You’ve heard it all before. You’ve also said it to clients and customers:
“I’m booked that day.”
“We don’t have any availability.”
“We’re full that week.”
In each of these cases, and many like them, your words set the tone for what’s about to follow. Perhaps unknowingly, you are moving the conversation in a negative direction. You place the person who is receiving the message in a negative space, as well.
Is what you’re saying correct? Of course, it is. Is there a better way to say it; a way that puts you and your customer in a positive space? Yes, there is.
Consider these game-changing words from one of my favorite event planners, Kathleen. “I’m fully committed that day.” And she follows this up with, “Let’s find a date (or time or situation) that works for both of us.” Same message, different tone. She turns “I’m booked” into “I’m committed.” As a guest, which would you prefer to hear?
Saying “I’m fully committed” has a more positive, open-ended feel/tone. It leads you to think, “Here’s someone who is dedicated to her current guests. I can expect her to do the same for me.”
Kathleen says she uses this phrase to convey that she is fully invested in helping guests. If she is not available or a date is not open for her customers, she wants her client to know and feel her dedication to them. Her words turn an unfavorable, closed conversation into a forward-looking, open-ended possibility.
By keeping the conversation open, she invites her customer to stay connected with her so she can find a solution. She builds the relationship. “I’m fully committed” expresses her desire and passion to serve her current clients and serve new ones who want to work with her.
We talk a lot about creating experiences for our customers and having them engage in our brand. We want their encounters to be positive. Consider the alternative. What happens when you tell them you’re booked, busy, full, or otherwise can’t meet their needs? You end the conversation, and you begin to make the possible impossible.
When I have to tell a client I’m not available to meet with them or deliver a program, I make sure to use the phrase “fully committed” when I communicate with them. For example, I use it when I have to push a meeting out a couple of weeks. “Mariah, I’m fully committed until the first of the month. What looks good on your calendar?”
What opportunities do you have with your customers to express your willingness to meet their needs when you face constraints like time, space, or resources?
Which would you prefer to hear if you’re the customer? “I’m sorry, we’re completely booked that week,” or “We’re fully committed then. Let’s find options that meet your expectations.”
Words have meaning, plain and simple. They make us feel emotion. Every time you engage a client, you have a choice. Saying “I’m fully committed” sets the tone for what follows and offers you a positive transition to meet and exceed your customers’ expectations. Be forward thinking and solution oriented. You will set yourself and your customers up for success.
© 2019, Roger Wolkoff. Reprint rights granted so long as all URLs are made live.