Authentic Service Leads to New Clients - A Simple 2-Step Plan

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Last week I was out for lunch with a friend in a local coastal town. We had decided to meet half-way between our homes and we didn't have much idea of where to eat so we ended up checking out the typical tourist restaurants in the port area.

It's not so easy these days for me to go out and eat since I am following a pretty strict diet - no wheat and no dairy - add to the mix that I am vegetarian anyway and you can then appreciate the need for scanning the menus before making a choice! And in Spain, they just do not get €mindful€ eating, so it can be a pretty challenging experience at the best of times for me.

Anyway €¦€¦€¦. my friend and I decided on a restaurant where I could order a salad that sounded OK as long as I left half of it, but quite honestly that is the norm for me, so we sat down and ordered the drinks.

When the waiter returned for our food order, I requested the chicken salad without the chicken because it was the best option available. The waiter asked me was I sure? In fact we ran through all the salads on the menu and I explained why each of the others was not an option for me, and then he turned to me and said, €Well let's just get you exactly what you want.€

What would you like?

This was a first! I can't remember being in a restaurant in Spain and being asked to list exactly what I would actually like on my salad. I was just so pleasantly surprised and told the waiter so in no uncertain terms. I let him know just how appreciative I was of him taking the time to serve us and listen to what I wanted.

And it didn't end there. He came back to me and apologized profusely that they didn't have the sweetcorn I had asked for and wanted to substitute it with anything else I could think of that they had! Unbelievable!

Now this may be sounding like no big deal to you. And you may be wondering why am I telling you about my lunch out in Calpe?

Two simple steps to creating and retaining ideal clients

Well, for two good reasons. The first is the willingness to listen to the client. And the second is to serve in the best way possible. It's not rocket science - it's simple common sense. And yet so much business is lost because one of these steps is not being followed. I see it with my own eyes time and time again.

Step 1 is the most common pitfall - not listening. Listening is a skill that is so often overlooked. If you are listening to your potential clients, you are offering them a service that is so very, very rare these days.

When I speak about listening, I mean really truly listening - listening from the heart even - listening with nothing on your mind - listening for what is really going on for your potential client, not jumping to conclusions, or entering a conversation with what you think they need, that is so often where people drop the ball. They go into a conversation with their ideas of what is needed already - I have experienced this no end of times - and I know I am not being heard.

It happens in the best of relationships - teenagers are probably one of the most unheard group on the planet. Their biggest complaint is that no one listens to them. And it happens in intimate relationships all the time - one partner is not listening to another because they think they know what is going to be said because they have heard it so many times.

And this can be just the same in a conversation with a potential client. Your target market are probably struggling with very similar type issues and so it's really easy to fall into the trap of thinking we know what the answer is already and not really give them the space to be truly heard.

If a potential client, and a present client for that matter, and let's face it, any human being does not feel witnessed or heard, they are not going to be in a good feeling space. And if that's the case they are far less likely to be trusting of you.

Make it easy on yourself and honour another person - listen to your potential client - give them a non-judgmental space to be heard and see what happens. A well known phrase comes to mind €people don't remember you for what you wear or say, they remember you for the way they feel around you€.

And step 2 - well this is the easier piece if you have listened well. Serve them. Give them what they have said they need and/or want. And if it's impossible to do, then let them know that, be honest and say you can't do that and offer them something else or refer them on to someone else.

An extremely simple and yet effective 2-step plan

Step 1 - ask them what they want and listen.

Step 2 - give them what they want or refer them on.

Simple and yet effective.
Simple and yet so under-rated.

So now, be honest. Are you following this 2-step plan - are you listening? Are you serving?
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