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Likeable Business: Why Today's Consumers Demand More and How Leaders Can Deliver

Likeable Business: Why Today's Consumers Demand More and How Leaders Can Deliver

by Dave Kerpen, Theresa Braun, Valerie Pritchard

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Dave Kerpen’s follow-up to his bestselling Likeable Social Media gives business owners and marketers time-tested strategies for growing revenue

Likeable Business lays out the eleven strategies companies can use to leverage likeability to increase profits and spur growth. Kerpen explains how to ensure that every aspect of a


Dave Kerpen’s follow-up to his bestselling Likeable Social Media gives business owners and marketers time-tested strategies for growing revenue

Likeable Business lays out the eleven strategies companies can use to leverage likeability to increase profits and spur growth. Kerpen explains how to ensure that every aspect of a business communicates transparency, accountability, responsiveness, and authenticity—which customers find more likeable than traditional marketing campaigns.

Dave Kerpen is cofounder and CEO of the marketing firm Likeable Media, included in the INC 500 fastest-growing private companies in the United States for both 2011 and 2012. He is the author of the New York Times bestselling book Likeable Social Media and is a frequent keynote speaker.

Editorial Reviews

"This book is great for those interested in reading about success and failure stories revolving around running businesses, from small to large. Some may even find it inspiring since there is a significant focus on entrepreneurs who have been widely successful by either practicing all or some of the principles discussed in this book."
Library Journal
Here Kerpen draws from the communication lessons he presented in his first book, Likeable Social Media, and shows how the same principles apply to business leadership. The book argues that businesses and business CEOs must focus on 11 key factors in order to satisfy their customers. Caring about customers only when something goes wrong isn’t good enough. Kerpen’s aspired leadership traits include authenticity, passion, team playing, gratefulness, and listening, among others; he provides examples from his company, Likeable Media, and others to demonstrate their practical application. For instance, in 2011, Netflix decided its DVD-by-mail and streaming services would become separate companies. Customers expressed disapproval, and the CEO quickly reversed the plan. Netflix services remain unified. Each chapter ends with social tools and action items to help readers get started.

Verdict An excellent book for anyone working in customer service, Kerpen’s work provides original ways of thinking about everyday actions. Recommended.—Leigh Mihlrad, National Insts. of Health, Bethesda, MD

(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Read an Excerpt

Likeable Business


By Dave Kerpen, Theresa Braun, Valerie Pritchard

The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Copyright © 2013Dave Kerpen
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-07-180048-8




One Mouth, Two Ears, Many Opportunities

When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen. —Ernest Hemingway

I finally decided to take my own advice and shut up and listen. For five years I'd been leading a company in social media marketing, preaching about the value of listening using social media. I had written Likeable Social Media, which featured "Listen First and Never Stop Listening" as the title of Chapter 1. I had spoken to thousands of people at live events about the virtues of listening to customers and colleagues. Yet I suffered from the same syndrome as many leaders: I have a lot of ideas, and I liked to share them. That meant talking, which, unfortunately, by definition, meant not listening. I wanted to better understand how my team could work without me. I wanted to begin practicing what I preached. So I shut up and conducted an hour-long management team meeting without saying a word.

At first, people were shocked. They weren't sure what to say. They asked me a few questions, to which I just shook my head to silently say, "I'm just listening today. Carry on." What followed was amazing: Managers rose to the challenge and led without me. People shared their own ideas—some of which I didn't like, but others I absolutely loved. A few people remained silent, which was okay, but people who probably wouldn't have spoken in the meeting spoke, and others spoke more—they had the time to, because I wasn't talking. My listening was a gift in that it gave others the chance to be heard. Of course, it was also invaluable to me, as I gained insight into people's thinking and problem-solving skills, ideas and wishes, even strengths and weaknesses. All from one hour of shutting up and listening.

Practice makes perfect, and months later, I now have a lot of practice listening, but I'm still far from perfect. I'll always be a bit of a crazy-idea- guy entrepreneur, and I think I may always struggle with the listening-versus- talking challenge. But the more I listen, the more I learn.


Merriam-Webster defines listening as "hearing something with thoughtful attention: giving consideration." Listening is clearly more than just hearing. It is the act of consciously paying attention to someone else, with an attempt to understand, to consider. It is the process of thinking about what is important to someone else rather than what may be important to you. It is the act, at any given moment, of caring more about what someone else has to say than anything else in the world. Listening is hard—a lot harder than you might think. There is also ample evidence that listening is more difficult for men than for women. Think about how challenging it is for some of us to shut up and listen while dating and in relationships. So half of us are off to a challenging start.


Leaders, businesspeople, and entrepreneurs are full of ideas. Many of you have ideas all day long every day about how to make the world a better place, make money, and solve problems. The very nature of active listening requires us to put aside our ideas completely, if only for a moment, in order to focus on what someone else has to say.

As difficult as that can be, it's through listening to customers, prospective customers, colleagues, employees, and others that we can better understand what their needs and motivations are—and ultimately make our ideas better and more executable. It's leaders like you who need to learn to listen better, even more so than the world's followers.

When I first started out, as a salesperson for Radio Disney at the age of 22, I was young and foolish (well, even younger and more foolish than I am today). I thought that I had a great product to sell and that people would love to listen to me talk about it. I thought that I could be charming and persuasive and convince decision makers why it made sense to use my product to solve their marketing problems.

I thought wrong. I was failing miserably, despite what I considered my charm and persuasion. A few weeks into the job, my mentor, Peggy Iafrate, said to me, "How well are you listening to what your prospects have to say? How many questions are you asking them to better understand them? How are you showing them that you care about them more than you care about selling to them?"

I hadn't been doing a very good job of listening. In fact, by my very nature, I'm one of the people I described above: full of thoughts, running a mile a minute, an impatient New York male who always has something to say and never slows down. So it took some real dedication and practice to listen to what Peggy told me about listening and heed her advice.

I began asking my prospects more questions. Listening to their problems, listening to their interests, listening to their every word became my obsession. I thought very little about how to sell them on advertising with Radio Disney and instead focused on listening attentively to everything they had to say so that I could better understand them as people and better understand their organizational needs and challenges. Once I understood them, I could do a much better job of delivering what they wanted and needed, both in the product I was selling and in the way I sold it.

Things quickly started to fall into place once I started listening. Within six months, I was the number one local salesperson in the country, and a year later Peggy awarded me the Mickey Award for sales success. All for shutting up and listening.


Netflix executives made a series of very unpopular decisions during the summer of 2011. They began with a price hike for all their services, and then they announced that Netflix services would be splitting in two: DVD rentals and streaming services would each get their own account information, billing information, passwords, and queues. To top it off, the DVD mailing service would be featured on a new site call Qwikster. Netflix customers were outraged. They took to Facebook, Twitter, and message boards, sharing their anger and dissatisfaction. Not long after the announcement was made, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings made a surprising move: instead of forging ahead with his unpopular decision, Hastings posted a short blog post on the Netflix website, stating the following: "It is clear that for many of our members two websites would make things more difficult, so we are going to keep Netflix as one place to go for streaming and DVDs. This means no change: one website, one account, one password ... in other words, no Qwikster. While the July price change was necessary, we are now done with price changes."

Hastings could have hidden himself away, buried his head in the sand, and refused to change the policy. After all, businesses becoming arrogant about their products is nothing new. All too often, businesses will take a bad idea and run with it—only to have to come back later and pick up the pieces. But Hastings decided to cut his losses rather than draw them out. He admitted that the idea was a bad one and moved forward. In short, Hastings chose to listen and to be honest. Not only was his decision refreshing, but it proved to be the best plan for his business in the long run: after losing 800,000 after announcing Qwikster, Netflix gained a net 610,000 customers in the fourth quarter of 2011 (see Figure 1.1). The lesson is simple: when you don't listen to your customers, you seriously risk losing them.



Excerpted from Likeable Business by Dave Kerpen, Theresa Braun, Valerie Pritchard. Copyright © 2013 by Dave Kerpen. Excerpted by permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Dave Kerpen is the CEO of Likeable Media, a social media and word of mouth marketing firm and author of the New York Times bestselling book Likeable Social Media. Dave is one of the leading experts on social media and Facebook marketing. Likeable was named one of the best places to work in New York City by Crain's in 2012

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