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The Intangible Factor That Makes Such a Big Difference

Last week, I had an open day with no coaching clients, which allowed me to schedule a couple of medical appointments.  I wasn’t looking forward to the first one at all … my annual visit to the gynecologist.  Now, I know you women know what I’m talkin’ about!  And you boys, you have your own version.  Nothing fun about these check-ups.

In fact, I was surprised to be feeling a fair amount of trepidation when nothing was physically amiss. 

I go through the normal drill where I check in with the nurse and answer some routine questions.  I happen to mention a health challenge my husband’s been dealing with.

When my doctor comes in the door, the very first thing she says, in a very empathic way, is, “Oh, I didn’t know you and Tom were dealing with that.”  That opens up a whole conversation about her husband’s much more serious issue with lymphatic cancer.  Just like that, she’s established a “background of relatedness,” and it makes me actually feel comfortable during that exam.

We commiserate for a while, and it feels like I’m chatting with my girlfriend.  I get on the table for my exam, and we continue talking about her new puppy and mine.

I left the office feeling such a sense of connectedness and, yes, genuine happiness.

Whoa!  I didn’t expect that!

I travel on to see a chiropractor who’s helping me with an old ankle sprain … still feeling a nice kind of glow from this unexpected and wonderful connection … with a medical doctor of all people.

My doctor and I start chatting about our place in Mexico.  He’s very interested in looking at a property there.  He then confides in me how he and his wife had purchased a little getaway on a nearby lake.  But his wife died unexpectedly.  He shares how devastated he was and how he could never go back there.  It was supposed to be their place for them and their family.

I walked away from that appointment seeing the heart of another human being and I was filled with compassion and respect.

So, why am I telling you all this and what does it have to do with your business?

Many of you are service providers … coaches, consultants, wellness practitioners, lawyers … and I believe there’s a huge lesson here for all of us.

I walked away from those two encounters with an undying respect for and loyalty to those two practitioners.  And isn’t that what we want our clients to feel?

So, what are the key learnings here?

When you’re selling a service, always keep in mind that YOU are the product people are buying.

Do what it takes to have your clients and prospects feel comfortable in your presence  … happy and looking forward to being with you.

It probably goes without saying, but you would never employ this as a tactic.  The connection needs to be heartfelt and authentic.  Just be your normal, open, fully human self.  You don’t have to act a part or keep people at arm’s length for them to see you as a professional.

You have to provide the service you offer in a professional manner.  That’s a given, but to relax folks and have them like you and maybe even be delighted as I was with my doctors, go one step further  Make it a point to interact with folks in a normal, friendly, conversational way … a way that creates a sense of commonality and builds rapport.

Always remember, the number one reason people buy your service is because they LIKE you and they sense they can trust you.  So, connect with your clients … and your prospective clients … on a personal level.  Don’t be afraid to share yourself with them.  It’s okay to be vulnerable.  Our clients need that.  Create an emotional bond.  That’s a big part of what builds loyalty.

What was so unusual about my two interactions with my doctors was they showed up as human beings with challenges and foibles just like the rest of us.

Can you take the personal sharing too far?

Yeah.  For example, if a Divorce Coach were to talk non-stop about his/her own divorce vs. concentrating on the client’s situation and needs.

A little pertinent sharing of one’s own experiences goes a long way.

Here’s the thing I know for sure.  Those two interactions with my doctors will be forever burned into my brain … and my heart.  I will be forever loyal to them, because they opened up to me on a real, genuine level.

 In the world of business, where everything can come off as formulaic and impersonal, how simple, straightforward … and refreshing … is that genuine connection?


Best Wishes,



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