Do you ever listen to yourself when you are talking to your clients / customers?
The other day I met with a potential new client who wants to start a new business. I really enjoyed getting to know more about what he wants to do (just as I enjoy meeting all new prospective clients and learning about their businesses) and I have to say that I think his idea is a very valuable one because of the help he will be providing to others. I’m not going to go into what he will be doing but if you knew I’m sure you would agree it is a worthy cause. Anyway, while I was listening to him, giving him ideas to think about, suggesting how potential customers might see him, how he might brand his business and so on I suddenly heard myself and realised I sounded like a teacher. This was quite funny because the gentleman I was talking with used to be a teacher himself. I’ve never seen myself as a teacher or business coach or anything like that although I am providing services and advice to clients that can have a direct impact on them succeeding online.
The ‘Inner Teacher’
It’s funny because a few people in my life have said I’d make a good teacher. Growing up I certainly didn’t want to be a teacher and never saw myself as one but funnily enough, after leaving university (where I did a degree in industrial design), I promptly packed my bags and went off to Taiwan to teach English as a second language to school children! My mother was a really good art, design and technology teacher (she’s retired now and runs a great B&B / holiday cottage – see http://www.lanehouseandcottage.co.uk/) and my father, although not a teacher, certainly taught me a lot and with three younger brothers I grew up in a household where I guess various forms of teaching (for personal and academic development) were in action. As well as my parents coaching me it was only natural that I coach my younger brothers somewhat as I was the oldest and had to be the ‘responsible’ one.
So getting back to present day (careful; that sounds a bit like a contradiction in terms somewhat in a ‘Back to the Future’ style), teaching is part of the way I work with my web design and marketing clients. One of the best parts of what I do is getting to know a new client because it is a time when we can discuss their business, their ideas and their plans. It’s really great to feed off their enthusiasm for their business and I love getting people to open up. Being able to do this really helps me to provide that person with great ideas, actionable advice and also of course help them to see how I might be a good fit for either creating a new website design or maybe managing an SEO campaign.
During these kinds of discussions with clients and prospective clients I can feel my inner teacher trying to get out and stretch his legs and I enjoy it. My clients come from all kinds of backgrounds and each need help in different ways and I relish the chance to help direct them a little closer to reaching their business goals. I like to think that I help them see their business from a different angle which perhaps for most business owners is a crucial way to look at their business that is all too easily overlooked – I have certainly been guilty of it myself. I always steer people to look at their service or their products from the point of view of an outsider.
Imagine Your Dream Client. Right, Let’s Design Your Website for Him / Her
So if you are a business owner and you came to me to discuss a redesign of your current website then you might think this should be a pretty basic meeting where we discuss what kind of look you want for the site, branding, colours, example sites, your competitor websites and so on but in actual fact I want to approach this with you a different way. If we are going to be designing a brand new site for you then this is a fantastic opportunity to step back and take a breath. In fact let’s take three – in through the nose, fill your stomach as well as your chest, hold it for a count of three, now exhale slowly and completely. Repeat two more times. Now relax, close your eyes and empty you mind. I want you to imagine you are your dream customer. Alright that is as far as I’m going to go with the new-agey stuff as that isn’t my thing but I do want you to imagine you are your dream customer. Notice I’m talking about your ‘dream customer’ and not just a customer. The reason for this is that we need to create a new website that is going to really engage the kind of people you would really love to be getting to your website and converting into customers, buyers or clients.
Thinking this way can really turn your existing website on its head or if you are just starting a business then you will probably have one great advantage over your competition in this regard. If you take the view that your website is not for your company or about your company but rather for your dream customer / client / buyer and about them then you are in a great position to plan create a much more effective sales tool.
I’ll have to expand on this soon in future posts. In the meantime, I’d love to learn about your business and see if there is an opportunity for us to get our heads together.