I was in a church meeting where we were having a round table discussion about what we could do to increase the love we have for our wives. Those who have been students of mine, or who have read previous blog posts know I love relating branding in business to the relationships we have during this life. There are so many parallels!
The suggestions given about during this meeting inspired this post. As you read this, I encourage you to read it both as someone who would like to strengthen their relationship with someone they love AND as someone involved in the day-to-day grind of running a business.
Date night is awesome, but not always easy. It’s hard to make time for this with all the hustle and bustle of life. Likewise, how often do we take the time as a business for “date night?” This is about conversations. If you aren’t listening, asking questions, and learning more about who they are you will have it rough time as time goes on. Make the time for the important people in your life or business. There can be a lot of distractions. It comes down to managing those distractions and prioritizing the things that matter.
Relationships can seem to just 'be there’ and it's easy to take our wives (customers) for granted. We assume they will always be there when in fact that relationship is an important project in our life (business) that needs focus and attention.
Pray to love your wife more
Praying to love our customers? Sure, if you want. The point here is to have the true authentic desire to want to know them and grow with them. People can spot inauthenticity from a mile away. By pondering ways to make things better for your customer, or how you can strengthen yourself, you can show the true nature of who you are.
Grow spiritually together not just logistically
Logistically growing together means making sure kids are transported to their different activities in a timely manner, coordinating household duties, who takes care of homework, etc. In business, this would mean all the procedural and transactional things that take place. The mundane tasks that keep things moving, but don’t necessarily contribute to overall growth.
This is obvious for us when it comes to business. Unfortunately, when it comes to serving our wives, not so much. It probably comes down to the idea of taking that relationship for granted. There is some level of comfort knowing you’ve made a commitment together and they will always be there (which we know isn’t reality), but the more we serve someone, the more we show our appreciation for them and their support for us. Service isn’t always easy. The act of going the extra mile, putting aside our own personal desires, and not seeking recognition for the service we provide is what creates the love and loyalty we all desire.
Anticipate her next step
How well do you know your customer? Can you anticipate their actions, buying habits, complaints, or desires? The more you seek to understand, the more you learn from past experiences, and the longer you spend building each other up, the more you’ll be able to anticipate their needs. This is the perfect opportunity to serve and to make people feel like they are a top priority.
Unexpected gifts at unexpected times
The element of surprise is one of the best things you can do. It doesn’t take a lot but can reward you a great deal in the end. A simple note, a small act of kindness, showing up unexpectedly somewhere, are all little ways you can be spontaneous. Unlike the “service” topic above, I’m willing to bet being spontaneous is one thing that helped you fall in love in the first place. When it comes to our customers, this might be tougher. What else can you do besides Black Friday sales or Labor Day sales to surprise your customers and create memorable experiences?
Having compassion for your wife or customer differs from actual empathy.
Compassion is having a sympathetic consciousness of another’s distress along with a desire to alleviate it.
Empathy means to vicariously experience the thoughts and feelings of another.
What can we do to put ourselves in their shoes? How can we even begin to understand the thoughts and feelings of another? Not that we’d do this with our wives, but Empathy Mapping is one way we have learned to understand customers more.
David Bednar said, “Character is revealed in the power to discern the suffering of other people when we ourselves are suffering; in the ability to detect the hunger of others when we are hungry; and in the power to reach out and extend compassion for the agony of others when we are in the midst of our own distress. Character is demonstrated by looking and reaching outward when the natural and instinctive response is to be self-absorbed and turn inward.”
Serving our wife or customer is one thing, but serving WITH them in different capacities is another. When we serve together we are acting as a team, a single unit to provide someone else with the opportunity to grow or move forward. It solidifies our positioning creating the sense of alignment when it comes to goals and how we can make the world a better place. Nonprofits and other organizations that exist to benefit society come to mind. These organizations understand what it means to serve together. How can you apply this to your for-profit organization? How can you serve your customers better together to help everyone feel they are part of something greater?
the final question
At the end of this specific round table discussion, we were encouraged to ask ourselves this final question.
Am I being the kind of husband my wife wants me to be?
At the end of the day, that’s what matters. Does she feel loved, appreciated, and valued?
My wife received some good counsel from a spiritual leader in her life when she was in college. She had made some decisions in her life during her teenage years that weren’t ideal (which NEVER happens as a teenager, right?). He asked her what kind of man she wanted to marry. She answered, “Maybe a Dr., or someone with a heart for doing good in the world. Someone with compassion and love for me and our children. Someone who will listen and love me no matter what.” He then asked her, “Do you think that kind of man would want to marry you?”
I’ll ask you the same thing when it comes to your business. Are you being the kind of company that someone would want to be associated with? If not, then it’s time to rethink who you are and what you stand for.
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