Today was a self-care (half) day, as well as a reminder to Be Present.
I'm having a facial, reveling in the sheer pleasure of it all; as one does in a dimly lit room, tucked under a soft blanket. It occurred to me that there's a simple thing, ONE THING, that many brands miss. Being present.
When I was a kid,
growing up in our family businesses (roller skating rinks and law offices), I was taught to look people in the eyes, and listen. Intently listen.
Greeting customers by name doesn't hurt either, once you get to know them. In fact, you know that a person's name is music to their ears, right? I wrote a post about that here.
These are key business principles I was indoctrinated with, starting at the age of nine, that I live by today.
People (clients, customers, partners) don't need to know how important you are, they need to know how important they are to you. Click To Tweet If you have already become a client of mine, I hope you'll bear out (and if not, I'd like to know about it) that when I work with someone, I don't mention my "other" clients. I carve out time and that time is exclusively theirs. When you are my client, my commitment is that you 'feel' like you are my ONLY client. You deserve, and you have my full attention. I remove all distractions, excuses, circumstances…anything that would deter me from making you feel like you are my "one and only".
Being present is not difficult.
It takes effort, determination, genuine caring, and the ability to compartmentalize. I became very accomplished at this during the 6.5 years my mom had cancer. I practiced this standard of business no matter what. In fact, when I worked at a Silicon Valley startup in 2011, our first "cancer year", I didn't mention to my bosses that my mom had gotten cancer. Why?
One reason was because I didn't want them to have a perception that I would be distracted from my work. And it worked well. I did confide in a couple of my 'higher ups' on my Marketing team, some basic details. And still, I did not miss a beat. They had my full attention and also, by the way, got great results from me, during that time. I'm proud of my ability to compartmentalize. It matters to me that people feel my presence, in each moment. And it makes for MUCH better outcomes, not only relationally, but also fiscally, in terms of my contributions to the growth of the business.
Enough about MY business practices.
I mention all that to illustrate my point that it's possible, like any skill that we can train ourselves to do, to be present in each and every situation. It's not always achievable. We all mess up from time-to-time. It's a worthy pursuit nonetheless.
The same can be said for building digital relationships, online in the social media realm, for example.
In this post by my wise friend, genius-marketing expert, Bryan Kramer, he cites ways to generate more "human" brands. One way is to "Interact With Customers". He says: "Play around on channels like Instagram and chat with customers and followers who mention and engage with your brand. Ask questions and have fun with trending topics and seasons trends. Reach out instead of waiting for customers to make the first move. Use social listening to offer customer support and intervene too."
I can't tell you how thrilled I am when I shout out (online, using social media as a tool) a business or brand (personal or otherwise) and they actually respond! A quick "thank you", "how are you?", "glad you enjoyed", or even a "hello" once in a while, goes a long way toward forging human-to-human relationships that build over time, forging loyalty and trust. Moral of the story: Social listening is key, when you are a social business who wants to grow. Click To Tweet
As I discussed in a previous post, when on Twitter, instead of that "LIKE" button, why not take a few extra seconds to Reply or Retweet with a word or two? It's a small thing that can yield different results in terms of online engagement, because, on Twitter, a LIKE is not engagement, in my book.
Here's another example of a professional who is 100% present for their customers.
"JennyQ" knows how to be present, making you feel like you are the only one "in the room". She's attentive, smart, and her style is completely approachable. Plus, she's a really great coach. Why? She listens and responds. She follows through. These characteristics make ALL the difference in instilling trust and loyalty, the coin of the realm for growing brands today. And did I mention JennyQ is a live streaming expert?
(if you know me well, you know I don't use the term "expert" lightly)
There are many ways to let people know that you genuinely care.
In my sales-training days, my mentor used to say: "people don't care how much you know, as long as they know how much you care". Information sharing is easy. The delivery and the way we listen take much more effort and time.
How do you show up with and for your customers?
What am I missing here?
I'd love to know your thoughts. Thank you for reading this far.