In high school, I struggled horribly with geometry. I would stay after school for help, work with study buddies and tutors, but I still could not perform on those blasted math tests.
One day my mom received a recommendation for a tutor who helped creative students with math.This magical creature walked into my house, where I sat annoyed and frustrated to meet yet another person, who like her predecessors would simply not be able to help me. I felt like shouting, “Listen, lady, let me save you some time here. I can’t do it.”
Out of respect (or fear) for my mom, I held my tongue. The tutor unpacked big sheets of clean white paper and all kinds of colored markers – as many shades one could imagine and they were all mine to use.
But wait, everyone knows you’re supposed to do teenage math in pencil. She didn’t know or she didn’t care. This was how she did math. This woman believed that if I could “see” the angles by identifying each type with a certain color, then I would be able to solve my proof faster. I was skeptical to say the least.
But she was right.
After just a couple of sessions, everything started to click. She identified my frustration, anxiety and self-loathing at not being able to pass a stupid test that my classmates were flying through and gave me what I wanted: a means to understand math that made sense to me.
She got into my head space and figured out what would make my life easier, not hers. (She already understood geometry backward and forward.)
My self-esteem skyrocketed. Did I get an A in geometry for the semester? No. Did my grade rise fairly effortlessly to a solid B? Yes.
So what does this have to do with business, selling and customer service?
Plenty. Follow this four-step formula to provide your clients and customers stellar service:
1. Clearly solve a business problem.
My tutor took a problem I had: the complete inability to understand what I needed to see in those geometry problems to learn and ultimately pass a test. She then solved it for me: She assessed in the manner of Howard Gardner (the theorist about multiple types of intellegience) that I was a creative type not wired in the logical-mathematical way of some of my peers and made things easy for me.
She created positive emotions for me about a subject I had previously loathed with a little creative ingenuity, and by doing so I no longer saw myself as stupid, dense or impossible to teach.
2. Create your own tribe.
By honing in on a specific niche, creative teenage girls who struggled in math, my tutor created a tribe of loyal followers, referral sources and evangelists. This is exactly what Seth Godin talked about in his book, Tribes.
3. Speak the client’s language, regardless of your native tongue.
Many people might argue that I should have just learned the material like everyone else and moved on, accepting that math just wasn’t my thing.
But this tutor didn’t agree. She realized that if she could present the material in a way that made sense to me, I actually might learn it, maybe even kind of like it and by doing so, I would helpher grow her business in the process.
Her secret sauce was to use color in unlocking the code to the geometry knowledge that had been previously been inaccessible to me.
4. Identify desired emotional outcomes.
My mom would have gifted our house as thanks to this tutor for saving my GPA and self-esteem in one fell swoop.
Entrepreneurs can create similar miraculous results for their clients. Happy customers will feel an emotional connections to your company’s brand, won’t be able live without your services and will be so appreciative that you’re the one person who gets them that they’ll do anything to continue the relationship.