What’s wonderful about writing, blogging, and/or journaling, is that it forces you, amongst other things, to consider clear answers for yourself — After working on the topic of competitive advantages (http://mattcparker.com/2015/08/what-is-a-competitive-advantage/), I had to think, well, what is my true competitive advantage? What can I really show a customer that other people can’t/don’t attempt to offer? Why should they really use me?
The answer is a function of what I look for in people I do business with, and, I think, what a lot of people look for:
SOMEONE WHO LISTENS
Nothing turns me off more, when I am shopping for a service, than someone who is not focused on truly listening to me with the intent of understanding me. They might be giving me lip service. Maybe they interrupt our conversation to use their phone. Maybe I can hear them typing emails while they chat with me on the phone. All of these immediately raise my guard to hiring someone.
HOW DO I SHOW PEOPLE I CARE, TRULY CARE, through listening?
- I never use or answer my phone during meetings.
- I ask multiple clarifying questions (to the customer – “Can you please explain what you mean by ‘quick sale?’ How ‘quick’ is ‘quick’ to you?”)
- I show respect for their concerns, no matter how “weird” their concerns are.
The end result, from these and other factors, is that people feel, and truly are, cared about. This is simply what I look for in my service providers! Does this person listen to me, understand what I am saying, and incorporate it into what they are trying to sell me?
What’s amazing about listening is that it is a free competitive advantage. It does not require paid advertisements, comprehensive understanding of complicated technology, or inclusion in seemingly elite social groups. Yes, it’s important to be in tune with the reality of how your marketplace works. But, this is less important to the customer than hiring someone that understands their distinct emotions and needs.