Five secrets from a dance instructor that will sweep your customers off their feet.


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Our last post began with a story about Tim who trains surgeons to use new medical devices. He shared five keys to training surgeons; each based on the skills of training couples the art of ballroom dancing, his former career.

What could Tim, a dance instructor, know that applies to training a surgeon?

1. Tailor your approach to the personality of the consumer. Easy going people do well with instruction; so do sanguine personalities, who want to be liked and want the attention of doing it well. Meet their ego needs on the dance floor and they will step gracefully!

2. Resistance may have little to do with you or what you are teaching; it’s about how they struggle to learn something new. Some people need the details of what and why for each move, and if they don’t like the answer, they won’t do it. Some, highly accomplished in other parts of their life, are not be used to taking instruction any more. You have to make it a suggestion, not a command. If it’s hard for them to be bad at something, they resist the learner’s mindset. Adapt how you teach so they can dance with an open mind.

3. Discover what matters most. Private lessons aren’t cheap. People don’t spend a lot on dance lessons unless there is something missing in their life. They don’t tell you what’s missing as the first reason; more likely it will be the 2nd or 3rd reason the offer. You have to probe, listen and discover what really motivates them. If it is a couple, focus on the higher opportunity: this may be the one time of the week when they are holding each other closely and working together toward common goals they can see and feel. Meeting that need is what really keeps them coming back and wanting to learn more.

4. Some technical skills have a strong social component to achieve effective performance. Ballroom dancing is an uncomfortable skill to learn for many men; it’s a social skill, not just an athletic pursuit. You have to teach to both types of skills, even if your customer is only thinking about one-half of the total skill set.

5. Don’t dilute your feedback. If the customer is direct, they want direct feedback. A confident person learning a new skill, but doing it poorly, expects specific feedback. Focus on what they need to do to be successful, one step at a time. No one wants a dance instructor who is too nice to tell you that you have two left feet.

Look back at our last post. You can see how surgeons respond to each of these five practices. Tim developed a rhythm for teaching that works across settings, just as he once developed a rhythm for dancing.

In world where so many will change jobs and careers several times, it become increasingly important to discover how you can effectively apply the skills of one career to the next.

It takes a skilled instructor to convey the rhythm to dance students, to choreograph technical skills so they flow smoothly, to pace one person’s own actions with those of another. Tailoring instruction to the uniqueness to each student enables them to achieve a sense of accomplishment and mastery.

Wait; was that about learning ballroom dancing or surgery?

Your past experience, no matter how different from what you are doing today, holds some of the keys to your success today and tomorrow. You just need to figure out which steps to follow!

How have you used the skills and insights of a former career to connect with and delight your current customers?

BestCustomerConnection, by Marc Sokol

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Marc Sokol
A psychologist with an eye for the ways organizational dynamics make it possible or impossible to delight customers, I see the world from the eyes of customers, employees and leaders who strive to transform customer experience.


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