Some people have great ideas but have a difficult time bringing them to fruition, and others can make any vision become a reality. There’s one specific reason that Jeff Lefkovitz believes this is true; he says it’s because the successful business owners know how to create loyal, deep, and meaningful personal relationships. Jeff Lefkovitz, CEO and Founder of Abilities Recovery Center based in Los Angeles, California, provides individuals who have become paralyzed due to severe injuries specialized and personalized exercise therapy. We visited to speak with him and learn more about what has contributed to his company’s success and growth, and he gave us a few tips.
“When I went into this business, I knew I wanted to create a family. Not an ’empire,’ not a ‘company,’ but a family. Starting a business is about providing people with a solution, and that’s the part I fell in love with. I focused on building loyalty, becoming their number one fan, and made sure they felt like family to me. In fact, I go as far as spending holidays with some of my clients. They are part of my family.”
That’s not a common way of thinking! When we spoke to one of Jeff’s clients, we received messages like “even the other people I’ve met at ARC feel like family to me because of the connection we share with Jeff. We have family outings where we eat dinner, share stories, and escape the monotony of our difficult lives. This man actually cared. He wasn’t just there for a paycheck; he was there to show me there’s life outside of a wheelchair.” How incredible! This is just as important when you have a business that has tons of clients. Or, perhaps, it’s a software company and you don’t necessarily see your clients face to face. How can you become more personal, then?
“Companies often bombard their clients with promotional messages, and we see these messages all the time. It would be nice for those same companies to send out holiday cards and birthday cards with a personal message of gratitude. It would also be fun for companies to create social media contests; this is where a company can really benefit. Whether it be a design contest (like design a shoe for Nike), or a social media advertisement, the clients can become actively involved in promoting your company. Further, the company could then recognize the individual, and through likes and views give them the spotlight!”
Businesses are increasingly losing their personal touch because of the internet, and its mind-blowing how many interactions we have with companies that are now just with bots or intelligent systems performing on behalf of humans.
“I think it’s time for executives, and specifically CEO’s, to start getting their hands a bit dirtier by talking directly to their customers or clients. Can you imagine if the CEO of your favorite brand reached out to you? How would you feel?”
Well, I can’t imagine the CEO of Nike reaching out to me! However, I’d buy a whole lot more if they did! Jeff’s point is that people want to deal with people, and that emotional connection goes a very long way. In fact, when we speak to our customers and clients and engage the emotional part of the brain, we are directly speaking to the area of the brain that drives decision making! No wonder it works so well.
So what can you take from Jeff’s advice?
- Create a family and a community – focus more on bringing together a group of people, small or large, that all believe in the solution you are bringing. The emotional impact of feeling as though you are part of something is rewarding, and as a Founder, you also get to communicate directly with the people who are benefitting from what you are bringing. That means you can improve your offerings based on their needs and can build your company alongside this family and community who is there to support you.
- Become your customers’ biggest fan. Promote them everywhere! Jeff makes it a huge part of his practice to constantly tell stories of his clients, post them all over social media, and even in the press. Every small success that a client gets, he is the first one to cheer them on and share the news with the world. That builds a wonderful amount of trust, and anybody can do this no matter what size the company is.
- If you own a business, start directly reaching out to your customers and clients and building better relationships with them. This is what makes people leave real, natural testimonials, not only about your business but about you as a person. This is how Jeff has received tons of clients – all through referrals! He has created such great relationships with his clients that they all want to share his value with others who can benefit from him. Be much more personal with your customers – you can even do this by giving them a holiday call if you’re a smaller company and can make the time, or by sending a happy birthday email from the CEO if you’re a larger company. Either way, it makes people feel important, and that should be a priority for you.
There are so many things you can do to improve your connections and relationships with your clients. No matter if you own a small, medium, or large business, you can always create a family and get closer to the customers and clients who built it with you.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.