“Grasshopper,” the Master called to the Young Professional, staring right at him as if he could somehow see him, “last week you told me you knew how to build Trust with a Client, and I did not challenge you.”
“Now, I must ask,” the Master continued, “How does one build Trust with a Client?”
The Young Professional did not hesitate in his response. “Master,” he replied, “You have already taught me that Trust comes with the Four Swordsmen of Client Service: Respect, Empathy, Action and Communication.”
“Yes, Grasshopper,” the Master said, smiling. “But tell me what you have learned about these Four Swordsmen.”
“The first two Swordsmen, Respect and Empathy, come with you when you first see a Client–while the Client is still only a Prospective Client,” the younger man began, “Showing the Client Respect, you win his Respect, and your talk of services you might provide may continue. Respect must stay with the Client, even after you’re gone,” explained the Young Professional.
“Yes,” said the Master, “And what of Empathy?”
“Empathy must stand with you at all times,” continued the Young Professional. “His sword has two edges–the one we discussed last week, to show a Client that you like him–and the other, the need to listen actively and stand in the Client’s shoes with him.”
“Good,” said the Master. “Too many salespeople practice ‘Waiting-to-Talk’ Listening,” he added. “They are too busy thinking of their response to be standing in the Client’s shoes.”
“Action,” declared the Young Professional, “Means to Do What You Say You Will Do.”
“This is true,” added the Master. “This Swordsman also carries a weapon with two sides: He understands how to Underpromise and Overdeliver, and he understands that the Smallest Action is worth many times more than the Greatest Intention.”
The Young Professional nodded in agreement. He knew these concepts well.
“What then of Communication?” the Master asked.
“Communication, is, I believe, Master, the most powerful of the Four Swordsmen for building Trust with a Client,” the Young Professional said thoughtfully. “Communication of information–whether good or bad–is what the Client most wants. This Swordsman fails when the Client must call for information the Professional has promised, rather than receiving it as promised–or, better still, before the date by which it was promised.”
“And if Communication fails?” asked the Master.
“Oh, Master,” groaned the Young Professional playfully. “If any one of the Four Swordsmen of Customer Service fails, there will be no Trust. Without Trust, all of the Liking in the world will not help us keep the Client.”
The Master, though blind, appeared to the Young Professional to be staring deeply into the younger man’s soul. The Young Professional bowed silently in respect, and the Master, “seeing” this, returned his bow.