Hand holding for fun and profit

If you’ve ever bought a new car, or a house, or seen a doctor for something beyond a cold, or signed a book contract, or rolled over your 401(k) when changing jobs, or needed a lawyer, you’ll probably know this feeling:

When I get done with this I’ll be an expert, but then it’ll be too late, because I’m never doing this again.

Many times when you have to go through a rare or once-in-a-lifetime occurrence, you’re just trying to catch on to the rush of events swirling around you—in buying a house for instance, real estate agents, papers to sign, house inspections, papers to sign, a thousand steps in getting your mortgage, papers to sign, and so on.

The experts who guide you seem hurried, but in fact, they’re only practiced. (As you will be, once you’ve been through it once.) They may seem rude and dismissive, but it’s usually not malice, just the assumption that everyone knows what they know.

That’s the norm, and when we’ve got to face a big purchase, crisis, or change in our lives, we generally accept that being intimidated, going along in a fog, and only understanding it all later is How It’s Going To Be. I’ve certainly done it many times myself.

Recently I had the “opportunity” (yes, you may put that word in ironic air quotes) to go through such a rare event, involving contacts with many experts at what they do. What struck me was that two out of these many, took the time to walk me through what was going on without my having to stop them a hundred times and ask for clarifications as if we don’t speak the same language. They took the time to listen carefully to my concerns, even though I’m sure half of them were completely irrelevant to the issue at hand. They used my name. They looked me in the eye. Their pace slowed me down, and though it didn’t change the outcome at all, it made me feel differently about it.

So my thought after analyzing what these two people did right—you know the list: be courteous, listen, explain, go slower than you think you need to, say things twice, watch for signs of understanding…—my thought was this. Though most of us don’t do things as heavy as curing cancer or suing negligent manufacturers for a living, we all do something that we are the experts at, and our customers are not.

Otherwise they wouldn’t hire us!

So whether you’re a daycare owner, a furniture maker, a sales rep, or a videographer, take some extra time with your customers today.

Don’t assume that you do something so “simple” that everybody gets it. If we could do it like you can, we’d be doing it. You’re our guide.

See if you can offer a little hand-holding with your product or service.

Watch for how differently it makes your customers feel and act and buy (hey, it’s even better when being good for the customer is good for you as well).

I have a feeling that in addition to being very good professionally, for the sales of those two people who treated me to some extra hand-holding, and in addition to being good for me, it’s also good for them personally. The hand-holder gets to feel a lot better about guiding you though an experience when they’re… actually doing some guiding.

Plus hand-holders get more recommendations from their surprised and deeply satisfied customers.

Hands down.  🙂


Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson