At Lemonade Stand, one of our core values is to “Listen… Really… Listen.” We believe that listening to people will set you apart and is really the only way you build a relationship that will last forever and will actually mean something to the people involved.
A great example of this value comes from a chain of car dealerships found locally here in the state of Utah.
This dealership has had a long-running campaign called “We Hear You.” The ads are always really clever and usually involve some kind of ridiculous scenario where it would be almost impossible to hear someone and then a tagline “We’d still hear you.”
The point of these ads is that in the car-buying industry the customer has, for a long time, felt like they aren’t really heard. They go into a dealership and mention a few things that they’re looking for in a car, then they’re taken over to a few cars, way out of the budget that they specified with a lot more features or “must-haves” than what they originally asked for. They’re constantly being upsold and never feel like they’re really listened to.
Well, turns out, being listened to is something that matters to people. It builds trust and fosters loyalty. It’s a necessity when you actually care about someone and genuinely want to take care of them as your customer.
Ken Garff understands that and has made it the company’s main point of focus to make sure that its customers are being listened to, and it has become one of the most successful dealerships I have ever heard of. They have repeat customers and new customers coming in all the time. People want to be listened to!
Build Then Bless
One of the ways that we are able to put this value into action is through our favorite company program called Build Then Bless.
This little program is the way that we are able to empower our own team members to listen to the needs of other people and then fulfill those needs. We encourage our team to be out building and blessing wherever they might be, but another big part of Build Then Bless is within our own team and with our wonderful clients!
So, how do we listen to and then bless our clients? Well, when our clients are talking, we try to pay attention to the small details of things that they say. Things that could easily be glazed over or given a polite “how cool!” This might be something like, “we’re having a baby soon and couldn’t be more excited!” Or even “my sister is having a baby next month…” or “We have a team member getting married soon.” etc. etc. The list goes on and on.
Our team members pay attention to things like that, and we love to celebrate people! Once that conversation is over we might pull up the wedding/baby shower registry to see if there is something we could help out with. We might send a card with a handwritten note and a gift card. Maybe it’s someone’s work anniversary, and we know of something that they’ve been really wanting (because we were listening), so we’re able to send that out to them.
This might look different for each client, but that’s kind of the whole point. When you listen (really listen) to people, you get a feel for what kind of a gift would be super special to them.
We try to do the same thing for all of our team members as well. I don’t know of a single person on our team who hasn’t received some kind of thoughtful gift for whatever cool thing is happening in their life—or even the not-so-cool things. We also try to listen for when people are having a hard time or passing through a rough situation. We’re a support to them and do whatever we can to help them through it. We wouldn’t even know that people are going through tough times though if we weren’t listening.
Listening is key to preserving and building up these relationships.
Listening doesn’t always have to end in giving a gift! We love to give gifts, but we also try to show that we are listening in all situations. When a client calls in, our main goal is not to get them off the phone as quickly as possible so that we can move on to the rest of the things we have to get done that day. We really strive to listen to them and to help out with whatever situation they called in about.
This starts at the very beginning! When a potential client reaches out to us, we begin the relationship by listening intently to whatever it is that they need. We then build out a personalized quote with only the services that will best help them achieve the goals that they have in mind and send it on over to them. We don’t try to sell people on things they don’t need. That’s not a great way to show that you’re listening to them.
We only try to solve the problems that we know these people have.
A Quick Story About Listening
When I was first getting to know the amazing people at Lemonade Stand, we had a few interviews. This story is detailed out here, so I’ll keep this brief.
At the time, I was still taking a few of the exams to get my CPA license. One of the interviews we had was a few days before one of my exams. Somebody must have asked a simple question like “what are your plans this weekend?” and I probably responded with a few things and then threw in the fact that I had one of my exams that weekend or something like that. What I’m getting at here is that I barely mentioned this at all.
Well, that didn’t stop all of the great listeners over at Lemonade Stand from picking up on that.
Right before the exam, I got a little email from the CEO of the entire company wishing me (a guy who was just interviewing with them) good luck on my exam.
I literally could not believe that he had remembered nor that he had taken the time to send that over to me. It was amazing and made me feel so valued by them even though we weren’t even working together yet. That was the cool part. That didn’t matter to him. He was just listening to a fellow human being, caught word that said human being was about to take an incredibly difficult exam, and sent out a bit of good luck simply because he was a caring person.
It was awesome!
It was one of the things that really tipped me over the edge and made me know for sure that I wanted to work with these people.
Listening builds relationships.
How can you Live This Core Value?
So how can you live out this core value?
It might be difficult to actually put this into practice, but the principle behind this is incredibly simple.
Let other people talk to you. Take a back seat for a minute and just listen to all of the things that they are saying to you. Really let them talk!
Part of that is also to stop thinking so hard about what you’re going to say next or all of the things that you have to say to them. Let them talk and then respond to the things that they said. Don’t just move on to the other items that you wanted to talk about. Make the conversation about them and actually focus on what they’re saying.
It makes a huge difference!
You might not be able to do this in every conversation, but another great thing you can do is take notes! It’s hard to remember every single thing that someone says to you no matter how hard you are listening. Take notes while they are chatting, so that you have something to reference later on.
If you can’t do this in the middle of the conversation, then do a big brain dump once your conversation ends. Let them talk, listen to them, respond with genuine comments, keep listening, then write everything down that you can remember.
The final part of this is to act. Listening is pretty useless unless you actually do something with all of the information that you’ve learned about someone. You can listen all the day long and keep notes about all of the events happening in someone’s life, but if you never mention any of that to them again or don’t send them anything or try to take care of them on those special days, then all you’re left with is a jumble of notes that might be cool if they ever happened to find them.
Make good use of your listening!
This one small thing will change all of the relationships in your life. I promise.
If you want to see how our team will listen to you, reach out to us. We’d love to take time and “Listen… Really… Listen” to you!