During this time of year, you may feel like things are slowing down, businesses are waiting until after the holidays to make decisions, postponing meetings and time off is getting in the way of progress. Instead of being discouraged, you should look at this time of year as an opportunity to market and network and lay the groundwork for a great start to the New Year. Even though networking is a good thing all year round, it’s a real natural over the holidays. A few tips to make the most of this time of year: 1) Accept all invitations. Remember that this opportunity to meet with so many people won’t come around again for another year. Also look around for holiday events at your professional organization, chamber of commerce or other business groups that don’t always get your time and attention. 2) Go prepared. Bring your business cards, make it a point to meet people you don’t know, go for the meaningful connection rather than the fly by. 3) Deepen your connections. For those you know, but haven’t connected with in a while, reconnect, ask them about their business, be sincere. 4) Spend more time listening than talking. Ask meaningful questions, ask for their opinion, ask about their plans and the direction of their business. 5) Have a strategy for staying in touch. Don’t use the catch line of ‘we should get together for coffee’ unless you really mean it – then make it happen. Let them know when they can expect to hear from you and when. Make the commitment. 6) Keep an open mind. If you are present and engaged and willing to sow the seeds, you don’t know what may come from it in the future. You just never know who you will connect with and who others might now that you would like to be connected to. A lot of people are “waiting until after the holidays.” Don’t be one of them. YOUR CHALLENGE: Look for opportunities to meet new people, stay engaged and lay the groundwork for a great 2013!
As we work hard to differentiate ourselves from others, we can take a lesson from the late great Zig Ziglar – “There is no traffic jam on the extra mile”.Creating an exceptional customer service experience does not need to be difficult or expensive, it more often than not just needs a little attention to detail while serving the unspoken needs of your customer. Some quick and easy ways to go the extra mile with your clients and make a lasting impression.– Followup with customers after the transaction, just to make sure that everything went as expected and there are no unanticipated loose ends or unresolved issues.– Send them personal hand written notes thanking them for their business.– Resolve issues personally, don’t hand them off to someone else to resolve, then check to make sure that they are satisfied with the outcome.– Show up in person when things aren’t going exactly to plan.– Be courteous, use their name, say please and thank you even in the most mundane of interactions – manners do matter.– When the situation calls for it, over service your client, expedite, give a little more to show you care.– Show them you were listening by knowing their favorite restaurant, their spouses name, their favorite sports team.– Look for ways to make it easy for your customer to do business with you, courier documents to exactly where they will be, include self-addressed stamped envelopes, provide detailed instructions or a direct line to any support they might need.When your clients feel that you have gone above and beyond, when you exceed their expectations, when you are able to WOW them with your service, your customers will feel the difference.YOUR CHALLENGE THIS WEEK: Look for ways to ‘go the extra mile’ with your clients and make a lasting impression.