We often hear people say that to truly enjoy being a business owner we need to be authentic. We also hear that customers and clients will flock to us when we are authentic. Well, just what does authentic mean? The Webster dictionary defines authentic as being reliable and genuine.
We all want to provide reliable service and our customers and clients expect us to be reliable. However, do they expect us to be genuine? I think the answer is yes and no.
If your business thrives on you providing advice and your customers see you as the expert then you will probably get away with being blunt and saying what needs to be said even though it may not be what the person wants to hear. I think the key is using tact and being respectful. Do not shame the client. Nevertheless, the client is paying you to be the expert and be honest with him or her.
However, if you are in a business that requires you to adopt the “client is always right” mentality you may not always be able to be authentic. The key is to appear authentic when you truly do not want to be. People can see through the B.S. and fluff and all you will do is make them annoyed and skeptical of your intentions. When attempting to appear authentic you will need to make sure your body language matches your verbal language. Do not say something positive while displaying negative body language.
Business relationships are based upon the “know, like, and trust” factor. You must establish rapport with your customers and clients. You must take time to get to know their likes and dislikes. None of us like being around a person who thinks they know us and are overly friendly; it makes us cautious and leery of their intentions. Taking time to establish rapport is key. When you know the person and you like the person you will be able to employ tact to guide the conversation in the right direction. When trust has been established, the customer or client will see you as the expert and trust your opinion. Only when the “know, like, and trust” is established will you be able to be your authentic self.
When you are authentic, you will have less stress in your life because you do not have to pretend to be someone that you are not. You will be at inner peace and know that you provided excellent customer service.