Many of us are so used to transactional conversations in business that we don’t expect the other person to care. Jamiil Gaston, Lawrence Tech ’12, is a mortgage pre-licensing and sales instructor at the nation’s largest mortgage lender. His company handles the largest transaction that most Americans will complete in their lives — so he knows a little bit about the dynamics of crucial conversations.
“Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” Gaston says this mantra can transform our interactions in business and life. While it is important, of course, to know what you’re talking about, Gaston says showing that you care can be one of the biggest opportunities to succeed in business. When you do, a client may realize they’ve found a go-to expert for life.
Here are Gaston’s five tips for showing your clients you care.
- Actively listen. Really listen. Don’t look at your email or have the TV on; just focus on the conversation between you and the other person. Gaston recommends active listening through taking notes, paraphrasing what they’ve said (“So what you’re saying is …”), and giving verbal cues of acknowledgment (like, “That makes sense.” and “Gotcha.”). Active listening is simple but powerful.
- Show empathy. When people call their mortgage lender, Gaston says, they’re often going through a hard time, like a death in the family, divorce or job loss. When there’s a challenge in someone’s life, showing empathy gives the client confidence that you’re there to help. Seeking to understand their situation in depth lets them know you hear them and that you will help them find a solution.
- Family matters. People love talking about their families. Asking about their families helps you get to know the client and shows them that you care. This builds rapport and leads to better outcomes for both of you. How many kids do they have? What are their names, ages or hobbies? This is a challenging time; how do they spend their time together as a family? Focusing on the client’s family helps you completely understand their situation and may even change what products or services you recommend.
- Use names. Again, a simple tip that can be quite powerful. The more you can say the client’s name, the more likely they are to do business with you. Call them by their name when you’re talking to them, and mention them by name when talking to coworkers.
- Dig deep. Do your best to truly understand a client’s situation. Gaston recommends this rule: Always ask one more question. Take the time to ask one more question on every call, no exceptions, every time. It shows people that you truly care about them.
If you focus on showing people you care, you will not only help more clients and build your reputation, you’ll also be more satisfied with your interactions every day. It starts and ends with how much you care about people.
Brother Gaston serves as SigEp district governor for the state of Michigan. You can view his IGTV video here.