“How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.”
This quote from Wayne Dyer highlights one of the big truths of having your own business. Your choices define what happens.
Are you exercising your opportunities to make good choices? Do they serve you and your business?
Those are questions to ask yourself, especially when you’re busy and it’s easy to slip into being reactive.
Exercise your freedom of choice to be responsive instead.
This is especially important when dealing with your customers. Make conscious choices about how you want to respond.
Customer responsiveness doesn’t just mean answering quickly, although that’s an important part of showing them that they matter to you.
Responsiveness is also about really listening, deeply listening. What is the undercurrent of what’s being said? What is at the heart of their request or concern?
Another aspect of customer responsiveness is to treat them the way they wish to be treated, as long as it doesn’t compromise your values. Adapt to their style. A good example of this is Jeffrey’s client Amy.
Jeffrey had been following up with Amy regularly, to define what she was looking for from Jeffrey as a real estate agent. It was not going well. Amy responded with short and often unclear replies.
Jeffrey likes to communicate by email. He finds it fast, easy, and productive.
With Amy’s responses, Jeffrey was getting frustrated, and he found himself firing off responses quickly and without considering the tone behind them.
Amy finds email cumbersome. She’s not a writer by nature, and she prefers to talk on the phone.
Once Jeffrey was able to step back from his own reactivity and consider, “What’s behind this difficulty we’re having?”, he asked Amy how she’d like to communicate.
He found out the phone worked better for her. When he understood what was behind Amy’s uncommunicative email style, he became more conscious of his tone again. Over the phone, they were able to finalize their agreement and get underway.
Setting this kind of example, making a new choice about how they communicated, went a long way to smooth Amy’s ruffled feathers and ease her own frustration around written communication.
And it ended with a hefty commission for Jeffrey when he was able to sell her property.
Exercising choice also comes into play when you’re considering who you’d like to work with. Your “ideal clients” are those that are a great fit for you, where you can co-create an environment that allows you to do your best work.
Those choices can make all the difference in your business income. When my client Kim and I worked on defining and choosing her ideal clients, rather than taking every project that came along, things started to shift.
She began to focus her effort around clients that were a great match for her and her business. In doing so, she found joy in those interactions. Work began to have more ease. She increased her income.
Your business is built one choice at a time. One relationship at a time, one customer at a time. Making good choices about those relationships will help your business grow and increase the impact you have.
You don’t make those choices all at once. You make them one situation at a time.
Is your business getting enough exercise? Exercise choice in your business, conscious choice that serves everyone involved. That will keep your business fit for a long time to come.