I was talking about the weather recently, a favorite topic any time of the year when it is changeable, and the old saying about the month of March came up – in like a lion, out like a lamb.
(My dad was a meteorologist long before I was born. Valid and questionable methods of forecasting the weather were frequent topics in our household.)
Having a mind that at times is as changeable as the weather I was soon thinking about the old Aesop’s fable The North Wind and The Sun. The two had an argument one day as to who was stronger. They set up a challenge to see who could get a man to take off his overcoat the quickest.
I’m sure you can see where this story goes. The wind went first, blowing harder and harder. The wind blew until he was exhausted and the man just kept clutching his coat closer and closer.
Then it was the sun’s turn. He gently sent his beams on the traveler, quietly warming his head and back. Soon the man was so warm that he took off his coat and headed for the shade of a nearby tree.
The moral of the story has been written in several ways. It all comes down to Gentle persuasion is better than force.
Where are some of the places that this impacts on our businesses?
We are frequently told that it is important that we be clear about our point of view (pov). The more clarity we have on this and the more we share our pov with our clients the easier it can be to enter into a relationship with them. The stronger the relationship, the higher the probability they will be long term clients, coming back for more and more products and programs.
When we are firmly convinced that our way of handling a problem is the best way, it is easy to become overly forceful in presenting our point of view.
Some people respond well to an in-your-face style of coaching or teaching. They are looking for someone else to tell them what to do and how to do it. They resent being handled with kid gloves. However, they still want respect and will resist a too forceful approach.
Others need their inspiration to come in a gentler form. A series of questions that leads them to finding their own resolution to their problem is much more effective. The more forceful you are the more they resist and stay the same.
If you are comfortable with both styles, you need to do some testing to see which is most effective with your favorite clients.
Remember, one of your goals is to fill your practice with your favorite people. The clearer you are in your marketing, in the delivery of your programs, and in the products you create, the higher the probability you will get more and more of those favorite clients.
As you reflect on the style you want to present, in your face-to-face contact with your clients and in your writing, keep the following in mind: