Charismatic leaders have learned how to be there in the moment, attracting followers they have made to feel special. Just as you can learn personal charismatic presence, your business can be right there in the now to win the attention and appreciation of your customers.
Here are three ways you can make your business glow with charismatic presence.
1. Get closer to your customer
If you have a shop or restaurant, be there when your customer walks in. On vacation in Taos, New Mexico, I noticed that every time I walked into a shop, I was greeted immediately with a friendly "hello" and an enthusiastic “Please let me know how I can help you” from an owner or a clerk. The wording was so similar as I entered each shop that I figured someone in that town had spread the word that tourists will buy when someone welcomes them. But the conversation with customers that followed was unique to each shop. The shop owners revealed some of their personal history – how they got there, where they came from. They told stories behind the items they carried, who the craftsman was, the traditional meaning of the object. I found myself buying something just to remember the interaction with the shop owner or clerk and a snippet of local history.
How long does it take for your staff to notice and connect with someone who walks in? Do they engage with customers within 60 seconds? Are they truly present for customers or are they preoccupied with shelving products or talking on the phone? Do you have enough staff available to greet and attend to all customers during the busiest times?
Simply increasing the number of salespeople won't create charismatic presence. Visitors will only be discouraged, if your staff lurks timidly behind the counters, tails them through the aisles, or nags them with suggestions. The presence of your business depends on you and your staff’s ability to exhibit presence as individuals. Luckily, as I mentioned in an earlier post, charismatic presence is a skill that can be learned.
Get out to get close with potential customers. Show up at community gatherings, participate in causes that your customers and prospects care about. Hold trainings and provide demonstrations. If your customers visit Mommy Blogs or attend entrepreneurial Meetup Groups, make sure you or your representatives are there and participating. If you sell products for active kids, have your name on banners at swim meets and soccer matches. If your customers tend to be cultured retirees, have your business present at in the symphony program or the art museum gala. Get to know the people who associate with your customers, their professional consultants, and their suppliers.
To get even closer, take your business out to their location. If you are a tutoring business, offer tutoring in the home, if you are a massage therapist or yoga instructor offer on-site visits to offices. Offer to teach violin lessons or tutor math at community centers, schools, or local churches.
Make sure your website and social media posts are current, updated, and relevant to your customers. You can’t be in sync with your customers when your last updates announce an event from a year ago. They won’t wonder “where are you now?” They’ll assume your business has gone adrift and forgotten about them.
If your business is internet-based, your website and social media presence are essential to exhibiting charismatic presence. Videos of you speaking to real people and talking intimately to your website visitors will help establish you and your business as more present. Look and listen to other business websites. Find sites that draw you in. What photos, colors, sounds, and language make you feel closer in time and space to the people who own and run the business? I have found that businesses I feel closer use videos to present their owners and staff close-up with real outdoor or cozy office settings.
Use your website and social media to connect with your customers regularly. Ask your customers what they need directly with surveys and discussion topics. Start conversations in your store and on the phone, so you can discover what they need as you come more closely connected. Respond to questions quickly to show you are indeed right there.
2. Give your customer the star treatment
I've noticed that I am treated more attentively at a department store when I show up in a stylish suit and heels. What if your business started treating all your customers as if they dressed fashionably, looked like models, and came in with an entourage?
Imagine that you run an exclusive shop for the rich and famous. If you're selling auto parts, treat each of your customers as if they were buying parts for a Lamborghini Veneno even if they are buying parts for a Nissan Versa. If you are demonstrating low cost skincare products with a free facial in your home, speak to your customer with tones appropriate to an elegant spa seen only in the movies.
Provide an attractive ambiance suitable for a VIP. This means more than clean floors and bold signage. It means your staff dresses respectfully and appropriately. Think Downton Abbey updated. The conversations between you and your staff and among your employees heighten the positive experience of the customer.
Don’t think that your customers won’t notice negative interplay among your employees. A customer will certainly not feel like a valued guest if arguments ensue in front of them. Recently while I was getting dental work, my dentist so harshly criticized his new hygienist that her tears fell upon my cheek. Although his dentistry skills were exemplary, he no longer is my dentist. That was an extreme case, but even bored looks exchanged between employees or angry glances between husband and wife co-owners, can ruin a customer's positive experience and send them fleeing.
Being in the now for your customer, means granting their desire for immediate gratification. Show them through words and processes that your business values your customer's time. No one feels like a VIP when hunting aisle after aisle for a salesperson, standing in sluggish lines holding heavy items, or coming back repeatedly to get a product that works. If your customer must wait for your service, make the chairs elegant and comfortable, the paintings on the wall chic, and the reading material high class. Better yet, keep them anticipating great service while they wait. Give them a questionnaire, or a personal interview, about what they really want. Then get them to prioritize their needs and desires.
VIP treatmenWhen a customer walks in the door, give them the same wide-eyed recognition that you would a movie star. But keep it a bit hush, hush, so their privacy is preserved. Temper your star-struck attitude, with the attitude of “this could be my new best friend.” They will more likely be your new best customer.
3. Make your customer feel brilliant
Salespeople with charismatic presence make trusting relationships, because they listen, and are patient. These salespeople avoid raising red flags of mistrust, by adding services or products that aren’t needed to a sale and disrupt the positive vibe of the moment.
Review the pitches you or your salespeople use, the content on your website, and words in emails for insulting or demeaning language. Treat customers and potential customers as responsible, successful, sophisticated people. That means no cheap gimmicks in an attempt to flatter them. Your savvy customers expect better than that. And, as VIPs. they deserve better than that!
In a charismatically-present business, technical repair and customer service staff do more than address problems. They relieve anxieties and boost confidence that the customer has done the right thing. Just as they value a customer's time, they should confirm his intelligence. They don’t belittle the attempts that the customer has made to solve the problem on his own, but do emphasize how right he was to bring the issue or item to your business for a solution. Make sure you and your staff make the service experience one more reason that your customers are convinced that they made the smart choice to go with you.
Because you and your staff view a customer as smart, you follow their advice and give them more of what they really want. You start to carry items because she asks for them. You mention that you are excited to have what she has been so smart to buy in the past in a new color. You let visitors to your store overhear how your customer has helped you choose a special item that become crazily popular. Soon your smart customers, will feel even wiser to patronize a business they can confidently recommend to their friends.
A culture of presence draws more customers
Take some time to consider the many other ways that your particular place of business, your website, your social media interactions, and your staff can be more present for your customers. Remember that if you eventually plan to sell your business, your leadership personality will exit with you. Only if you develop a culture that maintains your brand of charismatic customer service, will your magnetic presence continue on.
In the comments section below, please share your thoughts and any ways to develop an atmosphere of charismatic presence that have worked in your business or in businesses you know. Also, if you think this charisma stuff is a lot of malarkey, let me know that, too.