New beginnings and romance are in the air this time of year, giving everyone that magical, Hallmark Channel movie kind of feeling. Come on, you know those sappy movies give you a case of the warm and fuzzies.
So how can we, as business owners, keep the magic alive all year for our clients, customers, employees, friends and family?
Simple - by making love and passion the main ingredients that we put into our craft. After all, those are the main ingredients that my grandmother uses that makes all her dishes so addictively delicious.
There are a few establishments that stand out in my memory for doing just that.
• The Kimpton Carlyle Hotel Dupont Circle in Washington, DC goes the extra mile, greeting you with a smile and your favorite mint hot chocolate. When their amazing sales director heard about my upcoming book, The Dance of the Business Mind, she even offered to host a book launch party, including wine and dancing. Talk about going out of the way and being creative!
• The owner of Revel restaurant in Garden City, NY on Long Island, relishes a spirit of fun, when she smilingly approaches your table to tell you that your laughter livened up the place. No wonder her restaurant received a well-deserved five diamond award from The American Academy of Hospitality Science.
• The owner at Comedor in Newton, MA passionately implores you to try his favorite dish, not because he wants to sell you something but because he is excited to see your reaction to their mouthwatering small plates and delicious cocktails.
• The director of sales and services manager at Turf Valley Resort in Ellicott City, MD warms your heart when things don't go as planned for a big, pre-planned event, saying "Don't worry, we are a family owned business too. We can figure something out. Just go enjoy one of our signature spa treatments and we'll handle the rest." They are even hosting some of the local boutiques that were damaged due to a recent storm, saying to me "When people are in need, the right thing to do is to open your doors with welcoming arms."
What do all of these experiences have in common? These businesses made me feel special, welcomed, and loved. Maya Angelou's quote is one I think of often - "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." How true.
If you can change one thing and one thing only about your business approach - add more heart to your work. Find out what makes YOU feel warm and tingly inside, and then share it with others.
My company is not in the hospitality or restaurant business, so we need different ways to make our clients feel valued.
Here's a recent example. As the Executive Program Manager for a high-profile client, my deliverable was to advise and recommend a strategic approach to best meet their needs. I put my heart into it and worked through the holidays and, yes, even New Year's Eve. After much research and soul-searching, the plan I suggested was different than what we had all expected. Sure, going with the anticipated route would have made me more money. But it is not about the money - it is about doing what is right for my client.
Result: The reaction of loving gratitude that I received was overwhelming, with them sharing how much they trust my judgment and appreciate that I am looking out for them. I made them feel special, and they made me feel special right back.
Lesson learned: When you put your heart into your work - people can feel it.
Need a little more inspiration? Check out some Hallmark Channel movies and discover your own feel-good formula!
Valeh Nazemoff is the international bestselling author of The Four Intelligences of the Business Mind, as well as an executive coach, business consultant, and co-owner of Acolyst. She is founder of the Communication Transformation Business Workshop.