Secrets to Success
Deborah Cole Micek
and John-Paul Micek

Sunday, December 19, 2004

One word can work
wonders in your life

CAN ONE WORD really improve your cash flow, increase the lifetime value of your clients and change the attitude of your entire team?

It may seem like a stretch, but it's true. As a matter of fact, this one simple replacement word can literally change the entire culture of your business. I've seen companies diligently apply this one underutilized word and benefit from a 32 percent improvement in annual re-purchases.

So what is this simple word?

Stop using the word "customer" and start using the word "client."

What makes this word so powerful is that the common definition of "client" is a person whose needs are met by a professional. In contrast, a "customer" is usually just considered a person who's buying something. The word "client" creates an expectation of a lasting and professional relationship. Not so with the word "customer." It creates the expectation of a single sale.

If you doubt this, just think what your own impression would be if you hired an attorney, and while visiting their office you notice that you're referred to by their staff as a customer instead of client. I know what my reaction would be because I've had this happen to me. My immediate impression was that this so-called professional cared only about making money -- and more important, they didn't seem "professional" anymore.

UNDERSTANDING the critical difference in these two words and practicing this simple change will help you create dynamic shifts in the way your business is perceived by the public. With this one simple change, you can help your team develop a powerful new way of thinking about the people who make their paycheck a reality.

Think about it in your own life. Which businesses do you have long-term relationships with? I'd be willing to bet it's the companies who make you feel that your needs/desires are being understood and met.

The words you and your team use to identify people who are investing in the products and services of your company is key to determining how they're treated. Understanding the powerful impact that words have and practicing this simple change on a consistent basis will help you and your team internalize a new way of thinking about the people who make staying in business possible -- your clients.

Give it your all and focus on this change for just 30 days. You'll notice that every person who walks through your door, calls your company on the phone or places an order will be positively affected by this change. And if you want some really powerful results, diligently practice this for three months and I can assure you that you'll begin to see measurable improvements in your bottom line.

John-Paul Micek

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

John-Paul Micek is the lead business coach at RPM Success Group Inc. Reach him at JPM@RPMsuccess.com or toll-free at (888) 334-8151.

Deborah Cole Micek, chief executive officer of RPM Success Group, is a business success coach and life strategist. Reach her at DCM@RPMsuccess.com or toll-free at (888) 334-8151.

Read an expanded version of this article at www.GetCoachedforFree.com.

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