Is that true though? Think about who you buy from. Do you have favorites? Why do you go to them?
We all have favorites
Ngl… I’ve got all kinds of favorites out there. Ms. Sam is my shoe gal at Nordstrom – thankful for her after folks like Buck, BB, and April moved on to other adventures. Ms. Leslie (also at Nordstrom) dresses me – in partnership with Ms. Sam and Ms. Lana, she completes my Glam Squad. David is my wine guy – and we stalked him at three different restaurants before he finally decided to open up Le Caviste. And (some may know)… I’ve been a Cascina Spinasse regular for over 10 years.
Why? What sucked me in? What drove the fierce loyalty I have for all these people and places?
They’re favorites because we know them
I was listening to the April 11 podcast of The New York Times’ The Daily today. It focused on two friends who unionized the Amazon New York warehouse. In a show of support, they went to Alabama where large national unions were driving the efforts. The insights these gentlemen offered were poo-poo’d by the national union organizers. As the Alabama vote drew near, the two friends said something that struck me. Forgive the paraphrase, but it was something along the lines of:
The big unions said they felt great about the vote because of the numbers of signatures gathered. But that’s not what we were seeing. The organizers weren’t connecting with the people. They didn’t know them. When we organized in New York, we greeted night shift workers at the bus stop. Midnight… one o’clock… two in the morning we made s’mores, had music, and in some cases prayed with them. It was powerful. It got to the point that when we weren’t there… they’d say: where were you guys?
These gentlemen historically established the first independent union (ALU – Amazon Labor Union) within Amazon. They built relationships… and trust… and succeeded.
Are you a “favorite”?
So are people “buying” from you? No?
Here are techniques from my Enterprise days that have helped me. They aren’t silver bullets. But they are tips that I still use to build rapport quickly when interacting with people today. In the spirit of #3normorethan5:
- Quickly and cheerfully acknowledge someone – As soon as customers walked in the door, we smiled and greeted them. We were taught to smile when answering the phone … it positively changes your tone and customers hear it.
- Clues in body language and tone – What did each person need? Extra hands? Think of the mom with little ones and all the stuff that comes with children. Is someone checking the time, shifting their weight, and looking agitated? Urgency will likely be appreciated.
- Using names and/or appropriately addressing people – The world is much less formal now but I’ll still use Mr./Ms. if I feel it will make someone more comfortable. I not great at asking what pronouns people use/prefer…so that needs to improve. But I’ve consistently observed: when I appropriately use people’s names, they tend to respond warmly.
- When you can, anticipate – Going back to #2, if you’re able to anticipate what a person might need…offer it! It’s shows you’re paying attention and helps strengthen that initial connection.
- Be thankful – Time is limited and, once spent, is gone forever. So showing gratitude for the interaction (thanking people for their time / a genuine “it was so good to see you!” / etc.) goes a long way.
Buying for the “long term”
Glam Squad members past and present (that would be you Sam, Leslie, Buck, BB, and April) drew me in using these five tips. In turn, I saw them as fun, happy people who respond to or anticipated my needs. I liked them. And that made me want to work with them again… and again… and again. I was perfectly happy waiting for one of them to help me (– and that could be a minute because of how popular Buck, BB, and April were 😂). But the point is, that’s where the relationship began… the trust developed… and the loyalty started to grow.
Next time we’ll chat more about the “long game” – the selling/influencing/leading that grows over time. Until then… try the four tips above (like any recipe, you’re likely to get the best results when using all four at once 😊) and let me know what happens for you!