Being an entrepreneur, business owner and community leader comes with pressure. As key pillars of your communities, you know that the more you sell your activities and grow your business, the more you can offer your members. Whether you train, teach, mentor, coach or supervise, you create a lot of value for your community and have a positive effect on your clients’ lives. So how do you keep that up while ensuring you meet your business goals?
In this article, Shai shares three important yet easy to learn elements of client and team communication that are crucial for creating client-relationships that last and will support the growth of your business:
- Practice empathizing with your potential client and relating to their challenges
- Be inquisitive about how they’ve approached their challenges by using the “take me to Hawaii” method
- Lead your team or staff by making goals clear and staying connected so that they become great communicators and advocates for your activity-based business.
Curious? Let’s dive in with Shai!
Ask Questions and Establish a Relationship with Empathy
When Shai first began his career, he didn’t know the power that each word he used had and the effect it could have on a potential client: “I put my foot in my mouth so many times.” Learning from experience, he noticed that the way he asked questions made a huge difference to how his audience reacted. “Rather than saying ‘why haven't you done this yet?’, try empathizing with them and then ask a question.”
“For example, if I was a gym owner I’d say: ‘Being active consistently isn’t easy; how have you been trying to achieve your fitness goals up until now?’” Shai says that this makes you a problem identifier rather than a problem solver, which begins your relationship as a collaborative team effort. This ultimately establishes understanding and trust between you and your new member.
At Amilia, our clients often share that the empathetic relationships they have developed with Amilians significantly enhanced their experience of our service. No wonder they call empathy a superpower!
“Rather than saying ‘why haven't you done this yet?’, try empathizing with them and then ask a question.”
Let the Customer Decide
When a potential customer shows up at your door, that person might be facing a challenge. Whether it be that they haven't been hitting their fitness goals, that the registration is full for the class they originally wanted or that they need help with childcare, they may already feel frustrated or discouraged. While you probably already have several ideas for how your program or business can help, you can sense the tension and want to go about making them in the right way. This is where one of Shai’s favorite tips comes in. It’s called: “Take me to Hawaii.” So if you like pina coladas...
“It’s a prompt that reminds you to ask questions – rather than just suggest solutions.” When you put the questions “how” and “why” together it sounds like Hawaii (can you hear the ocean waves?) The next time a potential client comes in with a problem, you can ask “how have you been trying to solve this?” and “why isn’t it working for you?” Then when a customer makes a decision on their own, it’s also more likely that they stick with their choice. “By asking questions and being curious about the person’s situation, they feel seen. It also allows them to feel like they come to the decision themselves without being forced or oversold on it.”
One of the reasons Shai believes so strongly in this particular tip is because “when you stop selling and start asking, that’s how a client recognizes your commitment to them!”
“By asking questions and being curious about the person’s situation, they feel seen. It also allows them to feel like they come to the decision themselves without being forced or oversold on it.”
Inspire and be inspired by your team!
The next point shifts away from your potential client and towards your team. You might be asking, “how does communicating with your staff drive business growth?” (It wasn’t clear for me at the beginning either.) Shai explains that “with the right tools and coaching, your employees can be the best advocates for your organization.” Your staff are on the frontlines (or should we say, at the front desk) greeting potential members and clients or interacting with them daily during classes and activities, which means they are the key to connecting and communicating with your community because they are best positioned to learn about their interests, their motivations, and desires.
“A leader is a good coach that makes your business goals simple and clear.” Shai also says that repeating these goals is key. “I sometimes like to call myself Chief Repetition Officer because a staff that is reminded of their mission and has a clear vision of how they are working together is a team that achieves their goals.” We like the sound of that!
Another benefit of implementing a strong team communication strategy is to help your people and businesses through valleys and peaks. “Maintaining passion and grit is not always easy. Always check in with your team, talk about where they are at and have training sessions. From this, you can see who is having success and encourage them to take the time to connect and learn from each other, for example.” says Shai. You can stay inspired and power through those valleys by spending time with the people who share your passion and goals. A connected team is a strong one!
You’ve got this!
We’ve all been there: you’re in the middle of an argument with our partner or family member and you just can’t seem to get your point across. Or maybe you’re trying to explain your new job to your parent who just “doesn’t get it.” Navigating the ins and outs of communication in our daily lives can be a challenging task, we know! While we can’t promise you that these strategies will help you at home, we know that with these tips, communicating with potential clients will get easier! The more you implement them, the more you’ll see how these strategies will help you grow your business, membership and increase revenue to help you offer even more to your community.