I’m interrupting myself. I was more into “woo” than the second sign this week. Second Sign next week…
I was re-reading one of my favorite romance novels recently — for research purposes. I’ve got this whole idea about analyzing how this character…I’ll tell you later. You might think that I was just looking for an excuse to read romance novels but that couldn’t be further from the truth might include a little bit of excuse factor, but it was mostly a business read — although I did enjoy it more than most business books I read.
At any rate, I’ve got this idea on the back burner right now while I figure out how to go through with my plan without spoiling the read for anyone who doesn’t already know the story. It occurs to me that there’s a more general concept to be examined in romance — the woo factor.
In a good romance novel, the hero always woos and wins his heroine. No matter how handsome, well-built, good-hearted, rich, or rakish the hero might be, readers would be highly disappointed if he got the win without the woo.
Picture this story:
Chapter 1 — Look at the hero. See the angle of his jaw and his well-toned muscles. See his fine home, his wealth, and evidence of his largesse.
Chapter 2 — The heroine meets the hero. He says, “Marry me,” and she falls into a swoon — nearly hitting the floor at his feet before he gracefully catches her. The hero holds her close to his chest, fanning her with his white, silk handkerchief and asks in a fervent whisper, “Marry me?”
The heroine’s eyelids flutter gently and then open. He looks deep into her eyes and asks again, “Marry me?”
The heroine stares into his passion-filled orbs and fights the urge to swoon again. “Oh, yes!“, she murmurs breathily.
The rest of the book might be about the actual wedding, their life together, their children, or who knows what. I know that I wouldn’t be one of the ones who knows. If a few more pages turned didn’t yield up the real hero, the real heroine, some fateful accident or illness that deprived the heroine of her memory, or some other plot device that would cause the hero to fight for the heroine’s love, I wouldn’t finish the book.
If she’s that easy, or life in general just comes that easily to him — well, more power to them both. I don’t care. I want to read about the hero’s valiant efforts to win his lady’s heart. I want to know all of the roadblocks — real and imagined — that keep the lovers apart, and how the pair fight to overcome them.
Don’t get me wrong. I want the heroine to be smart, brave, able to fight and all that, but I’m in it for the hero. I’m in it for the woo. I want to know what he’ll do and how much he’ll endure to win our hearts. I want to be won over, little by little. I want to be swept off my feet, literally and figuratively. I want to be loved. I want to be cherished. I want to be wooed.
It doesn’t matter that I’m not the actual beneficiary of all the hero’s charm. Vicarious woo is still woo. Besides, if I’m not half in love with the hero, wishing I knew a man like the hero, or wondering where I might find a hero of my own by the time he’s halfway through his quest, he’s not worthy of the title hero.
I’ve already established that I want to be wooed. I also want to be informative. Here’s what all this talk of woo has to do with improving your business: clients need to be wooed, too.
Too many of us try to run our businesses like the lame book I described earlier:
Chapter 1 — We open our doors and show potential customers how wonderful we are.
Chapter 2 — The consumer comes in and sees all our glory. We say, “Be my client,” and the consumer falls all over himself trying to get a signature on the contract (or haul stuff to the cash register).
We forget about the woo and go straight for the win…and wonder why we don’t get the “happily ever after” ending we were counting on.
Just like the hero in a romance novel (or in real life for that matter), we will probably have to put in some time and effort (woo) to close a deal with a client (win). I’m not saying that there aren’t a lucky few heroes who don’t have to woo (using the term hero loosely here — picture the Fonz snapping his fingers and the girls coming at a run). Some people just seem to be lucky, or blessed, or in the right place at the right time, or in league with the devil.
If you fall into one of those categories, you don’t have to worry about woo. Unless the category is blessed — God expects those He blesses to share the wealth — which falls under woo in my book. Otherwise, evaluate your woo factor and then crank it up. Do something nice for your clients or potential clients. Do something for them with the hope that they will start to fall in love with you, but with no strings and no expectations attached. Think, “I gave you that huge, honkin’ emerald because it matches your eyes,” not “I spent a pretty penny on that rock; you’d better make me glad I did”.
Woo doesn’t have to be expensive: helpful information, birthday greetings, freebies, lunches and coffee are all good. You need to choose a method of woo that works well for your business and for you personally. Woo doesn’t really work well if the hero is uncomfortable wooing.
So, what’s your woo factor? On a scale of 0 to 5, with 0 being “I don’t woo my clients” and 5, “They’re swooning”. Where do you fall in?