Nothing is more boring than being predictable. You may have received my Chinese New Year message recently - a favorite holiday of mine for reasons mentioned here, for personal reasons especially, but also because I can almost guarantee very few businesses are acknowledging this holiday. My second favorite holiday to celebrate or focus on is July 4th -- again for personal reasons first (my son was born on that day) and also because there are few firecrackers going off this time of year in business.
By doing the unexpected, you separate yourself from others and are remembered by prospects, clients and referral sources as being unique. The devil is in the details, people!
So, here are my do's and don'ts on ways to stand out and be remembered.
- Think of occasions that are unique to you and your client that you can celebrate with them (i.e. anniversary of doing business together, their birthday, personal events in their lives that you can easily put into a customer relationship management program, etc.).
- Write a personal, handwritten note to let them know you value them and their business. If they refer someone to you, including a gift card for coffee, a magazine subscription, etc. is a nice gesture that costs little and reaps rewards ten-fold.
- Seek out opportunities to meet face-to-face with prospects and clients at conferences, trade shows or the occasional lunch. Business is about relationships, and initiating contact helps to solidify them.
- Ever send a holiday card or gift in December. It's boring, people! Everyone who doesn't have an imagination is doing the same darn thing. Be different. Thanksgiving might be a better idea in early November as a kick-off to the holiday season and it's a perfect time to share your gratitude to them for the business they give you. Another Thanksgiving idea is to make a donation to a local food pantry or soup kitchen in their name. This is a great way to show you care about your client and also the world at large - even on a local level.
- Only communicate electronically with key prospects and clients. Instead, pick up the phone, send a notecard, suggest meeting for lunch or at an upcoming networking event, etc.
- Think quantity over quality. Rather, focus on the top 20 percent of your client base that generate 80 percent of revenues and communicate with fewer people more often in more quality ways.
We all want to be remembered in the best light possible. Taking the time to think through how to stand out and be remembered is worth the time, energy and effort. Also, remember there's some magic in communicating with your ideal market three consecutive times. It works because it takes several impressions for people to know, like, trust, and refer you, so stay focused on a finite list and keep the communication flowing.