When we first started our business, having clients over for consultations would make my heart race, palms sweat and tongue twisted. Obviously, extreme nervousness to say the least. I needed a way to work through this so we could effectively communicate with our clients and take great care of them. So I started observing Brandon’s father, William Horn. He is a master at making you feel extremely comfortable in a conversation, even if he just met you 5 minutes prior. One can literally talk to him for hours.
1.) Prepare Notes, Then Toss Them
Makes sense right?! Ok, so what we do is send our clients a few questions to answer before our consultation, it helps us get to know them a bit + take better care of them as we move forward. (And no we don’t toss the notes literally, we keep them on file.) However, we don’t rely on just the answers to the questions via email, once our clients arrive for the consultation we asks the questions in person too. Make sure this time is not scripted, prepare in advance for what you would like to ask. A better, more casual approach is to stay in the moment so conversation flows naturally. This allows our clients to be comfortable enough to open up and reveal something real and true about themselves. Body language and interaction is essential to good communication, therefore, seeing our clients smile and holding hands as they tell us their love story is priceless + helps us get to know them personally.
2.) Match Your Clients– in mood, energy level, language and body language
We are all great at this when we are with someone we adore and do it without even trying. If they are full of energy and excited so are we, if they are calm and mellow so are we – its a subliminal cue to show that you’re fully present in the conversation. Keep this in mind when your clients arrive. If they are calm + mellow and you are a crazy ball of jitter energy it will make the first meeting very awkward. And vice versa, if they are excited + full of energy but you look as if your board out of your mind, this will not make for a good connection. Invest in your clients + their mood, be present and in the moment with them.
3.) Listen Well
Listening goes beyond words; the tone in which the words are said, the pauses, body language and nuances of the conversation are just as important. When you truly listen, the opening for off the cuff questions arise and spark beautiful conversations creating real connections.
4.) Genuine Curiosity
All of the above techniques are key for all conversation, but they don’t really work without one simple quality: genuine curiosity. A true passion for learning more about your clients goes further than any thing else you can do. To cultivate genuine curiosity in your daily life notice details within your conversations. Dive deeper into the shared ideas that grab your interest and be alert to those around you and what makes them come alive.
5.) Pause Button
To be honest, for me, this one is difficult. Once the conversation is flowing beautifully, getting caught up in story sharing can be so easy and so much fun. But, we must remember that our clients come first and their time is valuable. We must resist the urge to tell that one story that always makes everyone die laughing and instead focus on what our clients are sharing with us. It will be hard at first, but trust me, you will be amazed at the end result.
For us, the end results come in the photographs, when we can capture the truest part of who are clients are + their unique love stories.