In looking for the topic for the first instalment I wanted something that was high up on the list of what is important. That is not to suggest that the following topics in the coming weeks are not important. However this is at the top because it is probably the single most important attribute that will make or break your business and probably all other areas in your life.
Everyone knows that person that is always in a great mood, laughing a lot having fun at whatever they do, not letting life’s challenges, obstacles or even tragedies keep them down or at least not for too long. Those people are infectious you look forward to being with them and time seems to go by very quickly when they are around, they seldom if ever complain, they have this uncanny ability at finding the positive in any situation. They also seem to have good things happen to them, lucky some times maybe all the time…you know who that person is.
Where they born that way? Possibly. Where they raised in a certain way? Again possibly yes. Those are definitely advantages that you can not dismiss in terms of how they seem to have cultivated the attitude that they posses. Or is it something that we all innately have and it is the process of growing up that either nourishes that feeling and re-enforces that mindset or crushes it through repeated negative thinking and interpreting everything that happens to us that is not in our favour as a “aha these things always happen to me…….” . It is often repeated that you control 90% of what happens to you and the other 10% you can control how you let it affect you. While the percentages may certainly be debatable the principle is not.
As adult business owners we can not blame this, that or the other anymore for our mindset & attitude. It is solely up to us to cultivate that joy, happiness, enthusiasm, Joie De Vivre that makes our customers want to do business with us.
One of the first steps towards generating this kind of happiness/enthusiasm is to simply have gratitude. This is something that we are in short supply in Western developed countries due to our affluenza (a pervasive disease caused by not having to struggle enough and thus resulting in a sense of entitlement). How about gratitude for the simple things that we don’t even think twice about, food, shelter, clothing, friends & family, opportunities, education…things that basically put us in the top 1% standard of living in the world. This of course is dwarfed by the 1 out of 400 Trillion odds of you being here.
Now when I say happiness or joy I am referring to the true genuine state of being not that fake hyper-excitement that is annoying and everyone can see through. I am talking about the kind of energy when a close friend asks “how are you” and you know that they care for you. When was the last time you took that kind of a sincere interest in your customers well-being? When was the last time you got so lost in a conversation with with someone and realised they were no longer a customer but a friend. Give them enough care and consideration and they will become your friends.
When we put our customers needs, wants and wishes first and approach them with a mindset of how can I be of service to you with out any expectation of reward, it completely removes the pressure of making a transaction and elevates the interaction to friendship. I am aware that this is not the go to way of thinking for a lot of business owners, however thankfully you are not one of them.
When was the last time you let someone bud in, in traffic by motioning them with your hand and they waved back. How amazing was that? In a split second you made someone feel happy despite their shitty morning and renewed their faith in humanity. That feeling made you also very happy and was infinitely more valuable than the extra 6 seconds you would have gained, had you gunned the accelerator.
Happiness & joy only exist in the present, it is not the one big singular thing or goal that we are working towards that once achieved will bring us the nirvana we are all looking for. It is in the tiniest of fragments of conversations, it is the selfless acts of consideration however small they may be that affect the recipient and the provider in a profound way.
Have you ever noticed the people that truly have nothing are the first to offer and not out of a sense of duty or obligation but sheer willingness to help another human being. They do so with a sort of giddy kind of joy.
By now most people on the planet have heard of the book “The Secret” it talks about the laws of attraction…and how we attract things into our lives based on the kind of energy we put into things, attitude…Is it really a secret if you are positive and have a joyous disposition towards life that you would attract positive things? No. It makes all the sense in the world!
As business owners our success is greatly affected by our attitude. It permeates our organisations, it affects how our employees interact with customers even if their Job function is not sales. If they come into contact with your customer they are your sale people, they are an extension of you. Whether your business flourishes or not is directly related to how you maintain those relationships. You are in the people business.
At this point I hope that you get the gist of this. Now is where the important part comes in.
The Action Challenge is to: Call 3 customers of yours in the next 5 days that you have not spoken to in the last few months and have a conversation with them about what they have been up to, travel, work, family, hobbies, interests, sports, wish them a happy new year….You can talk about anything with them that is not related to your business offerings. If they insist on asking about what you have that is new… Just say, “well I actually called to just see how you are” and is it ok to email them later about products/services. You can even share this page with them if you like. The purpose of this exercise is to have a genuine interest in the people you serve and learn about who they are. Everybody has an interesting story, you will be amazed. So just be a good listener.