As we begin the new year, I’d like to start with a topic that’s been on my mind for the past few weeks: the role that enthusiasm plays in the clients buying decision journey. I spend much of my time thinking, writing and speaking about ‘how clients buy‘ in the professional services (accounting, law, consulting, financial services, design, engineering, etc.). As best as we can tell – and there’s a lot yet that we need to learn – the top criteria when clients choose are: professionals whom we 1) Know, 2) Respect and 3) Trust (or someone who comes recommended by a colleague we respect & trust).
I’d like to add to this a 4th criterion: enthusiasm for our work. I chose to use the word enthusiasm, because I feel that the word passion is overused today. But, I’m really splitting hairs here and it’s semantics. When narrowing down a short list of providers, clients look for additional factors in who would be their best choice. I believe that among these additional factors, enthusiasm for what we do deserves to be near the top of the list. It is contagious when we exude a genuine interest in our craft. Clients pick up on our love for what we do, and I believe it plays a substantive role in the decision process. Alternatively (and we can all relate to this), when we are burned out, or lack a real interest in our work, it affects those around us – colleagues, staff, and clients.
When we lack a real interest in our work, it affects us in ways far beyond our direct contact with clients and prospective clients. We must believe that what we do matters and is important. We must believe that we are truly helping our clients. We are not selling – we are serving. We are building relationships with those we wish to serve. We find satisfaction in our work. We enjoy our work. We find purpose in our work. When we don’t, clients will choose someone who does.
To illustrate my point, take for example two equally talented athletes. Say, two minor league baseball pitchers who were drafted at the same time. Both are equally talented and have the capability to make it to the big leagues. The first rookie enjoys practicing baseball. Loves the sport. Loves the culture and history of the sport. Finds purpose and meaning in it. Loves the grind. The training. The skill drills. The hours studying other great pitchers. Listens to his coaches and tries to get better every day. The second pitcher, equally gifted, doesn’t enjoy practicing quite as much. He finds the work a bit tedious….like any other job. He trains hard, too- but doesn’t sit up late at night studying film on previous pitching greats. The second pitcher listen to his coaches – but doesn’t ask nearly as many questions. Which player do you think makes it to the Major Leagues?
Apply this logic to any profession – playing the violin, or teaching 8th grade science, or coaching high school volleyball. Or selling commercial loans, or building cabinets. Which individuals do think will ultimately succeed? Now apply this logic to a financial advisor, tax accountant, web designer or a patent attorney. Two individuals – with equal talent – equal qualifications. Which one do you think will ultimately win? Why is this?
Because clients can sense the joy. The love. The enthusiasm. The true caring for the client. We seem more interested in our craft…because we are are more interested in our craft. You can’t fake a true love for what you do. Those that genuinely care ultimately win. In the long run. Because, they love what they do and are enthusiastic.
As we begin the new year, I hope each of us reflects upon the role that enthusiasm plays in our career success. I encourage each of us to assess our own personal enthusiasm for our work. Work can – and should – bring us happiness and satisfaction. Hopefully the enthusiasm that you started your career with is still present. If not, I encourage us all to find aspects of our work that bring us joy, satisfaction, and happiness. Find the things we love and are enthusiastic about, and success will follow. Happy New Year, everyone. Wishing all of you a prosperous and enthusiastic 2019!