Updated: Mar 2
I confess that I am a dog lover. We have three dogs, Barlow, Spud and Kobe, each with their own odd personality.
Barlow, our rescue lab is easily distracted. How many times have you been in a meeting and you sense that you don’t have a client’s full attention? Buyers are busy, and this can happen.
One way to curtail that is to be engaging and continue to draw the buyer into the conversation. We need to understand what their needs are and offer effective solutions to meet those needs. Like Barlow, buyers can easily tire of a sales presentation, so engage them!
Spud is a precocious long-haired miniature dachshund, and the little guy has a big personality. He’s high energy, loves to bark, letting our neighbors know he’s there and feels a sense of entitlement. Many of our clients have the same characteristics as Spud. They bark for attention and feel they own you.
What do you do to counter that? Perhaps you can prioritize your time based on quality of of the client. Of course all clients are important, but somehow you need to not let a barking dog, or client get to you.
Our oldest dog, Kobe is a mixed breed. My son picked her out from the pound as a puppy. She is about 13 years old and has lumps on her head. These are benign lumps, and we have chosen to not remove them because of her age. She’s cute to us, but not so attractive to others. She looks intimidating and scares off some people, but once you get to know her, she is very sweet. We have clients like this too. Clients may appear to be difficult initially, and the connection might take a while, but these client's can turn out to be great to work with as your relationships grows.
When I decide to go for a walk, I need to make a choice which dog will join me. I ponder who will give me the least grief? They hover around the front door begging to be called on. Are we consistently calling on all of our clients, or do we just call on the easy clients while avoiding the barkers?
If we have good relationships, clients want to see us when we have something beneficial to share. It’s easy of course to invest more time calling on the clients we enjoy working with more than others. If our clients were like dogs, we would want to see them, and they would be thrilled to hang out with us.
I have a special affection for each of our dogs' personalities. Choosing which dog to take on the walk can be difficult. Sometimes I can’t choose and just take them all. That’s a bit crazy. When I do that, it’s always a short walk.
One morning, the chosen dog, Kobe and I were on a walk. We stopped and had a conversation. Well, I had a conversation with Kobe. With her tail wagging and a look of love in her eyes, the thought came to me, what if our clients were like dogs?
Dogs can be fun loving, sincere, good-natured, willing to learn, easy-going, respectful, gentle, sociable, carefree and most importantly…loyal.
Some of our clients are like dogs. They love what we do and give us no grief. Others are barkers, constantly demanding attention. I think it t would be great if our clients were like the dogs we love in our families.
In my next commentary, I’ll cover what if our clients were like cats? Just kidding. Actually, our clients may be more like cats, but I won’t go down that road.
© 2014 Jeff Solomon, MAS