You Need More Than Smarts and Talent to Succeed in Business

There’s a nasty myth lurking among the talented and creative people in the world. The people who believe it are losing clients, missing out on opportunities, and earning less money.


The myth is this: “You don’t have to be nice or likeable as long as you do amazing work.”


It’s just not true.


What’s true is that it doesn’t matter how good you are if your personality sucks. And there’s no substitute for building great relationships in business. This can’t be overstated. There are some super talented, genius types in the world who seem to have a steady flow of gigs and clients no matter what. But how much money are they missing out on by being obnoxious, rude, condescending, or cold?


Actress Cameron Diaz is a textbook case of why it pays to be fun to be around. While talented, she certainly is not the most talented actress in Hollywood. So why has she worked steadily since 1992? She’s a blast to be around. Producers, directors, and co-stars all love being around her. She’s type of person they’d want to hang out with offset, so naturally, if given the chance, they want to work with over and over again.


Relationships are the currency of a thriving business. Here are 3 super simple tips to help you fully maximize your talent:


1. Smile.

I know it seems basic, but ask yourself, how often do you smile at your clients/customers? Do you smile when you’re on the phone with them? Do you smile when you greet them? Even if you’re in a serious industry or you’re not a smiley person, a warm smile can go a long way to enhancing your business relationships.


2. Remember who’s paying who.

Even if you feel a client is being unreasonable, it’s important to never lose sight of the fact that they’re paying you. Not only are they paying you, they represent referral dollars and testimonials. If you find that a client is unbearable to work with and you can’t be pleasant with them, see #3.


3. Fire bad clients.

Yes, you read that correctly. Fire bad clients. The bad clients in your business are almost always more trouble than they are worth. They ask for more than they pay for, they make a mountain out of every molehill, and they cause strife for you and your team. The firing doesn’t have to be done with ill will; it’s done from a place of power. You release that client to work with a firm that can or will meet all of their demands while you free yourself up to better serve your great clients. After all, it’s easier to be nice and cheerful when you’re working with clients you love.


Remember: Talent can’t take you everywhere. Relationships can.