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by Alice Alessandri and Alberto Aleo

You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Oscar Wilde

What’s the best attitude to have with your customers to immediately ensure a positive first impression and maintain a good and long-lasting relationship? We believe it all comes down to proactive behaviour, as opposed to reactive behaviour.  When “proactive” is mentioned, many usually think about an overzealous salesperson, who might end up being too intrusive. This is definitely not what we want to achieve when talking about being proactive, which is a much broader and more profound concept than simply acting in advance, leading to false assumptions on events and requests from customers. So, let’s try to understand more and delve deeper into this vital concept.

rapporto pro-attivo con il cliente
Photo charles deluvio on UnSplash

From pre-active to pro-active

To fully understand proactivity, it’s best to start off from its opposite: reactivity. We behave reactively when we wait for an external prompt that induces an action, especially when the output of our reaction is directed outwards. Here’s an example that can clarify this. If you have a conflict with a colleague and you don’t resolve it until it escalates, you are being reactive, but if you approach the issue by casting all the blame on your colleague, expecting them to do something about it, you’re still being reactive.

Proactivity isn’t only related to time factors (otherwise, we would be talking about PRE-active behaviour, meaning to act in advance), but it’s also and especially related to the interior approach we make use of when facing life and the DIRECTION of our actions.

Proactive people always start with themselves, they don’t presume to change others or the way they live, and even if they did, it would never be their first reaction. 

Anticipating and proactivity

At this point you can see that anticipating and proactivity aren’t synonyms. At times, if your sensitivity and your listening and observation skills prompt you to do so, you can anticipate your customer’s moves, but as we’ve mentioned at the beginning of the article, it’s not always the right thing to do. A proactive salesperson is characterized by an open, mindful, and responsible attitude. In practice, this means they are always available for others, without coming up with excuses or saying things like “that’s not my job”, even when receiving strange requests or complaints. Reactive people blame others or delegate responsibilities to others, while proactive people act by accepting duties, taking credit for their actions, and looking for solutions.

Speak well, think well, live well

This quote comes from the film “Palombella rossa” by Nanni Moretti, and it reminds us that our words reflect our thoughts, which in turn determine our actions and, consequently, our life. At least once in our lives, each of us has found themselves practicing the art of regretting and of recriminating with thoughts such as, “if he had done this or that”, “if the time were ripe”, or “if I lived in a different country”.

Trying to relieve ourselves from the burden of things we don’t like is a natural human instinct, but we need to be aware that continuously telling ourselves these things has unwanted consequences.

In fact, it results in apathy and in the loss of your sense of responsibility, which are two very dangerous attitudes for our life and for society as a whole because that’s where populism, hate and other forms of civil disintegration stem from. Try to expand your mind by introducing sentences that have you as an active subject, not others. Try to make this question a daily mantra: “What can I do about it?”.

rapporto pro-attivo cliente
Photo lyndsey marie on Unsplash

Some time ago, we wrote an article about responsibilitiesm, explaining how they unleash our trouble-shooting skills. Every time we allow ourselves to act, we take the first step towards solving a problem which would be impossible to face if we decided to not act. Proactivity, and the related sense of responsibility, can become an integral part of our being if we act consistently. This is the secret to good first impressions, to long-lasting relationships, to customer management, to complaints management and, in our opinion, to a happy life.

| partem claram semper aspice |

The photos used - where not owned by the editorial team or our guests - are purchased on Adobe Stock and IStockPhoto or downloaded from platforms such as UnSplash or Pexels.

Did you like this post and want to learn more about the topics?

Passodue research on issues related to salesmarketing, ethics and the centrality of human beings within the market logic, officially started in 2012. The results derived from our work are described in the publications and in the books you can find in this section.

Click below to find out Passodue's books.

Passodue is a consulting and training firm founded in 2011 by Alice Alessandri and Alberto Aleo, who decided to combine their experience and make a change in their personal and professional lives. The aim of their project is to change the mindset of the market with regards to the concepts of “sale”, “marketing” and “leadership”, and to prove that doing business ethically is possible and totally effective.

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