I am to be married soon. The wedding is next Saturday, August 2nd, 2014, on our 6th year anniversary. Like all relationships, it was journey to get to this point. Sometimes the journey was rocky, especially in our first year as being a couple.
She lived in New Hampshire; I lived in Pennsylvania. The gap between us was 600 miles, not and easy weekend getaway. To stay faithful and engaged in our relationship when months passed by without seeing each other took a remembrance of love and commitment.
We passed those trials with flying colors; I’m thankful for those times and the challenge. If it wasn’t for that first year of dating long distance, our relationship might have been totally different–so different that marriage is off the table.
Our long distance relationship taught us the most important thing anyone could learn to have a successful relationship: step out of oneself and see it from the other person’s perspective.
Let Me Make This Real for You
She was staying with me, in Pittsburgh, for the summer. I came home from my business one day and found her slaving over the stove, being distant, and feeling upset. This was the first time she was away from her family, friends, and home for a long period of time. What’s more, she was investing time and energy into me, a guy she barely knew.
I could have reacted as an insensitive jerk and said something stupid like, “I need to work and make money, hunny. This is how things are, and how the world works.”
But I stepped outside of myself, took the time to learn and listen, and saw things from her perspective. I stepped into her world and embodied the challenge and fear of being here. So much love and empathy poured into our relationship that moment. We grew to a new level and established a solid foundation.
How Does This Parallel With Your Business?
Ninety percent of all relationship problems and divorce are from poor communication. But what causes the poor communication is the inability to see how things are through that person’s perspective.
Same is true in business.
If you are struggling to bring in clients, or if your marketing and selling has no juice or effectiveness, or if business has hit a plateau for whatever reason, it’s because you are not stepping into your client’s world and viewing it through her eyes.
You can solve 90% of your business problems with this one change: step into your client’s perspective and speak their language.
How to Speak Their Language?
My fiancé and I speak each other’s language so well that almost any problem is curbed from the beginning. We are so good at it because of the love for each other, but it’s also a skill to learn, too.
For relationships, it’s about feelings, needs, and making requests. For example, when you come home and leave your clothes on the floor, I feel irritated because I need space and beauty to unwind from my day. Could you be more respectful and take the time to hang up your clothes?
A business is a little different. It’s a shift from thinking about what your business is and what it can do for your clients, to brining your client’s heart into your awareness and stepping into her world. You do this by understanding her problems and destinations.
Here’s what you need to do:
Write out five major problems your clients are having.
Make sure these are their problems, as if they would say it, or think it, or you have heard your clients say before.
I used to think a problem my clients had was I’m struggling to make a profit. While that is true, however, they are not saying or thinking like that. When I spoke their language, I discovered the real problem was I don’t have enough clients or I need to make a profit.
It’s a subtle, but effective difference. The difference is that your marketing will have potential clients stop and listen to you.
Step into your client’s problematic world.
Visualize what her life is like on a day to day basis. See it through your own eyes. Feel the emotions. Bring understanding and love to this visualization.
This will help bring empathy to your client’s situation so you are not pouncing on them with the third degree. What’s that? You know, “Are you broke and in debt? About to file bankruptcy? Being sued and pursued by the IRS?” that’s the third degree: listing or saying problem after problem.
Don’t forget the love and caring for their situation. They are in pain, show some authentic empathy.
What destinations (results) do they want to get to?
This is the hard part for most business owners. You get wrapped up in your grand vision rather than paying attention to where your clients want to go. Remember that your client’s world is filled with their problems and the destinations they want to achieve. It’s not filled with what you want.
The more skilled you become at relating to your clients with their destinations, the more success your business will have. Why? Because your business solves a problem, and that’s the purpose of being in business.
Think of it like this: solving problems + facilitating results = business success.
Okay…so you know your client’s problems, you have empathy and love for her situation, and you know the destinations and results they desire, what is left? Put it into your marketing.
One example is my homepage. Notice how I speak to the problems and destinations? Another example is talking about what you do while networking. For example, I work with women who are struggling to find time and space for themselves. If someone identifies with that, they’ll say or think, “Wow! that’s me,” or, “I know someone like that.”
Speaking your client’s language is not manipulation, it’s an understanding of her experience of life. When you relate to them by communicating their experience, which is often filled with problems, your clients feel witnessed and supported. They take a big sigh of relief and think, “Thank God someone understands my situation. I can finally get some help.”
To me that’s a form of love. And from that, you’ll be in service and deliver the help they need.
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