Playing on clay courts means the ball doesn’t always bounce predictably. What a great lesson for doing business! You can say/write/do the exact same thing with a different client and get completely different results.
So in business, just like on clay courts, be prepared for the unexpected. Be nimble, be quick and react to surprises with calm.
Example: when we wrote our Better Business Blogging special report, we really wanted to deliver quality information that people could go and apply to better blogging. It wasn’t written to sell anything.
We wanted to teach best business blogging practices. But we did say
that somewhere later on we’d put together a comprehensive multi-media
program to teach more in detail.
Most people who previewed it wrote to give us positive feedback. So we thought we had a successful report to give out. But not everybody saw it that way.
Sure enough, as soon as we released it to the public, a client
complained that it was marketing hype designed to
sell an expensive program down the road.
Initially I wanted to respond to defend the report, by disagreeing with him. Did I think I could change his mind that way? No, of course not. So I rewrote my email response and thanked him for his feedback and said we actually do listen to what people have to say.
Ball saved. No points lost. Several days later the same person wrote an email about another product, changing his mind about his previous remarks.
Ball saved, customer saved, and the game continues on. You just never know how things will play out…
Here’s another lesson from playing tennis on any kind of court, clay, grass or hard: You never know what kind of day the other person’s having. The most formidable player can come onto the courts having a bad day. You’ve got to be ready to play the game with what your opponent gives you. It’s your job to make them have an even worse day!
In business, it’s the opposite: you want them to have their best day ever thanks to your company, your customer service, and your company’s services and contacts. You never know what else is on their plate, or in their heads.
How’s your game going? It’s actually a good thing when people give you feedback. At least they care enough to say something, so you know you’ve got them engaged. Either that, or they’re just having a bad day and you’re in their way…