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4 ways to make any relationship last
Posted By Victoria WoW June 4th, 2014
This spring in Victoria, BC has been, by all accounts, truly lovely. Bright sunny days give over to warm starlit nights. The flowers are in bloom, and everyone seems to have a "spring" in their step. For those of us in the wedding business, this season is always especially fruitful for us. But when Mother Nature is at her abundant best, it seems that much easier to get our bridal customers "in the mood" for making their wedding decisions. Romance is definitely in the air.
Last month in the WoW Blog, we explored some ways to keep the infatuation going with our customers after the first "date". This month, we look to some wise marriage advice in order to keep the romance alive with your customers. After all, once the infatuation phase has worn off, in your relationship with a spouse or with a customer, what remains is a deeper connection that calls for intuition and commitment. To create a bond that lasts, we must learn to "read" each situation, and get to know the true nature of the person we care about. You do care about your customers, right?
Follow these simple suggestions when interacting your customers and you may find yourself developing a richer relationship, loyalty and referrals, and ultimately better sales.
1. Be aware of non-verbal communication, like body language.
*Photo by Deanna McCollum
There is an oft-quoted statistic that claims that 93% of our communication does not come from the words we use to express ourselves. While this specific percentage is passionately debated by communications and psychology experts, the consensus does seem to be that the majority of the way we communicate is indicated through our body language and tone of voice.
Think about it. "Are you OK?" he asks. "I'm FINE." she says. Depending on the tone of voice she uses, and her body language (hand on hip, arms crossed, eyes diverted, etc.), her answer can have VERY different meanings.
In a customer service scenario, it pays to pay attention to body language. A head tilted to one side can indicate your customer is interested in what you are saying, so keep going. Crossed arms and pursed lips can indicate she is skeptical or otherwise displeased, so you might want to change tactics.
>>> Here are some more interesting body language indicators.
The better you get at observing your customers, the more intuitively you will be able to determine what appeals or what they need without them having to say it out loud. Do we even need to "say" how useful this skill is in a marriage too?
2. Engage in small talk.
*Photo by Deanna McCollum
At the risk of sounding indelicate, we women can generally agree that one of the best tactics to get us "in the mood", is to engage us in a little "lead up". This is especially true as marriages move into a more mature phase. We often need to be stimulated intellectually, with a little humour, with some genuine flattery before we are ready to get down to business. Are you with me?
As customers, we also need a little attention paid to us before we - literally - get down to business. Engage your customers in small talk before you begin the sales transaction - in other words, before you begin selling her on your products or services. For example, many brides can feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of tasks involved in wedding planning. A simple "How is your wedding planning going?" can demonstrate empathy on your part (which builds trust on hers), and invites her to share with you her joys and her challenges. Not only is this cathartic for her, she may share some very useful information as to how she wants her experience with you to be.
>>>Read more about incorporating small talk into customer service.
3. Listen, listen, listen. Then offer solutions.
*Photo by Deanna McCollum
It is pretty simple. People just want to be heard. We need empathy. We need validation. We need to know that our feelings matter. There is no shortage of marriage advice for husbands whose first instinct is make suggestions as to how to fix that problem at work, or with the kids, or with the best friend. But what do we really want? We want comfort first; after we feel that we have been heard, then we may be ready for solutions.
Our customers are no different. Yes, they are coming to us to solve a specific problem. But urging them to share their ideas, their dreams, and their goals before we sell them on our solutions is another excellent way to build rapport. As mentioned, rapport leads to relationships, which lead to loyalty, which leads to more business.
So get good at asking good questions, and get good at reflecting empathy when they share their answers. Hone your skill at summarizing what you heard - this is a sure fire method to building trust. And then you can tailor your solution to what they have told you. This is some advanced sales tactics, but when you get good at this, it really works.
>>> Read more about this, and other great customer service skills.
Be delicately honest.
"Do these pants make me look fat?” OK, we get it. We have heard it all: this is a loaded question, it’s a trap, we have no business asking it in the first place if we want an honest answer... But can we agree that a good marriage is built on honesty? Not the kind of honesty that is cruel and insensitive, but the kind of honesty that indicates that you are truly observant and caring. So what if your spouse responded "Those are not my favourite pants on you. I love the way you look in these ones."? There it is. Simple, delicate honesty that boosts your confidence, and gives you a positive solution.
This tactic works brilliantly in a customer service scenario as well. People can always tell when a salesperson is blowing smoke up their a**, and they hate it. Don’t you? If your bride is weighing options or doubting a decision, be honest with her, back it up with solid reasoning, and make a suggestion. Don’t be afraid to be the expert. She will respect you more for being sincere and straightforward than if you rush her through just to make the sale. (However, if she is 100% certain about a decision, then back her up even if you don’t love it!! It is, after all, her wedding.)
So there you have it: sage marriage advice that works on the sales floor as well. Building exceptional relationships, no matter whether personal or professional, requires sensitivity and dedication. Shouldn’t happiness be the ultimate goal in every relationship?
Speaking of developing great relationships: WoW is thrilled to welcome Passion Test coach Anna Harvey to our June event. Anna will be showing us how to uncover other people's core personality traits. This incredibly useful skill has applications in both our personal relationships and in our customer service interactions. This is especially useful as this will be the first WoW event to include brides as guests. Everyone will have something insightful to learn from Anna!
>>> Learn more about the June event and RSVP NOW!