Did you consider the values of your clients or employees?
One of the most effective ways to build rapport with your clients is to talk about the things that they find important.
So, identifying their values is a pivotal start when you’re building a client relationship. But where do you start? A client is more likely to want to work with you if you demonstrate awareness and sensitivity about their values and/or beliefs. It’s not always quite as straightforward as just asking what those things are, but there are less obvious ways you can isolate their values – and they’re relatively simple.
Beliefs vs values
The two terms are very much connected to each other, but are not quite the same thing. Values (also referred to as criteria in NLP) are generally able to be expressed in one word terms – honesty, integrity, trust, humour etc. Whereas beliefs are what you hold to be true (perhaps unconsciously).
I have a value of integrity and I believe integrity is demonstrated by doing what you say you are going to do.
In a nutshell:
1. Values are higher concepts that we believe to be important. We use them to govern our decisions and our lives. They also form the basis of how we interact with other people.
2. Beliefs are ideas that we assume are true.
3. Our core values and beliefs, together, form our opinions.
Values are established over time – through formative experiences, mistakes made and learning. Experiences leave an indelible mark on our subconscious, forming values. So, unless you go through a life-changing experience, they’re unlikely to change; although, as we grow older and our priorities adjust, values can shift and ultimately transform over time.
Identifying your clients’ or team member values and beliefs
Pending how well you know the person you are engaging with, ask them either a work question or perhaps talk about something more personal, like a hobby or what they like to do at the weekend.
If its your employee, ask them what is important to them for their work. If its your client, ask what is important for them regarding the service or product you provide.
If you go down the more personal route, ask them to think of something in their life that they would like to know more about, do more, or accomplish. For example, do they want to travel? Would they like more time to play golf? Perhaps they’d like to spend more time with their family. The answers will obviously differ from person to person – and there may be several of them.
You want the answers to be quite punchy, even one-word answers in quick succession will enable you to find their criteria very quickly. It’s quite possible they will need some encouragement, which you could provide by proposing values /criteria. The chances are you won’t guess correctly, and so the difference will hopefully encourage their own answers. (Be careful if you are asking a more junior team member as they may feel obliged to agree with your suggestions). Make a mental note of all of those criteria. Next, if you can, and if it was one of the personal activities like travelling or playing sport ask them to remember when they were last doing the thing they mentioned and ask them what they saw and felt at the time.
Now that you have the list of words, and perhaps captured the feelings they associate with these words you are starting to understand what sits at the core of this person. Are you aligned?
You have now – in a very limited amount of time – created a very personal and detailed insight of your client or colleague.
The next time the two of you engage you have that insight to what they hold dear. Their values.
You can bring up the things that are important to them in conversation, and where appropriate you can reinforce that they are important to you too. If it’s a client and you are not aligned, perhaps it is time to find a colleague to take the lead. If it’s a colleague and you are not aligned, you at the very least can adjust your approach to help fulfil their needs. Especially a colleague that you are supervising; really help them grow and achieve their goals by ensuring what you are asking them to do is aligned to their values.
As you have read, values and beliefs are inter-related. In other articles we will look at ways of changing beliefs, a key aspect for personal growth.