This Simple Secret
January 24, 2015 | Rick VanDermyden
This Simple Little Secret Will Improve Sales, Deepen Relationships, and Increase Your Influence
Several years ago a coach asked me a simple but profound question.
“If you know what the people closest to you want, why don’t you just give it to them?”
I blew right past the question.
I was feeling pretty good about myself.
My coach had challenged me to find a way to deepen my relationships for the next 90 days, starting with my wife.
Oh, this was going to be so easy. I knew exactly what to do.
Knowing that Sue would want us to have more time together, I carefully blocked the “dates” into the next three months of my calendar.
I patted myself on the back.
I will surely get points for this.
The next morning, Sue asked me to go for a run with her.
Now, Sue has asked me that question dozens and dozens of times throughout our marriage.
I usually say “no” without thinking twice about it. As a matter of fact I had been saying “no” to running ever since she said “yes” to marriage.
I gave her an excuse. I’m tired. I don’t feel like it. You know I don’t really like to run. I have work to do.
But that morning, her question struck me like a 2×4 between the eyes.
Sue didn’t want dinner. Sue wanted us to run together.
If we know what the people closest to us want, why don’t we just give it to them?
Ding, ding, ding.
I said “yes” this time. You should have seen her light up.
Wow. All she wanted was that one little thing.
That was a lightbulb moment for me.
Since then, we’ve been running (or walking) together regularly. And it has changed our relationship for the better.
As I reflected that evening, I began to connect the dots.
How do you build a deeper relationship? You find a need and fill it.
How do you sell? You find a need and fill it.
How do you increase influence with a team member? You find a need and fill it.
So simple! Find a personal, individual need and fill it.
Even better, the coach had told us – what people want is usually simple and straight forward.
Take out the trash. Kiss me when I come home from work. Put the lid on the toothpaste. Say thank you. Pick the kids up from practice. Tell me you are proud of me. Appreciate my work. Go to my football game. Let me go to my kid’s football game.
She explained that people don’t need a huge investment to feel valued or loved. They need you to pay attention! They need you to notice them – on a personal, individual level and then care enough to do something.
I don’t always get it right, but I can tell you in complete honesty – this one simple concept has changed the way I relate to the people closest to me.
So, how can you take this concept and apply it to your life and business?
- Ask. If you don’t know what matters to the people around you – ask them! Ask your daughter what makes her feel special. Ask your business partners how you can help them. Ask your team members how they feel validated and appreciated. Ask your clients the questions that get you to the heart of what matters to them. Ask, ask, ask.
- Listen. Sue asked me the running question for years, but it was so much more than a question. She was telling me something. Her question was a clue to what made her feel valued. It was an indication of what mattered to her and how she wanted to connect with me. She’d told me over and over – I just wasn’t listening.
- Pay attention. On our recent vacation, the cruise director began to recite potential activities for the day – para-sailing…snorkeling…rock fishing. At the words “rock fishing,” Isaiah, my daughter’s boyfriend, went completely still, leaned forward, and lit up like a Christmas tree. Whoa! Who knew that fishing was a big deal to him? When you increase your awareness of the people around you, they will tell you what they want through their eyes and body language.
A couple of my favorite resources on this topic are The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts and The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: Empowering Organizations by Encouraging People.
My challenge to you this week is to find a need a fill it. It is amazing how simple it can be to make people feel special. Be intentional and find the time to implement this idea. I promise it is an investment that will pay dividends in your relationships!