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The best piece of business advice I ever received, from a Buddhist monk.

And how you can apply it to your business today

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I was pulling 16-hour days while working in New York, and like most people in the loudest city on earth, I was on the hunt for a moment of silence. 

Compelled by my desire to hear anything but the relentless sound of car horns beeping, I decided to check out the local meditation centre.

The session that particular day was focused on building relationships. As I stared blankly at the orange robe-wearing monk in front of me, I was surprised to hear the most useful piece of business advice that I have ever received. 

And it was this…

“If you want someone to like you, like them first” 

..huh, how revolutionary.

I thought about how this philosophy applies not just to our personal relationships, but also to our relationships in business.

We spend our days trying to impress other people, wondering if they like us when in reality, people like people who like them! The same applies to the way in which we do business. If you want your customers to like you, you have to like them first. I know this seems like an obvious concept, but it’s one that I see get overlooked all of the time. It’s also one of the fastest ways to build a competitive in your business.

So, what can you practically do to implement this philosophy within your business? 

Be interested.

Think about this for a second. Have you ever met, or been on a date with someone who won’t shut up about themselves and didn’t ask you a single question? (Erm, clearly I have!) How boring was this experience? 

That’s because it takes two interested people to have an interesting and engaging conversation. If you want your customers to like you, you have to stop focusing the conversation on you and become truly interested in learning about them and listening to what they have to say. 

Engage.

One way to do this in business is to up your conversational type engagement with your customer across your social channels. Evidence shows that those who receive responses to their tweets are willing to spend 3-20% more on average-priced items. Spend time personally responding to messages and avoid automatic, robotic style responses. This might take you an extra 20mins a day, but the payoff is likely to be huge. 

When we meet someone who genuinely spends the time to get to know us, we feel it on a different level. It becomes incredibly memorable. This is the impact we want to have on our customers. 

Don’t assume, ask.

Don’t assume you know what your customers want, ask them. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and tell your customers that you are unsure if you’re 100% meeting their needs. People love it when you show interest and care about them. 

According to this Forbes article. Listening to customer feedback is increasingly critical to the bottom line. It is the fuel for customer retention, employee fulfillment and the growth of a company. So you can’t afford to neglect it. Put a good customer feedback strategy in place, and ask your customers questions about themselves regularly. 

You’ve very likely heard the quote “ people will forget what you did, people will forget what you said, but people will remember the way that you made them feel”. So make people feel heard, concentrate on liking them first, and observe the positive impact that this has on your business. 

If you’re keen to get more practical tips to get you closer to your customer, I send my audience. “One tactical tip per week” that they can use to improve their customer experience. Don’t miss it here.

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    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

    - MARCUS AURELIUS

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