Interesting tidbit…when I was in college, I really wanted to become a nurse. I love taking care of people, so what better profession, right?
Unfortunately, I quickly learned that I faint at the sight of blood…so that was a no-go.
Not to be deterred from my mission of helping people, I changed my major to Psychology because I decided I wanted be a grief counselor. After a couple of case studies and group presentations, one of my insightful psychology professors gently pointed out to me that I would actually need to refrain from sobbing uncontrollably every time I heard a sad story in order to be able to help my clients…so again, no-go.
Many twists and turns led me to becoming a marketing guru and entrepreneur. I learned early on to channel my love for helping people into my business ventures. I think my love for my clients has been one of the most important reasons that I’ve been able to launch profitable businesses and help countless other businesses do the same.
As a retailer, I know you like people. I want to help you turn that like into love so you can start to think differently about your store and your strategy.
The first step in this truly painless process of changing the way you think starts with changing the way you see your business. You are no longer a retail store. You are now a trusted adviser for your clients.
If you only take one thing away from this post, make it this: stop referring to those you serve as your customers, and start referring to them as your clients.
Let’s take a look at the definitions of these two terms:
Customer – a person or organization that buys goods or services from a store or business.
Client – one that is under the care or protection of another, served by utilizing services provided by another
You are an adviser, expert and authority to your clients. Referring to your clients as such, indicates a higher level of bonding, care and respect. Your business exists to see the improvement and betterment of your clients’ lives.
And as their trusted adviser, you will never again allow one of your clients to purchase less than they should, in less quality than they should, less frequently than they should. Because in allowing them to purchase less would breach your fiduciary responsibility as their trusted adviser.
Imagine for a moment that you’re in the business of selling water. If a client walks into your store, parched and dehydrated, and asks to buy a half a glass of water and you sell him a half a glass of water without expressing to him the importance of getting the appropriate amount of water each day, you will negatively impact him physically, emotionally and mentally. A dehydrated body can’t operate optimally, and as a result, your customer will be grouchy at home with his family and won’t be able to think clearly enough to make good decisions at home or at work. Not informing your customer about the importance of consuming more of your water breaches your moral obligation to your client.
Now if the same man comes to your store every other day and purchases eight glasses of water, it’s your responsibility to educate him about the importance of consuming eight glasses of water every day….not just every other day.
You may not be selling water, but the product or service you provide is designed to make your clients’ lives better, safer and more enjoyable. You must care about them enough to start informing them about what, when and how much to purchase.
Falling in love with your staff is a crucial step in revolutionizing the way your business operates.
You have to have a heart for your employees. You must want what is best for them: the most growth, the happiest family, the greatest outcome.
It’s not rocket science. When employees are financially and emotionally stable, they can perform better. They will offer better customer service, be more focused and productive. They will create a healthy, peaceful work environment.
Happy employees = successful businesses.
Your vendors are the source of the products and services you provide to your clients. You want your vendors to see you as their greatest advocate.
Good relationships with your vendors encourage them to come up with solutions and new productson your behalf, so you can make your business better for your clients.
At the end of the day, you can offer great service, but it’s up to your vendors to supply you with the products and resources you need to provide a quality experience for your clients.
When I’m meeting with potential clients, one of my first – and most obvious – questions is, “So tell me about your business.” Understandably, the client gushes about their company and the great products and services they offer.
It’s important to love your business and love your products. But it’s even more important to love the clients, employees and vendors that make it possible for your business to exist – and grow.