In For your practice


Many years ago, I worked as a waiter and a bar tender – and learnt a lot, particularly about customer service. But there is one lesson that has served me well every single day of my life, both in and outside of practice.

Some days in hospitality could be really challenging.

Extremely difficult customers. Equipment malfunctions. Crazy hours. And those challenging days could put me in a terrible mood. But that mood could be changed in an instant. How? By someone showing me consideration or a kindness. A simple gesture, like saying ‘Have a great day’ or ‘How are you going?’. I immediately shifted from feeling like an underappreciated piece of garbage to a valued human being.

I had an epiphany

I realized how much impact these small kindnesses can have. What if I showed special consideration for another, regardless of who they are, on a daily basis? This led to the habit of asking every person who serves me from behind a counter ‘How’s you day going, alright?’ For some reason the ‘alright?’ at the end seems to inspire a more genuine response. And do you know what? A nice, genuine conversation generally happens. Sometimes a very short one, but a nice one. One that we both enjoy. It’s not hard, but I experience the reward regularly.

Want more clients?

A lot of practitioners ask me how they can ‘get’ more clients. And my suggestion is simple. Perhaps we need to stop focusing on what we can get and start looking at what we can give. We are all so overwhelmed these days, aren’t we? So overwhelmed that we are becoming more insular. We’re just trying to cope with our busy lives but are less connected to those around us.

And then what happens?

We get impatient when we don’t get what we want fast enough. Or we don’t get what we expected. Or we get angry before finding out the true details of a situation,  because we ‘just don’t have time for this’. We forget to ask people how they are. We forget to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. And we become even more unhappy. I still fall into this trap from time to time.

Sure I’ve had times when I have wanted to ‘get’ more clients. But when I have, I usually also found that I became less considerate. When I am not like this, I have enjoyable conversations with the shopkeepers and service providers that I use. I take time to get to know them. And something else can happen…

They ask me what I do. And I tell them.

Then time passes. You’ve forgotten that conversation. But then one day a new client appears. Someone who was recommended to me by that shopkeeper. This is how I have managed to build a very successful practice over the years, by simply showing consideration to the people around me and caring about them. And enjoying those conversations.

So next time you call someone, email them or phone them…

…take a moment to think of how you can make them feel more appreciated and valued. The worst thing that is likely to happen is you will make someone smile. But the best is in the clouds.

All the best with your ethical success,

Jeff Shearer

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