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Let’s get something out of the way. If you’re genuinely a jerk, then this won’t work well. 😉
Genuine means you’re real, not hypocritical. It means you’re YOU. Whatever that is.
I can explain using myself (as always, it’s easier to pick on myself than to pick on somebody else). Here are a few bullet-point factoids about me:
• I’m an introvert. I’m not socially awkward or even reserved, but I don’t gain energy from being around lots of people. I prefer deeper conversations with fewer folks. Outwardly, I can appear like an extrovert though.
• Communication is key for me. Firstly, I’m drawn to other communicators. People who are wall-huggers and so reserved it requires great effort to draw them out…those are NOT my kind of people. I respect them and I understand them, but I’m not likely going to be a good fit for them because it’s honestly just too distracting for me. That’s on me.
• Candidness is important. People who couch everything they say and appear overly measured in their communication exhaust me. Again, I can appreciate and understand them, but that exhaustion factor is a deal-breaker.
Now I could go into a prospective engagement intent on fooling the prospect. I could feign that the way I really am isn’t so much really the way I am. Here’s the problem: that’s really bad for the prospect, should they become my customer and it’s equally bad for me because I don’t be able to deliver the quality of service I want. The money isn’t worth it. For either of us.
But plenty of people do it. They chase the money, no matter what.
This isn’t about being happy as much as it’s about being true to who you are and your core strengths. My core strengths are closely tied to who I am as a personality and communicator.
If you need a person who is the life of the party at a big gathering, I’m not your man. The mere thought of it makes me want to go back to bed.
If you’re a person needing somebody to quietly listen to you as you peel back your most confidential vulnerabilities, sign me up. Right away.
I keep secrets. Always.
I maintain confidences. Always.
I listen intently. Almost always. 😉
I don’t make judgments and tell people what to do. I don’t even have the urge.
I quickly and easily forgive. It’s my top core character strength. Forgiveness.
By knowing these things about myself I can choose to go all in on these, or I can choose to try to be something I’m not. When it comes to attracting customers you can fool some of the people some of the times. You may even be able to fool a lot of the people a lot of the times. But at what cost? To them and to yourself?
I’m unwilling to pay that price or to ask my customers to pay it. We both deserve better.
I’ve got good friends who are quite the opposite from me. They hate sitting down to have deep conversations. And don’t even think they’ll sit still if you want to discuss how you FEEL. Or what you’re THINKING. They’re uncomfortable. Instead, they’re comfortable having conversations that are 100% safe, where there’s no pain, no emotion, no chance for conflict. Good to know. I’d never suggest that any of them roll the way I roll. Instead, I’d suggest they steer clear from doing what I do because faking it would make them miserable. And how good do you think they’d be at it?
That’s what I mean by being genuine.
The hard part is our need for business. We all need business. New business. Repeat business.
Depending on the nature of your business, being genuine can take on a different context. For me, as a solopreneur in the professional services trade, it’s personal to ME. If you’re selling cars and have a sales staff, then it’s less personal to you as the owner of the place, but it’s still relevant. Because YOU drive the culture and the culture is going to be a reflection of you.
Over the years I’ve had some favorite eating places. As a customer – and a prospective customer – I’m fanatical about two things: food and service. And not in that order. I’ll suffer lower quality food for superior service (although it’s funny how rarely that happens). I will not suffer poor service with stellar food. The food just isn’t going to be worth the aggravation to me. That’s personal to me, as the customer.
I’ve known restaurant owners who were fixated on the food. The food was always spectacular. Sometimes the service was equally spectacular. Sometimes not. Hit and miss. Very infrequently have I gone to a place where the food was spectacular and the service was POOR. I assume it could happen though.
The owner to values the food above all else drives a culture that produces great food. He may not get all the fine details of superior service though. He could do one of two things: up his game in that area (not likely something he’ll be able to sustain unless he really experiences a conversion) or hire somebody who is as fanatical about service as he is food (in my opinion, a much better option where both can soar with their strengths).
That’s what I mean by being genuine.
Attracting the right customer mean we have to get very in touch with ourselves as entrepreneurs. We are what we are. Yes, we should grow, improve and develop ourselves…but I’m never going to grow into an extrovert (a person who gains energy by being around a bunch of people). Those situations will always drain my energy. If my business required that behavior I’d need to partner with somebody who had that strength.
So this isn’t about you do you – implying that whoever you are and however you roll is just how it is and how it’ll always be. I’m working daily to get better, but I’m not working to completely change my stripes. I know who and what I am. I want to become a better version of myself, which means I have to lean MORE into my strengths and recognize my weaknesses, which may require somebody else’s help.
That’s partly what leveraging the power of others is all about. Recognizing what others may be able to provide that we can’t. Or something that might be very hard for us, distracting us from being as great as we could be at our strengths.
Be genuine. Figure out how to best dazzle your customers and your prospective customers. Leverage others to help you create the culture and workflow that will produce remarkable results.
Be well. Do good. Grow great!