Living in the South, the word "hospitality" gets used a lot. It is a badge of honor to be considered a good provider of "Southern Hospitality" in your home. This comes in the form of cold tea, hot biscuits, a good meal, and warm pie. You would never be rude to company – maybe family, but never company. A covered plate to take home would always be offered. Don’t mind about returning the plate – you can keep it.
Wonderful friendships are formed in these circumstances. Conversation is lively, trust is established, and support is made available. Children, while rowdy, are well mannered. Adults, while opinionated, are respectful.
These life lessons learned have translated beautifully into my everyday business practices.
- My reputation as a real estate agent that conducts business with ho’okipa is my main priority. I consider it the greatest compliment for a client to say my service "must be that Southern Hospitality."
- Respect for others is a necessity. Really can’t elaborate on that. It just is.
- It is important to give the client "a little something extra." If you are in a profession like mine, you know that there are others out there that can do what you do. Why should a client chose to 1) do business with you 2) continue to business with or 3) refer you to others? Because you did something special to make them feel special. Scott Ginsberg does an excellent job of brainstorming some phenom ideas.
- Your clients would like to get to know you. They want to know that you, likewise, are interested in them. Conversation is important – have it! Talk with your client, not at them. You will find that the entire relationship goes smoother because you have taken the time to truly understand them and build trust.
- Everybody benefits from good manners. These are simple common practices that say, with actions, "I respect you."
- We don’t have to agree with everyone, but there is a way not to disagree. My mom always taught us, "You can say whatever it is you want to say, as long as you remember who you are saying it to." Clients come to us for direction. Sometimes that requires some education on things that are being done wrong. Be honest, but you can be constructive within the spirit of ho’okipa.
Creating a business practice centered on ho’okipa is not only an effective way to grow your client roster, but it is a display of personal character – and the world would benefit from a little more of that.
This is the second article that April has generously written for our Talking Story community forum on Ho‘okipa, the Hospitality of Complete Giving. Her first was called Dissecting Hospitality.