Authority is powerful, but much more so when paired with another of the six primary elements of influence. We do business with people we like, so adding the element of affinity to your content not only positions you as the likable expert, it teaches them what they need to know to do business with you in a more compelling way.
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Lesson 6: How to Become a Likeable Expert
Brian Clark: Welcome to “Get More Clients With Smarter Email Marketing,” a free audio course presented by Unemployable with Brian Clark. For the full experience, head over to Unemployable.com and sign up for the Unemployable email newsletter, the week’s top resources for independent businesspeople, personally handcrafted by serial entrepreneur and content marketing pioneer, Brian Clark. That’s Unemployable.com.
Welcome back to “How To Get More Clients With Smarter Email Marketing.” I’m Brian Clark. This lesson is about how to become a likeable expert. We talked about authority in the last lesson and why the best way to get someone on an email list that also operates to quickly convert more of those people into clients is to demonstrate your expertise. To demonstrate your authority in the context of the six influence factors that we discussed at the beginning of the course. It’s very important the way this works, because you’re not claiming to be an expert. You’re not granted authority by the state or a school system or something like that. You’re demonstrating authority in a very natural way that draws people to you.
There’s another aspect here and, of course, that is in the term “likable expert.” We know plenty of people that are experts. We don’t necessarily like everyone just because they are smart or knowledgeable or experienced at something. Frankly, we like to do business with people we like. You may have had this experience as well. Sometimes we’ll choose someone we like even though they’re not the best choice from an authority standpoint. Perhaps you hire your buddy from college as your financial advisor. They’re definitely competent. Maybe not the best in the world, but you like this person. You enjoy talking to them as opposed to dreading it. Liking coupled with authority — that’s two out of the six psychological influence factors, and they are really powerful.
Use Affinity Content to Make Yourself Likable
Let’s zero in a little bit on liking itself. It’s almost one of the most irrational and unfair of the influence principles because it causes us to make decisions based on some things that may not be the best criteria. For example, social psychology research shows that we automatically assign good-looking people other favorable traits such as talent, kindness, honesty, intelligence, and we’re generally not even aware that we do it. Right there — if you are an attractive person, use it. When you’re creating your content, put yourself out there. It will help as long as you’re being helpful and otherwise not a jerk. I think that’s important.
We call this affinity content. It’s not really a separate form of content any more than all the content you create demonstrates authority. It’s an additional element that we’re adding in to make our content — and therefore ourselves — much more likable. Affinity is liking that stems from a connection where people detect similarity with you. You’re their type of person. It’s very important from an engagement standpoint to put yourself in your content. This is what a lot of people hold back on. They’re like “Well, I don’t want to offend anyone,” or “I don’t want to run anyone off.” What happens is you appeal to no one in your fear of alienating someone. What you need to do is appeal strongly to the people that have an affinity for you and don’t worry about the rest.
Remember, if you have a strong affinity with some people, it means it won’t develop with others. That’s okay. You don’t want to water things down to the point that you appeal to no one. The goal here is to get more clients than you would have otherwise. You’re never going to convert every prospect into a client, so don’t even worry about that. Resonate strongly with the people that you have an affinity with, and you’re going to demonstrate that.
The great thing here is you don’t have to be controversial or purposefully annoying or anything like that. If you take a stand for anything and just be yourself on the Internet, you’re going to annoy some people and they’re going to tell you about it. It’s not fair, but don’t really worry about it. What you’re going to live for are the people you really connect with. That’s really what’s at the core of the influence of liking, it’s connection with another person.
Add Affinity Into Your Course Content Framework
I’m going to give you a framework to where the way you create this course content — this authority content — you’re adding in affinity simply by making the content more engaging. There’s a way to develop strong affinity with people by the way you teach them. This is the intersection of marketing, social psychology, and instructional design, or the creation of lessons and course materials. That’s really what we’re doing here, all three things.
First of all, in marketing 101, it’s also instructional design number one and it has a strong social psychology effect: focus on them. There are countless studies that show that people will rate another person as more attractive, more agreeable, more likable because they actually listen to and/or focus on the needs of that person as opposed to the stereotype we get with authoritative experts that they’re all about themselves. Don’t do that. It’s the worst mistake that we can make. It’s easy to do sometimes when we are sharing our expertise, but just keep it top of mind. It’s about them. It’s about what you can help them with. They will come away with an impression of you that is much more likable and agreeable than a person who takes a “I’m the expert” type approach.
Second, you feel like you’re giving away information to people, knowledge. But you have to remember that people don’t really want information or knowledge for its own sake. Some people do, but not many. They want the benefits of knowledge. They want to understand why what you’re telling them matters to them. This is really a corollary of focusing on them. You have to bring in the fact that it’s beneficial knowledge that is going to make this person feel good about you and feel good about hiring you.
Here’s the next thing. From an instructional design standpoint, the best way to infuse your information with life and create affinity is the heavy and appropriate use of metaphors, analogies, and stories. This is called Whole Brain Teaching. Some of us think that “Well, it’s just the facts, ma’am. It’s just information.” But it’s not, of course, and you know this from your own experience. This same information can be delivered in multiple ways, one which is more engaging and interesting and one that is dry and boring. It’s not just about being entertaining or not boring.
The second type of information that we’re talking about here — the engaging things, when you explain things in the form of stories, you use analogies, you make pop culture references, whatever the case may be — you’re actually teaching people better. It’s not just that it’s entertaining, although that’s a big part of it because no one wants to doze off during your marketing materials. That’s what we’re trying to do here, but using these types of tools to get the whole brain engaged with your content also makes you incredibly likable.
This is one of the interesting things that I’ve found related to the use of these techniques — the word “charisma.” Everyone knows of the charismatic leader. I think of someone like Richard Branson as a charismatic person. It’s interesting, because there are many people who think, “Well, you’re just born that way. You can’t really learn to be charismatic.” Turns out that’s not correct. In 2011, research was performed in order to determine if they could take people and increase their charisma through certain methodologies. One of the main things that these people were taught to practice and get better at was the use of metaphor and stories.
A bunch of tool kits that we identify in charismatic people can be improved. It can be taught. This is the interesting thing about teaching, because really what you’re doing by teaching people is becoming a leader, and when you bring in affinity and you connect with people, that’s charisma. And people will say, “This is the person I need to hire.” Not reluctantly or halfheartedly. They’ll find their person, whatever the case may be. It could be design, it could be a realtor, it could be some other form of consultant. You’re making doing business with you attractive.
Share Your Worldview
Part and parcel to that, especially when it comes to affinity, is sharing a world view. The way you view the world is going to connect you with like-minded people. An example of this is Gary Vaynerchuk. Many people know Gary. If you don’t know, he originally broke on the scene by doing a wine show on YouTube that promoted the e-commerce functions of his family wine business. The short story about that is that Gary, through his video show, increased the revenue of that business from $3 million a year to something like $60 million. It was outrageous. There’s a great example of content marketing for you.
But what you may not know, is that at the beginning of that wine show Gary played it very straight, he was not being himself. Think about the world of wine criticism. It’s very uptight. It’s very stodgy. You’re supposed to behave in a certain way. Finally, Gary just decided, “This isn’t me. I’m a New York Jets fan. I’m a New Jersey guy. I’m loud and I’m enthusiastic, and that’s who I’m going to be.” That’s when he broke out, by being Gary. That is his way of viewing the world, a very brash, opinionated, New Jersey, Jets fan type of approach. That doesn’t connect with everyone, but it made the people it did connect with — they loved him, because he also understood that the stodgy world of wine criticism was off-putting to normal people. We’re afraid to make the wrong decision on wine or to order the wrong thing. He was finding, “You either like it or you don’t, that’s all it comes down to. And I’m going to tell you what I like about these wines and maybe you’ll like them as well.”
Share your world view. That’s one of the key aspects where you connect with people. Some people use politics, religion, all sorts of other things to connect with people at an affinity level. I like to do it within the context of the business transaction that we’re contemplating here. When we talk about digital sharecropping and how you should never build on Facebook or someone else’s land, that does help our business. We sell web publishing stuff that empowers people to do things themselves. There is that context of the business transaction, and yet there is an element there where like-minded people who feel strongly about that as well are the ones who gravitate towards us.
All of what I’ve just shared with you it makes for a great course, but affinity should be used with all content that you create. We’ll talk later about follow-up content for people who don’t convert to clients right away from the course itself. But always share “you.” Don’t be afraid of it. You don’t have to try to offend people. You don’t have to try to be overly outrageous or anything like that. Some people do that, and that’s great. I don’t think you need to do it though. You’re either going to connect with people or not. Double down on the people you connect with and don’t worry about those who are going to go off somewhere else. The key, again — grow the business, get more clients than you would have otherwise.
At this point, you understand that authority combined with likability or affinity are our two big things. But, again, we’ve got that reciprocity working for us, we’ve got social proof working when the people who love us share our stuff — that’s another aspect of authority and affinity working to spur social proof and some of these other things. Then you get people into your email sequence. You’ve got commitment. They’re going to act consistently with that commitment and a lot more of them are going to become your clients. That’s it for this lesson. Head over to RainmakerPlatform.com if you’re looking at things from the technology side. We’ve got a free trial that you can put through the paces with no obligation whatsoever. We will be talking about action in our next lesson. Until then, keep going.