Have you ever had a client that was upset, but you had a hunch, that there was more to the issue than met the eye? It was like a little voice in your head that said "this doesn’t make sense", but you were busy and just did what they asked. I’d like to share this story with you.
I sell my books on Amazon and received an email through the proper channels, from an attorney who had purchased one of my books. In the email she complained that she just received my book and was upset that a good portion of the pages only had a handful of words on them and she wanted to return the book.
Well… if you have ever seen any of my books you would know that indeed there are pages with BIG powerful messages of few words. She is absolutely right… no argument there. However, I suspect that… her frustration is something other than… few words on the page. I figured that she is searching for the silver bullet to her business development frustrations and she wants it NOW!
So, I wrote her a handwritten note telling her that I’m sorry the book wasn’t what she was looking for and that we would be happy to refund her money… in addition I would like to offer her a one-hour complimentary coaching session to explore what might be of help to her business development efforts.
I received the nicest email in return… She was blown away that her email was actually read by the author of the book she purchased and said thank you for such a generous offer. We set a date for the coaching session.
What a session it was! Yes… as suspected there was much underlying the frustration that was coming through the Amazon email. She talked about a few situations in her firm which I knew, since I had been on their website and was familiar with the people and the practice areas. Not even 25 minutes into the call… she said, "I need to work with you and you obviously do your homework!" We talked some more and as the hour came to an end she had become a client with our next appointment five days later. I was right… there WAS urgency in that first email.
I could have done exactly what she asked… return the book. And rationalized that SHE just didn’t GET IT! But, instead I found it a challenge… could I get at the REAL frustration? My reward… I have a new client and I have to say… we’re going to have fun figuring out how to grow her practice!
So… next time you have an upset client or colleague, I challenge you to look beyond the words, get at the core of the frustration… and see if you can’t turn it around. You just may end up with more work and a deeper connection to that person. And after all… isn’t that what business development is all about?