring. Positioning yourself as "normal" is like asking customers to find a needle in a stack of needles! Remember: Those who get noticed get remembered; and those who get remembered get business.

7. Networking works. Remember: "Luck" is a synonym for "working your butt off." If you want to be in the right place at the right time, you need to be in a lot of places. Find out where the rock created the ripple and then go throw some more rocks.

8. People buy people first. Every personal interaction either adds to or subtracts from the positive perception of your brand. Remember: People don't buy from, trust, or have loyalty to companies, but rather, to people.

9. Shtick must be supported by substance. Sure, shtick might get you in the door; but in marketing, that doesn't guarantee you'll stay in the room. Only value and substance can do that. In business, you can’t be all sugar. Customers want value. Customers want substance. Customers want to take a few licks and then discover your delicious Tootsie-roll center.

One of my secret weapons is a technique I call the DIP—how to “Disarm Immediate Preoccupation.” It’s a strategy that you can use to put yourself in the right state of mind any time with a simple three-step process:

1. Think! Just get ready to have fun.
2. Take a deep breath and relax. In fact, take a few deep breaths and relax.
3. When you walk into a room, smile.

This simple exercise can be used anytime, anywhere. It lays the foundation for approachability. Then you can either walk up to someone you know and say, “Hello,” or you can walk up to someone you don’t know and with a smile say, “Hello, my name is Scott and I don’t know anyone!”

This approach is very charming and disarming and it works really well, because you’re being honest and friendly and kind of funny. It works because you’re appealing to a human being’s inherently helpful nature.

Being a great communicator can help show customers the value of your products and services. Learn how to get your message across with this AMA Webinar.