How are You Really Doing?
“How are you really doing?” I offer a story on how asking this question of a client yielded unexpected answers. This client’s responses disrupted my agenda for the conversation, but led to ways to provide extraordinary value I might not have known without digging deeper. The Price and Value Journey is presented by John Ray and produced by the North Fulton studio of Business RadioX®.
And hello again, I’m John Ray on the Price and Value Journey. How are you really doing? Chick-Fil-A employees are known for responding with “My pleasure” to the thank you they receive when they hand over the food. It said that Chick-Fil-A founder, Truett Cathy, got the idea from the Ritz Carlton and made the practice standard at his company.
Recently, I was at a Chick-Fil-A, I received my order, and somewhat absentmindedly responded with, “Awesome! Have a great day,” instead of “Thank you.” Our server responded with, “My pleasure,” a response which while fulfilled the company mandate didn’t quite fit the situation. The server’s mistake is hardly isolated. I’ve done it several times myself and more than several times actually responding with the rote script, if you will, which all of us use in our daily lives without thinking too much about it.
So, what would it look like in a conversation with a client or anyone else, for that matter, if you turn that script on its head? What would happen if the conversation started this way?
You: How’s it going today?
Client: Okay. How about you?
You: Great. And how are you really doing?
I did that not long ago, and I could sense that something wasn’t right with this client and I said, “Okay, you’re doing fine. But how’s it really going with you right now?” This client proceeded to tell me how personally dragged down they were with their practice, how they lost enthusiasm for waking up and diving into the day.
My intentions for the conversation suddenly shifted. “Why do you think you feel this way?” I responded. Quite some time later, we ended up in a much different place than I could have originally envisioned when the conversation started. While my agenda was disrupted, the conversation achieved what the client needed at the time – a safe space to unload some emotional baggage.
As advisers, we have our education, certifications and experience. We think what we’re paid for is to have answers. Sure, that’s true, but that’s a baseline. All advisors are supposed to have the answers. The differentiator for you as an adviser is often the questions you’re willing to ask. Sometimes, those questions are uncomfortable or may seem out of context. Sometimes, they don’t fit your script. Yet, the right questions give us the insights we need to understand the problems our clients or prospects have, which are most urgent for them.
Effective questions deepen relationships. Deeper relationships in turn, create more value for you as the professional services adviser. Effective questions will often reveal a few problems, which we can’t solve. That’s what happened in my redirected client conversation. Just having the freedom to express frustrations openly, though, helped relieve some of the stress this individual was carrying around, which they felt they couldn’t share.
Knowledge and answers are our stock in trade is professional services advisers, yet often it’s the quality of the questions which are even more vital. I’m John Ray on the Price and Value Journey. If you’d like to know more, go to JohnRay.co or email me directly, John@JohnRay.co.
About The Price and Value Journey
The title of this show describes the journey all professional services providers are on: building a services practice by seeking to convince the world of the value we offer, helping clients achieve the outcomes they desire and trying to do all that at pricing which reflects the value we deliver.
If you feel like you’re working too hard for too little money in your solo or small firm practice, this show is for you. Even if you’re reasonably happy with your practice, you’ll hear ways to improve both your bottom line as well as the mindset you bring to your business.
The show is produced by the North Fulton studio of Business RadioX® and can be found on all the major podcast apps. The complete show archive is here.
John Ray, Host of The Price and Value Journey
John Ray is the host of The Price and Value Journey.
John owns Ray Business Advisors, a business advisory practice. John’s services include advising solopreneur and small professional services firms on their pricing. John is passionate about the power of pricing for business owners, as changing pricing is the fastest way to change the profitability of a business. His clients are professionals who are selling their “grey matter,” such as attorneys, CPAs, accountants and bookkeepers, consultants, marketing professionals, and other professional services practitioners.
In his other business, John is a Studio Owner, Producer, and Show Host with Business RadioX®, and works with business owners who want to do their own podcast. As a veteran B2B services provider, John’s special sauce is coaching B2B professionals to use a podcast to build relationships in a non-salesy way which translate into revenue.
John is the host of North Fulton Business Radio, Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Radio, Nashville Business Radio, Alpharetta Tech Talk, and Business Leaders Radio. house shows which feature a wide range of business leaders and companies. John has hosted and/or produced over 1,100 podcast episodes.