My buddy Vicki Austin has been writing about being fully present and the power of listening when your customers answer your qualifying questions. Nowhere is this more challenging than at a trade show, when hundreds of people are trooping past your booth, and you only have a few minutes to:
- find out their needs
- determine if your product or service is a match
- explain the benefits of your product or service
- get contact information from them
In fact, most of the time, we have to go through those four steps in fewer than two minutes. Two minutes. And then we go through them again. And again. And again and again, dozens of times in one afternoon. How to you stay engaged? How do you really listen when your feet are killing you, you've only had some bad coffee since 9:00 a.m., you seem to be having the same conversation over and over and badges and faces have become a blur?
This week, I've had the pleasure of working with an exceptional team of people. The company is growing, and everyone there seems to be young, energetic, and focused on the goal of helping the clients. They seem to combat the trade show blahs by (crazy idea) actually caring about their potential customers and by having a genuine desire to help and a sincere belief in their product and company. Even in two-minute conversations, it's clear that they are focusing on long-term relationships, not the immediate sale.
In fact, the overall attitude after scanning a lead seems to be "I can't wait to get home and call that guy again!" Viewing customers as people you want to talk to instead of as a lead to be categorized and (let's face it) lost in the post-trade show shuffle is what makes the difference. After all, every one of those "leads" is a potential customer that you will one day send holiday cards to, call for a birthday and check up on after her foot surgery.
So, the power of full engagement? Hmm. Well, truly, I don't have my typical bulleted list here. I don't really think that I have any snappy tips, either! It does seem very simple, doesn't it? Care. Just care. If the idea of helping your customers doesn't excite you, then you're probably in the wrong line of business and should do yourself a favor and go find something that you are excited about.
Aching feet and grumbling stomachs aside, these are things that we do to help our customers and build relationships. We listen. We pay attention. We care. We find solutions, not just because it's our job but because we genuinely want to help. That's how we become fully present and engaged.