It was almost two years ago that my wife handed me the book, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
I took one look at the book and decided I didn’t need to win friends, I needed to figure out how to deal with clients who are a pain in my butt!
The book was written almost a century ago and it didn’t seem that long of a read, but I was in no mood to be told that I needed to be a nice guy to get more people to like me.
I put the book in the center console of our car that was littered with old junk mail and more hair ties than a man should have in his car. That book sat there full of highlights and pencil marks from where my wife littered the pages with things she has learned for months.
One evening I was sitting outside in a parking lot waiting for one of her Pure Romance parties to conclude so I could haul her inventory back to the vehicle when I tried to mindlessly play a card game on my phone. Sadly the internet in that area was spotty at best so I sit bored and a little tired of not having anything to do.
That is when I remembered the book sitting lonely in the console.
“Why not,” I thought.
I flipped through the table of contents hoping to find section titles like ‘how to get a good customer experience,’ or ‘how to use positive language,’ or even ‘how to gain customer loyalty.’ But alas, I was faced with section titles talking about dripping honey, saying yes, and something about a beehive.
Still bored and not satisfied where this book would take me, I decided to give it a go.
I was hooked. Even though this book was written so long ago, the principles outlined in this book blew my mind and I realized his editor could have done better with the title.
Publishers here are a few suggestions:
‘The only book you ever need to read’
‘How to save your business through client interaction’
‘Secrets to manipulating people’ (my favorite)
‘How to get that nagging client back to money in your pocket’
I could go on.
Before you ask, no I am not getting paid to promote this book, but I must say this book has revolutionized not only the way I interact with my clients, but how I interact with the general public.
Let me summarize for you; although please don’t take this summary as is, use it to encourage you to read the book. (and take notes)
The bottom line is that we as a species have a real hard time not being self-centered. Dale explains that even the best philanthropists over time still had a selfish motive for wanting to do good. Have you ever done something good for a friend or family member and honestly felt good about it? Well afterwards aren’t you motivated to do it again? That desire to relive that warm feeling and satisfaction of helping people is not negative, but it comes from a self-pleasing desire.
Whether it is the angry customer that may use the power of word of mouth to destroy your company, or the person you just gave great customer service to, at the heart of each of these people is the desire to be valued.
There, lesson one. If you only took that simple message right there and began to try to understand the motivating factor behind the behavior of others, your response to difficult people and situations will change dramatically.
Carnegie goes on to address just about any situation that you will deal with, not only as a business owner, but especially at family holiday get togethers.
I have since read his book 2 more times and it is on a 6 month reading cycle for me to ensure I don’t forget the simple principles in his book.
I have learned that the customer feeling often dictates the way we find solutions to the customer’s needs. Often times the customer has no idea what they want, simply how the lack of that want makes them feel.
Learning how to diffuse then translate that emotion to action is quite honestly the key and secret to satisfying any client. Even if you think they hate you.
So before you read the book, take a trip down memory lane and remember when you were a kid making friends in the schoolyard. How did you make a new friend from a complete stranger? Were you insistent on your knowledge of the said universe, or were you compliant to the wild imagination of another your age?
As adults we have learned so much and still have so much to learn.
So whether you are a customer service manager, a product or service rep, or even if you are simply trying to improve the situations your customers face, the fact is that when we stop trying to learn and improve, these clients will leave us for suppliers interested in satisfying their needs and their experiences.
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