You’ve been there before.
The phone rings — breaking you out of your concentration. You’ve been focused on a complex task. Trying to solve a problem that has stumped you for hours.
As the phone rings a second time, your hand moves from your mouse to the edge of the phone, ready to pick up the handset. Your eyes glance at the name showing on the screen.
You pause for a second.
As the phone rings a third time, you realize that you have just a second to make a decision. Do you take the call or do you get back to solving the hard problem that you have been working on all morning?
You just happen to be on the other side of the call. You’re the one doing the interrupting. Jolting executives out of their concentration as they try to solve serious problems that have them confused and frustrated.
Your call only adds to that confusion.
But it also adds some clarity.
Your client only has a few seconds to make a gut-level decision about your value to them. That’s it. There’s no time for complex arguments or for them to scan your latest white paper.
In a few seconds, every thing that you have ever done for them pops to the forefront of their decision-making ability.
It’s raw and gritty. It might make you uncomfortable. But it’s the most honest of business relationships. There is a decision — do they take your call or do they shrug you off?
They know the truth.
Do you provide value to them or do they know that you’re calling to “just check in on them” — probably peddling another technology solution that’s close to the one they already bought from you last year. Sure you might be calling to ask them to hang out with you for a beer or to grab a quick lunch, but they know that that’s all part of your plan to extract more money out of them. To close more deals.
And in a second or two it’s all becomes clear. You can’t fake it. You have to live it. The ringing phone demands a solution.
Which brings us to the point of this discussion.
You can’t provide value when you need to get results.
By then, it is too late.
The opportunity to create lasting memories is over. You have to start caring right now — even when it seems like you don’t really need to care.
The truth is, you’ve never needed to care any more than you do right now. Right now is all you have. There is no tomorrow unless you start caring today.
- There are no phone calls.
- There are no e-mail exchanges.
- There is no extra revenue.
It doesn’t work.
Nothing works until you start loving people.
Until you love the people that you want to do business with.
If there’s one thing that we’ve all learned in the last half decade of economic decline around the world, it is that people are frail and hurting beings. We’ve learned that we’re a little more fallible than we thought we were before. We’ve realized that destruction and utter chaos is a possibility. Sometimes an inevitability.
Which is why the conversation needs to change from value and solutions and service to something much more powerful. To something much more potent.
Discussions with your clients needs to be about the gritty, personal side of life. You don’t need to be corny but you do need to be caring. This isn’t about passive aggression or manipulation; it’s about a heart-felt interpretation of life and the people doing business in that life.
To grow you have to love people.
Economic patterns come and go. Businesses will fall and they grow.
Most of that will never be in your control, ever — no more than you can cause the sun to shine or the rain to fall.
You are helpless when it comes to cosmic change. But you can change your own attitude about those you do business with. You can give a hand up instead of looking for a handout. You can be genuine instead of going for the jugular. You can love and care and cry instead of twisting and cajoling and pressuring.
The decision is yours.
As the phone rings, your business intentions stand naked before the judgments of your customer. No excuses. No explanations. Only the value you’ve created stands to persuade your client to pick up the phone and hear you out.
When you give as a strategy. When you give with intention. When you give more than people deserve to get, you create a relationship that drives your client to engage with you. They’re still busy, still frustrated, but willing to hear you out. Willing to give you a chance.
Because you’ve given them much more already.