In an age when the transactional has overtaken the transformational, businesses need to get personal

David FullerNorman was a world-famous choreographer and dancer. Ian, originally from Scotland, played in bands around the world. Inga moved to Canada from Germany when she met a man and stayed to practise law. Rina was originally from Moldova and had to move during an economic crisis, studied nutrition and knows how to make a difference in people’s lives.

These are just a few of the people I met on my first day working with a retail client in Vancouver. I was helping to train their staff in sales and customer service. The people I met are all customers of this retailer and my interactions with them led me to discover their greatness.

Greatness comes in all forms. But when we find people who are passionate about what they do, whether it’s dancing, music, law, nutrition or raising children, we need to celebrate that passion.

The truth is that there aren’t enough of us taking the time to discover what others are passionate about. There are many reasons for this but for most of us, it’s because we’re so caught up in our daily lives that we feel we don’t have time to really discover who others are.

As children, we have a sense of wonder. As teenagers, we become self-centred. As young adults, we get caught up in our careers and families. As we grow older, we become tired and less curious about other people; we often think we know enough people, have all the answers and just can’t be bothered.

But what has wonder and curiosity to do with business? And why should we care if we’re in the presence of others who are wonderfully talented?

Curiosity has everything to do with business. Almost every newfangled technology or creation in your home and business is the result of someone’s curiosity. Inventions, new ways of doing things and most sales in business is are the result of curiosity.

Sales processes without curiosity are a dull way to make a living. We can invent websites and businesses that process people without taking the time to discover what they really love and who they really are. But when we dehumanize the selling process into something simply transactional, we lose loyalty.

If I’m only loyal to a company because they have the lowest price and the most convenience, then as soon as they start to disrespect me, chances are that I’m going to leave. At very least, I’ll be open to a competitor that seems to show interest in who I am and what I stand for.

More often than not, businesses try to create a customer service or sales model that doesn’t develop relationships. However, when we go deeper to discover the greatness in our customers, we build customers for life.

In an age when the transactional has taken the place of the transformational, there are huge opportunities for businesses to become passionate about people and live in the hearts of their customers.

The Internet will remain a threat to retailers who are complacent and become simply order-takers.

But if retailers take the time to discover the greatness of their customers and develop deep, long-lasting relationships based on creating value and mutual respect, their businesses will thrive.

Troy Media columnist David Fuller, MBA, is a certified professional business coach and author who helps business leaders ensure that their companies are successful. David is author of the book Profit Yourself Healthy. Email dave@profityourselfhealthy.com.


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