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Let’s talk about Respect. Surprisingly, this particular word only came up in one discussion in my series of interviews with agency owners. It seems obvious that respect should be part of any relationship-building process, but we have typically focused more on the fact that these efforts create deeper trust. It seems appropriate to shift gears and now talk about the important outcome of mutual respect as well.
This week, I had a chance to speak with Lori Jones, President & CEO of Avocet Communication. Avocet works mainly with companies that have asset-intensive brands to increase customer acquisition through integrated marketing communication.
It wasn’t until I read the transcript of our conversation that I could see just how respect seems to be an underlying value in the Avocet organization. Actually, if you visit their website, the first thing you see is “Be Brave. Go Boldly.” (https://avocetcommunications.com/). You cannot create a culture of bravery and bold action without first developing relationships with mutual respect.
The first time that respect came up in our conversation was when I asked about how Avocet stands out from their competition when it comes to relationship-building with prospects.
Lori shared that back in 2016, she met Stephen Woessner at an AMI (Agency Management Institute) meeting and he spoke about leveraging podcasting as a way to meet and nurture prospects. After that meeting, Lori wrote a business plan and launched her podcast within months. Today, Integrate and Ignite (https://avocetcommunications.com/podcast/) has over 400 episodes.
But, as Lori said, “how do you take that sea of sameness and truly differentiate yourself?”
More than 10% of the guests who appear on her show are in the prospect category and Lori shared that the ROI has been positive. One of the reasons she feels that has happened is based on the thought leadership that she continues to share and demonstrate well after the interview is complete. She believes “The thought leadership surrounding our show does a lot to instill comfort and respect. There’s something about that that keeps us top of mind.”
The word respect comes from the Latin root “specto”, meaning “to see – to see another”. We’ve said many times that at the core of every human is a heart that just wants to be seen and heard. So, it makes sense that when someone begins to feel your respect, they believe that you see them at a personal level and feel a more emotional connection to you.
Let’s apply this to the podcast process to see why it works.
Step 1: The interview
Oftentimes, this is probably the first or second conversation the host is having with the guest. And typically, the guest is invited to share their own smarts. Throughout this 30-60 minutes of time, as the host, you are listening and showing appreciation for the wisdom that they shared. You are automatically making them feel respected for their own experiences and knowledge – heard/seen.
Step 2: Gratitude
Most of the time, podcast hosts will follow-up a show with a sincere message of appreciation. It will include an acknowledgement of the value that the guest provided to the listeners. Again, respecting their time and wisdom – heard/seen.
Step 3: Future follow-ups
No matter what form this takes (physical or digital), sharing additional thought leadership of your own with a guest comes off as a gift. You are helping them in some way. If you tailor this message correctly, you are once again showing that you heard their needs. You are also showing that you respect them enough to give them more of your time.
When someone feels seen and heard, respected, valued (however you want to say it) enough, they become comfortable enough to engage further. And with enough repetition, the need eventually arises for them to hire you for your services. Imagine what a powerful working relationship it would be when you start from a place of strong emotional connection and mutual respect.
A survey of 20,000 employees, conducted by Harvard Business Review, found that respect was the top behavior that would encourage loyalty and engagement. When I asked Lori what she thought made Avocet stand out as a best-in-class employer she said, “I think it’s, do they like who they’re working with? Do they respect who they work for? Do they like who they work for? And are we good bosses?”
What an important series of questions. Lori noted that Avocet has all the basic benefits you’d find in most agencies, but at the end of the day, the most important measurement of their success as being a best place to work is if people feel respected and enjoy who they work with.
Here’s why that matters. When employees feel respected:
They feel less stress in their work, which improves productivity.
They are comfortable sharing their opinions, which produces higher quality output.
They are more engaged, which creates a positive and fulfilling work environment that increases retention.
All of these things lead to an improved bottom line.
So how can you make sure that you’re creating a workspace where employees at all levels feel respected? Here are some simple actions you can take to start creating a culture where employees can honestly say they feel seen and enjoy who they work with.
Open communication from leadership. Employees want to hear from their leaders on a regular basis. They want to understand where the company is headed and the rationale behind decision making. Knowing that you trust them with this transparency and information makes them feel respected. They feel trusted with this key information, and it motivates them to be part of achieving those goals.
Take the time to get to know each individual. When you understand your employees on a personal level it enables you to better match their individual styles with your communication and appreciation. It shows them that you respect their personal style enough to meet them where they are, and it increases the overall morale when you’re showing that you value what they bring to the table.
Plan regular acts of recognition and appreciation. We’ve heard this time and time again. But acknowledging their achievements, their hard work and what they contribute shows that you see them. Respect.
Actively encourage your team to get to know one another. Foster a community of mutual respect among peers at all levels. Imagine the power of feeling that everyone in your office respects you, sees you on an individual level and appreciates what you bring to the table. Think about how magnetic that culture would be.
No matter which relationship you’re nurturing, seeking to show someone that you see them at a deeper level than a business card or record in your database will serve you well. Be intentional with your actions so that the people in your space know that you value them. Over time, you’ll begin to see the results in less turnover, increased conversion and new opportunities.
Every day we get to help business leaders showcase their respect and appreciation through memorable experiences that engage the recipient. Let's get to know each other and find out if The Expressory can help you grow your brand through personalized experiences. Click here to set up a Marketing Strategy Session or click here to download our free guide for Creating Emotional Loyalty by Design. Let us show you how to design a unique experience that sets you apart.