When I searched my memory for the best advice I’ve ever received, I realized two things. One, I should have more carefully considered the wisdom that was shared with me over the years. And two, even when I did recognize its merits, I was not diligent enough about taking action on that advice.
The challenge with finding good advice is first hearing it, then recognizing its value, and most importantly, putting it into practice. When I started my landscape business, I was eager to grow, so I paid careful attention to any advice my colleagues were willing to offer.
Putting their advice into practice, I was able to build a successful landscape company. After some time, I was a veteran in this industry and others were asking for my advice. I now look back and realize that was probably when I unknowingly stopped listening as attentively to my customers as I was capable of doing.
Customers can come up with suggestions that on surface seem so ridiculous it’s easy to discount them. This is precisely why you should give them your full consideration to really understand their point of view. The result may be a perspective that helps you to make an invaluable breakthrough.
That’s what happened to me when I stopped by my client’s home to pick up the final payment for a recently completed project. As he handed me the check he asked me an important question.
I looked at him a little confused and gave an honest reply. “What do you mean what’s next, we’re done.”
“You don’t get it, do you?” he asked.
“I guess I don’t. Help me,” I said.
The ensuing conversation completely changed how I operated my business. I realized that I was not proactively thinking about what I could do next for my customers, and missing all kinds of opportunities as a result.
If you think about it, human beings are conditioned to think about what’s next. If you aren’t thinking about what’s next to enhance all of your relationships – both personal and professional – then they will soon enough deteriorate.
Making suggestions to customers about how you can better enhance their situation accomplishes a number of objectives. It shows them you are on top of your game – and that elevates your role from that of a service provider to a trusted adviser.
This is one reason I work hard at sharing my social media and small business marketing expertise with my community via my blog, newsletter and columns like this one. If I can be the trusted resource that comes to mind when they have that first thought, then the one that follows will naturally be, “Jeff Korhan will know. I’ll give him a call.”
How about you?
What can you do to be the one that comes to mind when those in your community think about their outdoor environment?
Jeff Korhan is a speaker, consultant and top-ranked blogger on new media and small business marketing. www.jeffkorhan.com; firstname.lastname@example.org