Training staff to do Step 1, Step 2, and Step 3, makes sense. Training staff to really CARE is a challenge. Yet, the more we show our prospects we care, the more they will “feel” it and want to work with us. And by the same token, the more we show our clients we care, the more they will “feel” it and want their friends to work with us.
If you have had this emotional experience with a vendor, a retailer or a service provider, it is very likely you can remember it like it was yesterday. Perhaps it was the way a receptionist empathized with you when you were checking in your sick child at the pediatrician, and you were worried to death. It could have been the pain you felt when you saw the damage a water leak caused in your home, and the insurance adjuster took the time to calm your fears.
Whatever it was, it is likely that person was given two things. One, the training to know how to help you feel better as he or she shared that it was going to get better, and that was the main reason he or she was there. Two, empowerment to do what it took to make you feel better at that moment whether it was a cup of Starbucks, a hug or an ice cream cone.
Being sincere in your interactions is more of a culture than a skill. When the whole team (beginning with leadership) embraces the notion of caring that every lead, every prospect, every client is treated with respect and receives a uniform experience, an atmosphere of sincerity is established. What’s more, it is a climate that is simple to maintain because everyone is behaving congruently with the personality of the organization.
How to be sure your business gets and maintains this? These fundamental steps will help your firm become one that attracts, keeps and maintains a culture of caring; which in turn, attracts, keeps and maintains the right staff and the right clients.
- Start at the top. You, yes YOU… Do you show up each day paying attention to your team? Do you check in with your lieutenants and spend a few moments with each weekly, or even daily? Remember, your people will do what you do, less about 10 percent. When you demonstrate to your top people that YOU care, for example, ask about their day, their family and their workload. They will emulate this with their subordinates, and so on.
- Empower your staff to “make their day.” Whether it is spending time in the waiting room with a waiting family’s child, grabbing a bag of snacks from the vending machine for a hungry person missing lunch for a consultation or offering a shoulder to a prospect who is struggling to walk, every little gesture speaks volumes about sincerity in your ranks.
- Break in the choreography. We have a tight procedure in place for each prospect to experience purposeful steps that help us to convert. Flexibility and the wisdom to know when that flexibility should be applied are key here. When a situation occurs that obviously requires a little side-stepping in the schedule or the procedure, model the behavior you want your staff to understand and repeat. Yes, your choreography is always the priority, yet training staff to bend or improvise when it makes common sense to do so is powerful.
- Being human and unafraid to show it. Not every person that darkens the door of your firm is your best client. Does that mean they receive lesser respect when this is apparent? NO. When someone is obviously not your “ideal client” or even one that qualifies for your services, here is a chance to really help someone. Prepare your staff to refer folks to the help they really need. Become a firm that gets the job done for someone, even if you are not the business to supply the work.
What goes around comes around. There are businesses that do not waste time on those they cannot serve or those who will not move the business plan marble forward. And this is not to suggest that you should allow these moments of humanity to clog your sales pipeline. Instead it is a way to serve with a sincere heart and although it is not performed with the thought of reciprocation, reciprocation will surely come. As your business becomes the business to which people are turning, these acts of kindness and the culture of sincerity will produce dividends for you over and over again.