Each year, many of us become frantic while searching for those last-minute gifts in order to put the final checks next to client names on our company shopping lists. Sure, gift cards and iPods are probably safe bets, but in a challenging economy where our clients are our biggest assets, don't we want more than just a "safe bet"? The first step in being able to find that perfect gift for your valuable customers is to discover and understand the needs and wants of each of our individual clients.
Here's the biggest question to ask yourself this holiday season: Do I have a "Diamond" or a "Cubic Zirconia" relationship with each of my clients? The difference between them is simple - in Diamond relationships, you are able to confidently answer the following seven must-knows about individual clients (and in Cubic Ziconia relationships you can't):
D - Disposition Does he or she respond favorably to humor? What is his or her preferred method of communication - in-person, telephone, e-mail, text, etc? You must first establish your clients' baseline behavior. I - Interests What does he or she enjoy doing outside of work? This is a powerful way of connecting to and building rapport with the client. People like people like themselves! A - Accomplishments What is his or her biggest accomplishment in the past 12 months? Has he or she recently received any awards or made any big sales? M - Mission What is his or her company's mission? O - Obstacles What are the three biggest challenges his or her company faces currently? What are they doing to overcome these obstacles? And how are their current solutions working for them? N - Needs What does he or she want or need from you or your company? Focus on the client's success and yours will follow. D - Domestic life What is the name of his or her significant other? How many, if any, children does he or she have?
II. THE FAST LANE TO GETTING WHAT YOU WANT
Not knowing particulars about a client can lead to missed opportunities, loss of a sale, and wasting both time and money. Knowing that a client has recently become a grandfather, has a mother who is currently fighting breast cancer, is a five-time martial arts champion, has five dogs, fourteen cats, and a ferret, or absolutely does not condone drinking alcohol can do wonders for your ability to build and maintain rapport. Everyone wants to be understood, loved, and adored. We all want to be treated like a diamond... unique and precious.
Ready to learn how to amp up your brain and your body language awareness to gain and to create raving fan customers who will keep coming back for more (and who will give the word-of-mouth marketing that your business needs to succeed)? I know you are!
As a body language expert, who works with companies such as AOL, Wyndham Vacation Ownership, Lockheed Martin, Hard Rock, and Cosmopolitan Magazine to increase their sales and decrease their expenses (i.e. attrition rate and rescission, etc.), I know how crucial it is to be able to observe and correctly interpret non-verbal communication. To help you build rapport with your clients and the people in your life, so you can ultimately get what you want in 2010, we'll travel to two places this holiday season:
1. THE BIG APPLE: First, we'll make a pit-stop in the Big Apple to learn how we can tune-up our visual information channel from the boys in blue -- the New York City Police Department
2. ACROSS THE POND: Then we'll take a test drive and travel across the pond to watch a quirky psychologist show us his color-card changing trick
THE BIG APPLE: The New York Police Department realized the importance of visual observation skills and, for the past five years, has been teaming up with the Frick Museum of Art to spice up their training programs with a unique and effective lesson called "The Art of Observation."
The Art of Observation (which began as a program for medical students to hone visual acuity, perception skills, and ultimately the quality of care for their patients) asks participants (NYPD Detectives) to study a painting for an extended period of time, taking in all visual stimuli with the idea that no observation is too small. Training facilitators then lead discussions, sharpening communication skills by allowing the Detectives to voice his or her understanding of the masterpieces.
The result: An increase in spotting vital subtle clues hidden within actual crime scene photos, which the detectives did not notice during their first look at the pics.
Perhaps the same could be true with the people in our lives? Maybe if we pull ourselves out of self-talk mode, out of our own internal dialogue, and we choose to 100% completely focus on the person in front of us, maybe we will see things we've never seen before. Have you ever pre-judged your clients, or have you ever made up stories about why you are not other people's priority, or why they are bitchy, or cut-throat, if so, then I have a challenge for you: Spend 30-minutes looking at a piece of art this holiday season (yes, 30-minutes), then call or reach out to your clients with the intent of finding out all the answers to the D-I-A-M-O-N-D formula above. You can do it!
III: THE TEST DRIVE
TEST DRIVE YOUR VISUAL OBSERVATION SKILLS - ACROSS THE POND: Across the pond is a man who always manages to impress me. His experiments put my visual observation skills to the test time and time again. I've even used his experiments on ATF special agents, investigators, and on United States Attorneys to sharpen their ability to see the unseen. His name is Professor Richard Wiseman and for the past fifteen years he has been based at the University of Hertfordshire in the UK and his challenges can help you turn your Cubic Zirconia relationships into DIAMONDS!
Here is the first test I came across several years ago while still working as an investigator with ATF. Take the test and see if it's possible that you are missing valuable information when interacting and doing business with your clients (before it's too late).
TEST DRIVE YOUR VISUAL OBSERVATION SKILLS - IN THE WASHINGTON, DC AREA: Sign up for our 5-day body language certification course at the Body Language Institute by calling 1-888-216-9915 (or visit www.bodylanguageinstitute.com). *
* SPECIAL HOLIDAY OFFER: The first 10 people to call and mention this blog will receive 50% off your admission. Call 1-888-216-9915 to save your seat today.
Janine Driver is a popular media guest, sales trainer, retired Federal Law Enforcement Officer, and president of the Body Language Institute.