I want to share with you two very old-fashioned ideas my clients and I have successfully incorporated into our businesses.
First, a simple piece of snail mail
At the beginning of some months, I send out a card to my customers and potential customers. Nothing fancy and never asking for a sale. Sometimes thought-provoking, sometimes humourous, 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. Two months later, I sent 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 of the greeting cards.
Today, I have two businesses. One in which I send out a newsletter with my partner every other week and one for which I blog once or twice 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, snail mail 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 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 honour their request. Because positive language creates meaningful connections with clients. We must demonstrate how deeply we care for them and their needs.
I do want to share with you the five phrases I now use which seem to deliver exceptional experiences for the customers. I had to practise them many times too 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 downish day, I will stand up and say them instead of sit and 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!