Winning Clients with Empathy

A few days ago, I visited with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. She told me the reason for the longer duration between visits was due to a brain tumor she had recently removed.

Needles to say, I was floored. Though I became quite emotional, I restrained myself in order to begin my natural style of empathetic probing to understand her epic journey and recovery.

Through her recounting of the ordeal, she spoke glowingly of the surgeon she chose for the resection along with the surgeons she didn’t. The surgeons she walked away from made her feel like a number with hardly any understanding of her actual physiology or the procedure they would perform.

The surgeon she hired came to her bedside with iPad photos of her MRI and X-rays and walked her through the exact procedure he would perform. She felt special and, more importantly, she said because of his explanation and humanity, “I wasn’t afraid, I was ready for it.”

Put Your Clients at Ease

At that moment it hit me. Our responsibility as consultants, business leaders and managers is to make clients feel the same way…at ease.

This past week I received a phone call from a potential client who began her conversation with the phrase: ”I’m in a pickle.” I listened for several minutes about her frustration and recommended we meet.

Hear Them Out, Then Recommend

During our meeting, I fully vetted the frustrations she experienced while trying to find a coach for her executive team. I realized throughout her search she had not felt confident in the people she’d interviewed nor confident in their coaching methodology.

I knew I could help and offered to create a program for her team. As our conversation came to a close, she asked me for my fee for this program. I responded by saying unless I meet with each executive and personally interview them, I couldn’t quote a fee. She smiled and said “let’s get started.” I did a bit of a double take and asked how she came to this automatic decision. She said no one else was concerned about her executives enough to want to meet them.

This interaction, along with my friend reminded me of my father’s great bedside manner with a patient. He would draw the entire operation out and explain every inch of the procedure to instill confidence in them.

My wish for you as a leader is you embody the humanity of a surgeon throughout your client interactions. It pays off!