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It’s official: nobody likes a robotic entrepreneur. Whether you’re just starting out in your business or you’ve been established for some time, there’s a chance you’ve either started going through the motions or you’re neglecting your emotions in favour of “good business sense”. The truth is, though, that many clients will appreciate you more if you run your business in a more “human” way; if you show emotion and personal understanding, you might attract more business. Here’s how you can get that human touch.
Personalise your office
Your work environment not only says a lot about who you are as a person, but it can also change your mood. If you create a more personalised workspace, you’d be surprised how much that can make you not only come across as more human but feel more emotionally engaged with your work. There are lots of ways to do this, from small to big. You could create your own personalised calendar, for example, to tailor your schedule to you. The possibilities here are endless.
Hire the right staff
If you’re hiring the wrong staff, it’ll send a message to your clients that you’re not interested in their wellbeing. Your staff could be the most talented individuals around, but if they’re too ruthless or money-minded, your clients will feel like you’re not personally invested in them. Of course, you should be paying attention to prospective employees’ acumen during the interview process. Still, there’s more to consider than just whether they’ve got the skills you’re after.
Work around your clients
Inflexible business owners don’t come across well to clients. Flexibility is crucial not only within your organisation itself but externally as well. If a client absolutely cannot pay an invoice in the moment but they’re definitely solvent for it and can pay in a specified time frame, don’t panic; instead, let them know that’s OK, but you’d rather this wasn’t a regular occurrence. Building trust is far more important than absolutely insisting on the hardline every single time.
Always be around
Nobody’s advocating for you to literally not stop working – that’s an unhealthy mindset and could cause you actual damage. Nevertheless, while you’re in your established work hours, you should always be available for clients to talk to and sound off to. If there’s a query or a complaint that needs to be dealt with, make sure you – or your customer services staff, if you’ve got some – are around to hear it. Not being listened to makes clients think you don’t care.
Understand who your clients are
When you first get a new client, it can be a little intimidating as you start to figure out who they are and what exactly they want from you. Building a relationship with them will involve chatting, finding common ground, and building compromise. If you know who your clients are, you’ll increase repeat business; having a good relationship means they’ll come back to you because they know you know who they are and what their desires are.
A business never got a reputation for being human by simply nodding and smiling. Debate with your clients; be assured, but not combative; tell them your ideas and hear theirs, and have a full and frank exchange. If you’re constantly talking to your clients about their ideas and how you could improve them, then you’ll look engaged and emotionally on board with the ideas they’re bringing. That’s much better than simply accepting all your work and getting on with it in a rudimentary way.
Maintain a social media presence
Everyone loves a good, well-thought-out social media marketing presence. Companies who do social media marketing right are funny, engaged, and well-presented on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram (among others). These companies will talk to their followers on a personal level and make sure they’re happy. Sometimes it’s hard to get wins on social media, especially if something’s happened to your business to give you a negative reputation, but it’s also a great salve.
Have a moral compass
It’s okay to have a moral compass when it comes to running a business. Having strong, repeatedly reinforced moral values about how you do your business and what kind of clients you work with will not only attract the right clients but also attract the right staff. You may have heard good business leaders are ruthless, but this simply isn’t the case, or at least it doesn’t have to be. If you want to get by in the world of business, it’s important to know where you personally draw the line.
It’s not always about the money
Sometimes, a particularly difficult sale or complex client may mean you’re not making the profit out of a sale that you want to. That’s okay – you should still make the sale (most of the time). Building a relationship with your client is more important than your bottom line, and when that client is riding high and looking for people who did right by them when they were struggling, they’ll come to you. Obviously, you still need to think about profit, but make sure that’s not all you’re thinking about.
Talk to your clients regularly
If you’re a customer-facing business, it definitely pays to send out regular surveys (as long as you’re not too regular and annoying with them) to gauge your customers’ satisfaction with your operation. What could you be doing better? Are your customers or clients satisfied? Finding this out means you can be more prepared for the future, and it means you care about not only how to increase business but how to retain the business you’ve already got.