I’m a dog lover. My wife and I just got home from a vacation and while making up for lost time with our pup (Wrestle Wilson), I realize how much humans can learn from dogs—experts at service, empathy, and addressing need. What they can teach salespeople is powerful.
Teach Salespeople Service
Our dog just knows when we need a boost. He does something we call a “cuteness alert” where he rolls on his back, feet in the air, looking at us, inviting someone to scratch his belly. Is he serving himself or does he just know when we need that few seconds of fury bliss? Probably both, but no doubt we feel better.
To non-dog-lovers, you might see this as a human practicing wishful thinking. To dog-lovers, you know they read minds and do things at exactly the right time to make you feel better. Truth.
What can this teach salespeople? Sometimes customers need you to read minds. They aren’t in a business mood. It’s not the right time to talk—personal issues arise. Busy people welcome a simple, “How are you doing? Would another time work better for you?” A wish of well-being like your dog does when she lies on your feet. A text, an email—that’s all it takes to offer a boost to someone. You expect nothing in return, because it’s genuine, just like your dog. Customers remember these things.
Dogs know when you’re not feeling well, when you’re upset, when you’re angry. When I’m not feeling well, Wilson lies on my feet. He just knows when he’s needed, and it does make me feel better. Proof? Look at all the service dog programs and the hospitals that allow dog visits to help people feel better.
Our dog knows when we’re upset and will jump up to lick our faces. When our daughter sneezes, he’ll jump up to lick her face. Wilson also retreats to his kennel when he knows I’m angry. Not at him, but about anything. He knows to leave me alone.
This will teach salespeople, that while you can’t lie on the feet of a customer, you can respect and respond to what you’re sensing. I had a customer who had foot surgery. I arrived at her office and saw she was in pain. I was her last meeting, so I offered to postpone. She was hunched over and said, “It’s ok. My husband can’t pick me up for another three hours.” This was before Uber and she lived in a nearby suburb. I offered her a ride home, she sat up straight and said, “Oh my gosh. You’re an angel.” Not only did it serve her, but we had a great meeting in the car which led to us winning her business. Win-Win.
Dogs tell us when they need us. Customers tell us when they need us.
VISABILITY – Being seen in the right way, at the right time, by the right people.
Dogs need us. We feed them, play with them, and scratch their bellies. Customers also need us. We advise them on business, we guide them through our company’s processes, and we listen.
CREDABILITY – Demonstrate, educate, and advocate
Dogs need us to demonstrate right from wrong—good from bad. We educate our dogs to sit, stay, and come, especially when they are in danger. We advocate for our dogs when we take them to the vet, the dog park, a walk. Customers need us to demonstrate and advise them about the benefits our products or services provide. They expect us to advocate for them, inside our company and sometimes even with other providers, when our offering doesn’t cover their entire need.
Service, empathy and addressing needs. A dog’s life can teach salespeople. We can learn a lot from our furry friends.
Want to learn more about Winning Lifelong Customers with The Five Abilities®, go to www.thefiveabilities.com. We look forward to hearing your stories.
©Rick Wong, The Five Abilities® LLC