Many people, including many business leaders and even salespeople, seem to find respect unnecessary or unimportant. Some may even consider it unmanly to be overly concerned with respect.
When your prospects and customers know, like and trust you, they’re likely to buy from you. Respect is the quickest route I know to being known, liked and trusted.
Read on for more distinctions on respect and how to show respect for others.
What is Respect?
Respect is considering others’ viewpoints, desires, and feelings. We show respect for others by listening actively to them, learning what’s important to them, and responding to them in a way that acknowledges their presence and importance.
Human beings have a few things they want from relationships and interactions. One of the primary desires of every human being I’ve ever known is to be heard. That’s why people get annoyed when others interrupt. When someone interrupts a speaker, it usually indicates they aren’t listening. Not listening shows disrespect.
It’s also why people get frustrated with automatic answering system menus. These phenomena tell a person that the other person or company isn’t listening to them, making them feel disrespected.
Treating your customers, and everyone you come in contact with, with respect will make your way through business and life much easier and pleasanter. I highly recommend it.
Reasons Why You Should Treat Your Customers with Respect
Whatever your business is, whatever product or service you sell, your customers and prospective customers are your lifeblood. If people aren’t buying what you sell, you don’t have a business.
A maxim in sales is that people buy from those they know, like and trust. Treating your customers and prospects with respect is the simplest and most effective avenue to have them know, like and trust you.
Customer Communication Tips
Here are some general and specific tips that can help you determine if you’re doing all you can to respect others, and treat your customers and others with respect.
These are two different skills. Genuinely respecting others is something you do inside yourself. Treating your customers and others with respect is a matter of social and communication skills.
It’s possible to have the internal feeling of respect for someone and not express it well. However, genuinely communicating respect requires the inner feeling of respect. The social skills and the right words without the internal sense of respect will come across as insincere.
A good general guide is the “platinum rule” (an enhancement of the golden rule) – “Do unto others as they would like to have done unto them.”
The Challenge of Treating Customers with Respect
Here are the specific tips to treat your customers and everyone with respect:
- Listen carefully and completely to the other person, not to formulate your response but to understand their message fully.
- Make it clear that you’re more interested in their well-being than in their money. Of course, you want to be justly compensated…and you will be when you provide the value your customers came to you for.
- When you say something about someone, say it to them, not to others. If you think you shouldn’t say it to them, then don’t say it at all!
- If you must criticize, do it constructively. Explain what would have been better. Negative criticism (just tearing down one’s acts or words) can only damage the relationship and won’t improve results.
- Treat people as if they deserve respect. Find value in their opinions, even if they differ from yours.
- Be polite and courteous. Remember that what’s polite and courteous in one part of the world may be seen negatively in another. Learn the customs where you live and work.
Occasionally you’ll probably encounter people who prove they genuinely do not deserve respect. You probably don’t want them as customers, and you certainly want as little to do with them as possible. Even then, quietly walking away is usually better for everyone, including yourself, than arguing with them or voicing your disrespect. Here’s a good article on respect and communication from a coaching company who’s been studying and teaching these skills for nearly 40 years.
The Importance of Treating Customers with Respect
Treating your customers with respect is a vital part of getting them to know, like, and trust you. Those who know, like and trust you are many times more likely to buy from you than someone who sees you come at them with your selling guns blazing when you haven’t built that mutual respect.
While it’s important to treat your customers with respect, treating everyone you encounter in life – your employees, your boss, your family, your friends, your service providers – with respect will open doors for you every day and everywhere.
Note: Archived issues of The Unity Community are available here. Search that page for keywords representing your particular interest. Most articles offer suggestions for ways of improving business and personal relationships. Keep in mind that business is done by…people. Every business concern is essentially an inter-personal concern.
A “Shot in the Arm” Every Day!
Eric Lofholm, my friend, mentor and sales coach, hosts a 15-minute motivational call every business day. The call is at 7:45 AM Pacific time. Register for it here. You’ll find instructions on how to join the call on Facebook, Zoom, by phone, or in a recording you can access on your schedule.
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