One of my clients said to me recently, "It is so refreshing to work with your enthusiasm. If I could bottle it and sell it we could have millions." The comment made me stop and reflect for a second. How was I being that prompted him to tell me that? When I thought about what I'd done and said, it was inline with how I usually am. I am positive, I ask a lot of questions, and I reassure my clients that what they want will happen and not to worry.
It's easy for me because I do one very important thing with all of the people I work with: I stand in the place they want to be and call them to it.
Sound kind of weird? Well, I've come to the realization that my role in the work that I do is not just to create brands, design marketing strategies or coach my clients into realizing their business goals. It is to provide real relief to them. Relief that what they want is possible. That where they are going is a good place, and that what they desire can be achieved.
Standing in the place where they want to be and calling them to it is much easier when I understand where that is. I take the approach of inspiring as opposed to motivating, and there is a difference.
Motivating Your Customers
Motivation is the act of taking action to avoid an unwanted outcome such as motivating ourselves to exercise to avoid being unhealthy or overweight. Motivating your customers is when you dangle an undesired outcome such as losing their customers, overspending to drive more business, producing a sub-par product, etc. You warn them, "If you don't do what I say, you'll have undesired outcome X."
Motivation has short-term benefits but lacks endurance as we often tire of the actions required to keep avoiding the undesired outcome. We give in, quit, and justify giving up with rationalizations about the action being inappropriate or the conditions being too difficult to manage. Just think of the last time you tried to lose weight and what that was like.
With customers, this often takes the form of them not following the right regimen, being inconsistent or not utilizing the full breadth of services to achieve an outcome that sticks.
Inspiring Your Customers
Inspiration, on the other hand, is when you identify a desired outcome and flesh it out to the point where it becomes palpable and visceral. Keeping your focus on that developed outcome naturally does several things:
- Generates real excitement and eagerness
- Keeps focus on the positive and off the negative
- Allows for inspired action to unfold
- Creates a much more enjoyable and effortless journey
This is what I do when I work with my clients. I help them identify and flesh out their desired outcome. My objectivity helps me do this, and I am also practiced at standing in their vision and calling them to it by talking about it, describing it, and easing their concern on how to get there.
Because most people are focused on avoiding pain, (this is a key sales tactic, by the way) they are often refreshingly optimistic when offered an inspired calling.
Practice Enthusiasm with Your Customers
The next time you are asked to help a customer with their business challenge, try identifying and calling them to what they want. It may be tricky at first because they will be oriented toward avoiding pain. Take the flip side of that pain and help them feel better. You will grab their attention and they may say to you, too, "I love your enthusiasm!"