“Do you need reassurance? So do your clients!”
|Bella needs reassurance getting through her email inbox|
On a warm afternoon last week, I was sitting in my outdoor office (the covered front porch) with Lee Ann, my organizer/productivity coach who was training me in new ways to deal with my overstuffed email inbox. I started out strong, but mid-way in our four-hour appointment, I felt like I was losing brain cells by the hundreds with each passing minute. But when Lee Ann said, “Brenda, you’re doing great,” I perked up like a four-year-old learning how to tie her shoes and almost getting it right. “Really?” I said. “Yes, you’re doing great. Once you have systems in place, it will get easier. You’ll see,” she said. Her reassurance put fuel in my tank and I put away the thoughts I was having, refocused and plowed through the next batch of emails with her.
To give up or not
Here’s the thing I know to be true. Without Lee Ann’s reassurance and perspective (when I had none), I might have given up and never called her again. After all, this was new territory. Before her encouraging words I’d been thinking, “I’m paying this woman $150 an hour to sit at my side going through emails and creating email folders? Shouldn’t I be able to do this myself? I’ve read articles about email before. What’s wrong with me? Is this crazy?”
Reassuring our clients
A few days have passed and I’m back at my outdoor office thinking about reassurance. It’s one of the most important things we do as image consultants. We reassure our clients and offer them perspective through every phase of our work together. Last week, I was in the closet with Sandra who wanted to purge things. We started with pants. The pile of pants heading out the door was getting higher and higher. “You’d think I could figure this out myself,” Sandra said out loud. Time for reassurance: “Listen, if we could do this ourselves, we would. It’s impossible to have perspective on these things that have lived in our closets this long. You need another set of eyes,” I said. And then I offered the promise: “Just think how great it’s going to feel when you walk into this closet and have complete confidence that everything in here suits your body, is current and will look great every time you put it on.” She took comfort, found energy and we tried on more pants. I’m seeing her again this week to pick up where we left off.
Think about your client
Let’s think about this from our client’s standpoint. She’s investing in a closet session that most of her friends wouldn’t even understand. (“You’re paying someone to do what? I could help you do that!”) It’s all a new experience to her. You know there’s light at the end of the tunnel but she’s not seeing it yet. Your clients will feel reassured when they hear you say:
- “You’re going to feel so great when these unwearable clothes are no longer crowding out the beauties you have in this closet.”
- “You’ll feel ten pounds lighter once we’ve edited your wardrobe.”
- “Your perseverance will be well-rewarded when you never have to face an overstuffed closet again.”
Three-step formula for giving reassurance and perspective
Reassurance, education, and perspective go hand in hand. You’re basically saying to your client, “This is great, here’s why, here’s what’s we do next.” Think of this in three steps:
1. Reassuring them about this step they’re taking (reassurance)
2. The reason why (education)
3. What the next step is that you’ll be taking together (perspective)
Here are some examples.
Reassuring statement: “It’s great that we’re revisiting your evening wear.”
Why: “You’re more creative with your clothes now than you used to be.”
Next step: “We need to eliminate these stiff looking clothes and get you into more fun pieces.”
Reassuring statement: “It’s great that we’re creating a shopping list for some travel pieces.”
Why: “You’re traveling so much more now.”
Next step: “We need to focus on fabric friendly items that will take you anywhere you want to go.”
Reassuring statement: “I’m so glad you called me!”
Why: “You’re in the best years of your life.”
Next step: “Let’s get your wardrobe up to date and celebrating along with you.”
Okay, now it’s your turn. Can you come up with some three-part reassuring statements that your clients will love to hear from you?
Emails and me
At the end of our four-hour appointment last week, Lee Ann reminded me of the habit I was learning. I have to admit; I was really fried by then. “And what’s that?” I asked, using the three remaining brain cells in my head. “You’re creating a productivity habit of maximizing your time while on email, using less steps, thinking through ‘Why am I keeping this?’ and if it’s something that needs action, you’re putting it in your email Action folder.” She reminded me of my larger objective: productivity and efficient habits. My coach had spoken. We made the next appointment.
I bet your clients will respond to your reassuring statements the same way I responded to Lee Ann’s. They’ll want you back. At the end of each appointment, remind her of the good work she’s done. Share the vision with her: in order to have a wardrobe that suits her body, personality, and lifestyle and provides her with effortless decision-making while getting dressed, as her coach, you’re helping her edit and define what’s best for her . . . one reassuring step at a time.