Bob and I chose Paris to share the last week of 2011. Our initial intent was to disconnect from the everyday and savor the beauty of this “incroyable” city. What we came back with was so much more.
The lesson that we learned was that connection is a way of life, not something that you do in certain business situations. We all know that the French have a reputation for being aloof and condescending towards Americans- I could not disagree more after this week. We found that if you make an effort to speak their language and greet/ acknowledge them while visiting their shops, restaurants and sights then the most magical things happen.
You may be asking “What does this have to do with my business?”. It is an approach that is gaining momentum and addressed in “The New Relationship Marketing” by Mari Smith and other current business books. There is so much “noise” in today’s information age that focused and direct connection is not only unexpected but it is rewarded by those who value your beliefs (and in turn are your most valuable prospects). Connect and there is no competition for you, your new prospects become members of your club and raving fans.
Now, back to the French. Here are my recommendations based on our experience this past week:
1) Meet people “where they are” : Bob and I spoke French when ordering, greeting and inquiring (as best as possible). Speaking others’ “language” goes beyond the literal. What I am suggesting is to be the best communicator as possible by understanding the person across from you and how best to deliver a message. If you are speaking to a Gardener about setting goals then use a planting analogy to get your point across. This heart centered approach versus “my way” ego approach makes a mark and is rewarded.
2) Acknowledge/validate: When Bob and I walked into a shop we lead with “Bonjour Madame/Monsieur”. We made eye contact each time and struck up a conversation with each proprietor who knew “un peu” English. Upon leaving we exchanged “Mercie” and “Au Revoir”. What I learned this year from my own sales experiences is that most pros do not take the time to understand what is going through the minds of their potential clients that critical period right before they make the decision to say “yes”. When I sensed this inability to acknowledge what was going through my mind by others, I was lead to say “no” to opportunities presented to me. Take the time to acknowledge and validate through phrases like “people in your situation often ___________ ” and you will be greeted with a “yes” more times than not.
3) Stop and smell the roses: All week we enjoyed every street we walked down, every bite of croissant, and the light that hits Paris at 5P. Having this approach to life drives an appreciation that paints every corner of your life with a newness that has you excited to greet each day with excitement. An “it’s all good” attitude is the strongest magnet you can wield to attract success into your life.
If you haven’t guessed already, “Je t’aime Paris”. I am laying out my plan for the coming year with what I have learned about human connection this week. Being as approachable, interested and appreciative as possible will be my daily mantra. C’est bon!
Love and Light, Dawn