Life-long learning has become one of our society’s most recent buzzwords. But it does not have to be just a buzzword that runs through our collective minds and goes in one ear and out the other. It is a phrase that should not be placed in the same category as “Groovy man” or “Yeah, Baby”. Instead life long learning has proven to be a catalyst for inspiring your customers to do business with your company. Here is how it works:
Of course there are the obvious means to life long learning like going to school, reading books, reading industry relevant newsletters, periodicals, etc. But there is another avenue to pursue that not only leads to the acquiring of new knowledge but also adds interaction, enthusiasm, networking and that sparks new ideas. This avenue is joining an association, being active in that association and attending workshops and conventions put on by that association. Let me give you an example.I am a member of the National Speakers Association. Each year the association puts on a national convention as well as a winter workshop, one for the Eastern United States and one for the Western United States. Some people attend all three every year as well as their local chapter meetings. Recently I attended one of the winter workshops. While I was at the workshop, I made many new contacts, each of whom were doing many diverse projects to help their respective business grow. We shared our ideas, questions and suggestions. My head was almost bursting with new ideas and concepts. At one point, I sat down at a table and I almost could not get my pencil to move quickly enough to keep up the ideas spilling out of my head and onto the paper.
One of the ideas that came to me was for one of my colleagues. It was an idea for a new product for him. As soon as I saw this individual, I told him about my idea. He seemed to like it. In fact, his enthusiasm must have soared because he told several people about the idea. The other people liked it and became enthusiastic about it as well. The next evening, he came up to me and said, “I have six of those sold already”. I went home and got busy putting the product together. The benefits kept coming.
I had been working on an idea for a product for months. I discovered that this idea would work in my own business as well. This one idea has since sparked ideas for several other products and a speech or two. My colleague and I can both use the idea without infringing on each other’s rights. Because of these products, we can provide a link to each other’s web sites creating more exposure. We can give our customers a new product that will provide fun and enthusiasm and we can each increase our profits.
I saw another example of this phenomenon in action recently. I know someone who has been going to the same hairdresser for years. I will call her Sara. Recently, the owner, who does Sara’s hair, seemed to be developing a negative attitude. There was a lot of gossip going on in the shop and Sara was beginning to dread going there. In fact, she was about to look around for another shop to cut her hair. But when Sara went in for her last visit, there was a whole new atmosphere.
When Sara got in the chair, the shop owner began telling her about all the latest hair colors for spring. She even took out a magazine and let Sara look at the newest styles. They began talking about styles and colors they liked and disliked and what might look good on Sara. The owner was chattering away about plans she had for the shop and about two new services she was providing for her customers. Her spirit was upbeat, positive and enthusiastic. Sara began to actually have fun! What was the reason for this “sudden” turnaround in attitude? Sara found out that the shop owner had recently been attending classes given by artists in the beauty industry. The hairdresser told Sara about classes she had already attended and about classes she was going to attend. This lady has been a hairdresser for most of her life. She is now in her 50s. Sara has been going to her shop for about 7 years but has never seen such a level of enthusiasm from the owner towards her business or her customers. Although the owner does not know it, she saved a customer. Sara will be back. She can hardly wait to hear about the next exciting ideas going on in the world of beauty.Adapting life-long learning as one of your goals will prevent your product, service or you from becoming stale. Always be on the lookout for the latest trends, strategies and additions to products and services that you can offer your customers. Network with people in your industry and exchange ideas. Remember that attitudes, both positive and negative, are catching. What attitude are your customers catching? Make sure your customers have an attitude of “I cannot wait to go back there!”. Life-long learning will enhance yours and your customers’ enthusiasm and excitement for your products and services. That same enthusiasm will add excitement to your bottom line.