Over my last two articles, I have discussed what I see as disturbing trends in…
Are You Meeting Your Customers on Their Level?
One of the things I learned very early on as a parent, was that if I wanted to really engage my kids, I needed to get down on their level.
I have good kids, and sure they listen to me most of the time. But no matter the context, be it for fun and imaginary play or for discipline, whenever I came at them from a perceived physical and/or psychological place of extreme authority, it just wasn’t effective.
Sitting in a meeting with a business consultant recently, it occurred to me that as adults and business owners, we’re not all that different from my kids. At least not in terms of communication and respect.
I was the client. I had a few business-related things I needed to talk through with an expert. We’ve had an intensely busy year with me taking on a couple of new roles. As a family we took on another business and feeling a bit frazzled and jumbled up, I was seeking someone who could help me pull it all out of my head.
The meeting started well. We were sitting across the table from each other. I started talking, the consultant listened and took notes until the very second that I finished talking; then the consultant was up and pacing.
Back to the future.
Suddenly, I was a kid again, being looked down upon literally and figuratively, as the consultant stalked back and forth in front of me telling me what I was doing wrong and all the things I didn’t know.
Because of all those things I didn’t know, I couldn’t possibly run my business the way I planned it out in my head, so everything I’d been talking about was off the table. Before my eyes, a new plan was being devised, made up of a bunch of things that had never entered my realm of want or possibility.
I was being told what I needed to do and how I needed to do it and it didn’t take long before I was completely disengaged, and one hundred percent switched off to new ideas.
Talking yourself out of business.
The funny thing is that as I’m reflecting on that encounter and writing this article, I’m discovering some of those things were actually really good ideas. It’s possible I may even introduce some of them into my business in the future.
It was the delivery that was off. No one likes to feel small, or stupid, or like they don’t have the answers. Instead of being inspired sitting in front of that consultant, in that moment, all I could focus on was how inferior I was.
So how are you communicating?
Are you meeting your clients on their level, seeking to understand where they are coming from? Or are you towering over them and telling them everything they don’t know.
It doesn’t really matter what your business is, or what industry you’re in if someone has engaged your product or service, it’s because you are the missing piece. They know it already, so stop reminding them.
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