I have a huge pet hate which sends my children scuppering for the back of the settee. Someone only has to mention their commitment to give 150% to the task in hand and my eyes roll, I mutter under my breath and then start chanting out loud, only for a few minutes later to look around the room to realise that everyone has frozen awaiting dad’s reaction to this complete ridiculousness (the person on the television of course – not mine)!
My problem (although I am sure that I do not have to explain this to you) is that whilst you can have a mathematical increase of more than 100% or you can grow your practice profits by 200, 300 or 1000% (and I very much hope that you do so) you simply cannot ever give more than your full and complete commitment to anything, which has to stop at 100%.
And it is the subject of giving 100% that I want to discuss, because I think the days of people giving 100% are rapidly disappearing. I am talking about 100% commitment to the task in hand. You see it in cafés and restaurants when couples having some supposedly special time together start texting their friends. You see it with husbands and wives in the same situation, who and what they are texting I am not sure but I know it is not a good thing.
Where it is even more worrying though is in a work environment. I remember the days when I was employed (I have broken into a cold sweat just typing that word) and my appraisal would come around. Now to an employee this is an important time, but one of my employers use to treat them like a game. How many times could his phone ring during my appraisal? How important would that make him look and feel; well it seemed to matter a lot to him as the phone would ring relentlessly.
My career clearly was not important to him (nor me at the time to be fair as I knew I would be leaving at some time to set up Samson Consulting but he did not know about my plans). What made it even worse was that on each call whenever he thought he had made a good point he would look towards me to check that I understood just how clever he was. I quickly learned to look away the whole time so this pleasure was at least taken away from him.
However, I see it even more now that I am in business. I have had meetings with suppliers where they think nothing of answering a telephone call whilst with me because it is a ‘very important’ call. Largely it never actually is although I don’t usually find out much more about the call as quickly after taking the call they find themselves heading down the stairs and onto the High Street on which my office resides.
I employed a professional photographer to take shots for me and he felt the need to take phone calls during the shoot. I felt so special: photographer duly sacked for the next shoot.
The same has occurred in different situations when I have been on consultancy days with solicitor clients who are paying a hefty sum for the pleasure of my company either take calls, leave to deal with an urgent matter (usually not) and have a number of interruptions during the day. Now as a client I accept that it is completely their choice, a daft one, but they are free to do as they please as they are paying the bill. On a personal level though they do not remain clients for long as I really only like to work with people that are genuinely committed to growing their business, not just ‘vaguely interested’ that it might be a nice idea.
So my question to you is this: do you really, all of the time, give your clients 100% of your attention?
You see whilst your competitors are letting their standards slip and deteriorate, you have an ideal opportunity to give each of your clients 100% of your time and focus whenever you are with them or working on their matters. This is especially important in new client meetings or on telephone enquiries. When that phone rings pounce on it and think of nothing else until you have answered all of your prospect’s questions (and other ones they had not even thought of) and followed up immediately in writing both by email and snail mail, of course enclosing some external endorsements of your expertise such as client testimonials and news articles.
Giving 100% (no more nor less) is enough these days to set you apart from your competition, so I recommend that you start doing this immediately and continue to do so. I am not sure the employed legal representatives from Halifax, Co-Op or any of the other new entrants to the market will have your desire or commitment to do so.
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