February is the month of Love. The chocolate and romance industries make out like bandits. The rest of us can also spread some love around. I want to share two very old-fashioned ideas my clients and I have successfully incorporated into our businesses.
Both are inexpensive and unlike the usual sugar fixes, beautiful bouquets of flowers and gourmet dinners. have longer lasting benefits and pretty much guarantee your company name stays at the top of their mind.
First – A simple piece of snail mail
At the beginning of the month I send out a card to my customers and potential customers. It’s nothing fancy and never asks for a sale. Sometimes it’s thought provoking, sometimes humorous, always personalized.
This year my February card had a yummy piece of decadent chocolate cake on the outside. Inside was a message that said something along the lines of “Dear friend – In many parts of the world, this month is all about love. How about this month you and I make it all about our customers?” I signed my name. That was it. On the back was my logo and particulars. Next month I will send out another card with another kindness message.
Twenty-five years ago, when I set up my first business, I loved greeting cards so much I designed three cards and included them with my aromatherapy bath product line. Seriously, in those days, cards and bath potions were not a thing. Yet there I was, combining the two because I knew women wanted both. I was right. Last year I told that story to a workshop group and my “aha moment” was THAT was what set me apart from everyone else. I immediately set out to find a reliable distributor for the greeting cards.
Today I have two businesses. In one, I send out a newsletter with my partner every other week and the other where I blog four times a month. All my electronic correspondence has an open rate of between 45% and 50%. I was unhappy with those numbers until I heard that industry norms are 15% to 25%. But I danced for joy when I learned personally addressed snail mail has a 100% open rate – simply because so few of us receive personally addressed snail mail any more.
Sending some love to our family and friends is normal. But sending love to our customers? Not so much. Never be afraid of investing in a bit of kindness – via the post office. When done right, it works extremely well and eventually pays off handsomely.
Second – Five phrases that bring joy
Have you noticed how some days we seem to have completely lost the art of communication? I am not referring to the Queen’s English of “thees” and “thous.” Nor am I referring to the quickly disappearing “pleases” and “thank yous.”
I am referring to the way less than careful and positive phrasing you have had with your own suppliers. Think back to some of those negative interactions. They did not build meaningful relationships and made YOU NOT want to be a LONG TERM loyal client YOURSELF.
Over the last ten years I have been thinking about manners and kindness and the effects we have on one another and finally decided once and for all to quit my complaining and JUST DO IT. (Now, please don’t think I am anywhere near perfect. Most days on a scale of ten I hover around a six!)
My point is this. We need to convey enthusiasm and energy. Simply saying “okay” or “sure” to a request is very bland. We need to dress up our affirmations so that in the ear of our customers it is abundantly clear we are excited to honor their request. Positive language creates meaningful connections with clients. We must demonstrate how deeply we care for them and their needs.
I want to share the five phrases I now use which seem to deliver exceptional experiences for the customers. I had to practise them many times so they would roll off my tongue on the days I did not mentally feel up to using them. (And if I am having a down-ish day, I stand up and say them instead of sitting to say them.)
- How can I help you?
- In my (our) experience typically.
- I am happy to help. I am here for you.
I promise you they work. Customers do respond. Let me know your experience in using them.
To your success!