Brands chasing Facebook ‘Likes’ have got it all the wrong way around; they should be liking customers, not getting customers to like them.

Why? Well, ask the most successful salesman ever – Joe Girard according to the Guinness Book of World Records – what’s the secret to successful selling. and his answer is simple:

“I tell them that I like them.”

See Cialdini for more, but it’s a psychologically sound strategy and based on the oh -so-powerful principle of reciprocity: People who say, and critically act, as if they like us, create a sense of psychological indebtedness towards them – and we feel obliged to repay the favour – by buying from them.

As is so often the case, actions speak louder than words or clicks when it comes to liking.

So what have you you done lately to show your customers you like them?

(And thanks to the wondrous Farnam Street blog, a secret source/sauce of  brilliant insight, for reminding us about Mr Girard)