I once got hired for a customer service position because I answered with “I’m tired” when asked how I was doing during my interview. I suppose I could have come up with a million different ways to say exactly what anyone would think an interviewer would want to hear, but it wouldn’t have been from the heart and I may not have been hired at all. My genuine response made such an impression on my boss that a year later on my anniversary she told the entire staff about it and how my saying “I’m tired” in that moment instead of the blanket response of “Great” or “Wonderful” or “Excited” made her feel less alone. See, she had been having a rough day and was absolutely exhausted by the time she got to my interview. My response took down all the businesslike walls she had put up around her and we were able to be real with each other. She was tired, I was tired, we were all just tired and that was okay! The doors of communication were opened completely and we were able to move forward in trust and honesty.
This story is a good example of what being real and genuine means and how it can affect business relationships between customers and co-workers alike. Being real and genuine is an ever growing, ever changing state of personal awareness. Like on our volunteer days, how you ask us to turn off the radio and shut out the noise on the drive over and spend time focusing on getting into a good state of mind and thinking about ways to add to the help we are giving. It is being aware of our emotions, our thoughts, and our body language at all times. And utilizing the whole package to convey a message. It’s about telling the customer it’s raining outside even if they want to hear that Florida is sunny all the time and that “Welcome to the Sunshine State” isn’t actually a gimmick; less based in fact than one would like to think.
It’s about saying I’m sorry when we cannot accommodate a request and actually conveying through our words and actions that we mean it. Not allowing our business relationships to become so robotic that we forget that we are speaking to actual humans not just business heads with phone systems that need support. It’s about follow through. Making sure what you said would be done is done even if you aren’t the one to finish it. Mostly being real and genuine is about allowing ourselves and our company to be aware of our state of being as well as that of those we surround ourselves with so that the human element of business isn’t lost and people can begin to feel cared for again. You never know what one word of empathy or one simple act of follow through will do to change the course of any one person’s day let alone how they view your business. Being real and genuine in business can mean the difference between being so-so and building an empire. Make your customers a part of your team by turning self awareness into real and genuine behavior. Then add that back into the day to day of business and the empire will build itself.