I was in Montreal this weekend and loved it. When I was there was in the late 70’s, I didn’t see much. This time, I visited Old Montreal, the Old Ports, the Science Centre and other places. In one of the restaurants, one of the servers asked where we were from. When I told her Toronto, she immediately smiled and said she loved Toronto, especially our big mall (Yorkdale) and our tea with little balls in it (bubble tea).
I realized that as a Torontonian, I take these matcha bubble tea things for granted. When you are surrounded by the familiar – routes and routines, events and exchanges, malls and meetings – you begin to operate on automatic pilot. You go through the motion but are not truly participating and not fully aware of your surroundings, your actions and your communication.
As entrepreneurs, what are you doing out of habit? What are you saying without thinking? When you talk to your clients, do you operate on automatic pilot because they already know what you do? When your clients talk to you, do you really listen?
When you take things for granted or do them out of habit, you are setting yourself up for mediocre relationships and low sales or no sales. Don’t assume your clients remember all that you do because they, like us, are self-absorbed. Vary the way you describe your products and services so they don’t habituate to your ‘business talk’ and tune you out. When your clients talk to you, truly listen and you can learn of opportunities, ideas for improvement or new products and services.
I was yanked out of my rut by going to Montreal. Now back home, I’m realizing that as I travel about Toronto, I don’t notice much along the way because I’m focused on my destination. I also realize that it’s easy to do the same with my business- focus on the goals and barely notice everything that will get me there. In Montreal, we ate at the Three Amigos and I had Acapulco Pollo. It was superb and I showed my enjoyment. My clients, my products and services, my advisors, my health all make up the portrait of my success and I am wondering if I show my appreciation enough.
Identify what and who are vital to the success of your business. Don’t take them for granted and don’t thank them absentmindedly. Truly show your appreciation to those who have helped and those who are still helping you.
Most people don’t realize that they communicate in every interaction and that ‘communication’ isn’t only for the business environment. Gloria Pierre of Clearly Speaking gives her clients the tools to say that they mean and mean what they say so they can always be understood and respected in business, social and personal interactions.