Copyright 2005 Dr. Michael Bisconti
Business is first and foremost about people. The goal of business is to make a living through meeting the needs of people. Well, what needs do we need to meet? People have many needs. Normally, we focus first on the service or product we are trying to sell when we think of meeting the needs of people. This is a mistake. Our initial focus should be on the person. We should seek to discover and then either meet or help to meet their greatest need.
A client calls you on the phone and asks you what your rates are. You notice that they sound depressed. Your first concern should be to lift their spirits, not to quote them your rates. You need to be more concerned about the client’s state of mind than about their need for information. In this situation, you should communicate to the client your awareness of their state of mind. If you have rapport with the client, you can say, “Having a bad day?” If this is a new client and you only have a glimmer of rapport, you should say, “Forgive me for asking but it sounds like you are having a bad day?” Note that this is not the time for jokes and frivolity. Humor at a time when the client’s morale is low will drive them away and alienate them.
There is something more fundamental than merely the psychology of people to be thinking about here. Yes, you can just learn the psychology and practice this psychology and be successful in your dealings with clients. However, your success, even if significant, will be limited. There is something more important than psychology and that is…personal attitude. You need to possess a real attitude of readiness to meet the needs of the client. You must really care about the client. If you put psychology before your heartfelt attitude, chances are that you will, sooner or later, let your poor attitude peek through your façade of caring about the client. The client will notice this AND THE CLIENT WILL NOT FORGET.
The development of a caring attitude is not something that can be learned from a book or a night class at a junior college. A caring attitude requires the intervention of something greater than ourselves.