Wednesday 24 October 2012

The Nice Guy With the Tandem?

I was once told that I was "too nice" to go into business. Well, I did it anyway - just to test the theory, and here I am three years later - still testing the theory.

Once more, today I was told that I am "too nice to be in that kind of business". Hmm, is there a pattern here? Am I missing the point? Should I be a cold, grasping, nose to the grindstone kinda guy like Scrooge instead of the "nice guy with the tandem"?

I think not. Indeed, I make every effort to be "nice" to my clients and potential clients. In fact I try to be nice to everyone, an approach that my clients endorse here.

Has the World Changed?
In my opinion, the world has changed over the last few years, including the world of business and commerce. People no longer want to be sold to (did they ever?). They no longer want to be preached to, controlled, told what to think or do. They like to feel "safe" in the knowledge that their input is appreciated, that they can rely on you (yes you) to do what you promise and that they will not be taken for granted.

So many large companies still seem to have a culture which is grasping and predatory, where the customer or client is made to feel like an unwelcome necessity rather than a partner in a transaction for mutual benefit. I used to work for a company where the MD insisted that attack was the best line of defence when dealing with customer enquiries. Sadly, some small companies also seem to think that this is the way to do business. It really isn't.

Oops! I think I'm preaching to you! I'd better back off, but what I will say is that engaging politely with your market place really can be a very positive and effective way of going about your business.

Do Something Nice Today!
At the risk of being patronising, here are a few simple ways of being nice that some of those big and small companies might like to consider:
  • Smile, it costs nothing
  • Be a go-to person, the one who helps others solve problems
  • Be genuine when you enquire as to their well-being
  • Listen actively
  • Ask how you can HELP them
  • Ask for THEIR advice
  • ** Leave your problems out of the conversation **

Have a smashing day!

PS, the guy who told me I was too nice today was actually being very positive and the conversation was a truly enlightening one. I will continue to be someone who holds his clients' hands, or puts an arm around their shoulder!