“It’s the economy, stupid.” This statement has been used many times recently. For example, elections on both sides of the border heard this.

I don’t disagree. However, I think it is more than that.

“It’s about likeability.” Now that’s more like it.

Think about it. Being likeable is more important today than at any other time in recent memory. Especially given today’s economic climate.

If you represent a company, more likely than not, you are looking at ways of lowering your expenses. You are looking for your service providers to understand the dynamics of your company and it’s place in today’s economy. One of the characteristics of being likeable is that you can empathize with people. You understand that we all have choices on who we give or take business from.

On Tuesday a real estate magazine called me. The publisher was wondering if the company I work for would be paying a bill and continuing to advertise with them. This call, however, was different. The caller was rude. He did not want to listen. He hung up the phone before I could tell him that I just finished a conversation with my boss and we had decided to advertise with them in 2009. I couldn’t get the words out of my mouth before he hung up on me.

Our decision: As long as I’m working here I won’t agree to advertise with his paper. Why? Because I don’t want to give money to someone who is not likeable. I’d rather save my company $1700 a month and figure out more innovative ways to market the company.

So, what’s the big take-away? Understand that we are under the microscope more now than ever before. Be likeable and you’ll generate more business. Be likeable and you’ll retain customers. Be likeable and you’ll have more freinds. Be likeable.

Want more on this “concept” of likeability? Check out Tim Sander’s best selling book, The Likeability Factor.