To connect with your community of clients, being friendly and approachable are key qualities. Central to the ongoing success of any customer-service business is the desire to nurture and develop the connection with clients. For your business, you want to become a regular part of your clients life, just like buying groceries or filling the car with gas or getting a blow-dry.
To be successful at holding on to clients - putting knowledge and teaching skills completely aside - being likable is a huge part of your brand and of building a strong business.
You know how sometimes you just gel with some people, or you look at a business website or Facebook page, and you think “I like this - I want to know more”. This is the power of likeability.
We generally like:
1. People who are familiar - people who we know of, or have heard of, who have been recommended to us, or with whom we have frequent contact.
2. People who are similar - people who we have something in common with, who are like us, with similar interests or opinions, are from the same area or support the same sports teams.
3. People who are genuinely interested in us, our concerns and values - people who understand us, people who like us, people who are genuine, people who make us feel relevant, people who elevate us.
4. People who make themselves easy to like in return - people who are polite, positive, non-judgmental, people who elevate our mood, people who make us feel safe and welcome, people who are humble.
Being likable is powerful!
Research shows that if someone likes you they are more likely to say yes to you. Imagine what progress would happen if your clients said yes to everything you suggested! Yes to that exercise, yes to trying again, yes to coming back, yes to writing you a fantastic testimonial.
We are naturally attracted to people who have similar values, beliefs and experiences even if we’ve never met! We support political candidates who are most like us. We support charities who’s cause we most believe in, and we support businesses who share our passions.
First impressions these days are often made long before anyone meets in person. So why not share a couple of lines in your bio about your personal background, hobbies or favorite past-times. Something that distinguishes you from your fellow instructors or local studios that will help clients connect with you before they even meet you.
Now, I’m not endorsing being “fake”! But, that personal connection is deeply important to your business success.
A warm, welcoming and friendly approach will keep people inside your business.
Become a familiar presence in your local community and your online community. Share regular updates of studio news on social media, be a part of local school events and consider offering a special promotion to local businesses.
Ask your clients about themselves and their life. This will offer you the opportunity to connect more deeply with them, and it may also help you understand why they come to you and how you can help them progress more effectively.
"OK, but… they are still a client at the end of the day."
Yes, there is a line! You are in a business relationship, and you should never lose sight of that. It’s important to make boundaries clear from the very beginning. Have a cut-off time for being responsive to clients, say 8 pm. Make it all about your clients in the studio but outside the studio be careful about overstepping the boundary and allowing your clients into your non-work-time. Meeting a client outside of the studio makes them a friend, friends get “mates rates”… and that’s not a road you want to take for your business. Keep your clients as clients, and your friends and friends and most importantly be transparent about what your clients should expect from you and your business.