We ask the question: What is essential for business growth?
Jack walks into his local supermarket. He is greeted by name. He is asked how his son is doing at school. He is asked if he needs help with anything. The supermarket clerk takes time to ensure Jack has everything he needs, and she makes suggestions to him based on his prior visits.
Jack notices that he feels more than satisfied; he feels appreciated. He feels appreciated because someone took the time to speak with him – to be interested in him – and to show they care. And he notices how his visit to the supermarket has changed the direction of his day.
He went into the supermarket feeling overwhelmed by the busyness of balancing family and work life. He left feeling recognised, worthy, and more peaceful. Someone took the time to check in with him. Someone took the time to acknowledge just how well he is doing, despite the busyness.
And this – this appreciation – made all the difference.
Client appreciation is the essential ingredient for business growth.
Client appreciation is also incredibly rare. It does not happen much. We seem to have decided that appreciation is possible only some of the time. We also seem to have decided that certain criteria must exist before appreciation can be given and received.
Yet, a business that is looking to thrive must throw these limitations out the window, and fast. The most reliable way to business growth is true client appreciation. When appreciation is the focus, a pathway for consistently adding value can be developed.
Appreciation is creative and curious in nature. A business with a focus on appreciation will take the time to learn about its clients. It will recognise the importance of every conversation. It will make suggestions to add the most value to its clients (and, by extension, their businesses, families and communities).
The power of client appreciation.
Appreciation hits at the heart of self-worth. When a person is genuinely appreciated, they are given permission to acknowledge their worth. In Jack’s example, above, the supermarket clerk took time to speak with him, and to make suggestions based on his prior visits.
Despite the busy nature of the supermarket, the clerk still made Jack her focus. In that moment, she showed her care for him. And he left feeling completely different to how he went in. The supermarket clerk appreciated Jack; she made him see that he is worth all the time in the world.
Appreciation is fundamentally about showing a client their worth. It is about taking special action to show a client that they are more worthy than they think they are. And, in this sense, it is ultimately about changing beliefs.
Through the continued gifting of appreciation, a business is actually showing a client what worthiness feels like. The reverberation of this is profound: A client goes into a business to buy a product, and leaves with the ability to access a higher sense of self-worth.
Yet, client appreciation is a high standard. This cannot be understated.
Client appreciation goes beyond “satisfaction.”
This is a crucial point. Satisfaction is about meeting needs and wants, whereas appreciation is about going above and beyond, every single time. And going above and beyond necessitates a significant amount of learning on the part of the business.
To learn, the business must be interested in the client. There must be a change in the conversation from “we are great because …” to “you are amazing and we want to learn about you and what makes you tick so we can best serve you.”
How can you start to create an appreciation-centric business?
This is a good question to ask. And, as it turns out, becoming more appreciation-focused is not difficult. You can start with simple steps. Learn about your clients, take your time with them, and make suggestions that add value.
The key is to be interested, not interesting. The focus is always on the client, never on the business. When client appreciation is the focus, a business can and will find its edge. Why? Because few, if any, businesses understand the value of appreciation.
The following are some examples of how you can build more appreciation into your business:
- Take note of what your clients tell you, record it, and revisit it in future conversations.
- Find common ground with your clients. You can do this through the identification of similar experiences, or even through mirroring techniques.
- Just take the time; do not rush. Give your clients all the time in the world.
- Get active feedback. Cultivate the capacity to be vulnerable enough to learn from your clients and better meet (and exceed) their needs.
Appreciation is the key ingredient for growth in business. When this ingredient is developed, a business becomes innately valuable. Even a business offering usual or conventional products, like a supermarket, can positively influence its clients’ lives.
Appreciation is crucial for business resilience.
Remember: Client appreciation can make a business innately valuable. This means that the business can consistently deliver value irrespective of the product or service offered. And this is significant because it builds business resilience.
As the business does not rise and fall depending upon the product or service offered, it is much stronger. Through a focus on appreciation, the business empowers its clients to see their worth. In this sense, the business, over time, can transform its clients’ lives.