So long February – you were wet, windy, full of storms and, as always, it was impossible to escape the unstoppable behemoth that is Valentine’s Day.
While I’m not one for ostentatious gestures, sickeningly sweet cards or 99 red balloons emblazoned with ‘I love yous’ I did take some time to pause and reflect on the nature of love – especially how it affects our business lives. Last month I wrote about the importance of paying into the Bank of Goodwill and, in many ways, this is an extension of that.
When I look at our client base and historical trends in our business, one thing jumps out by a mile: the majority of our work comes from referrals. Word of mouth is, and always will be, the most powerful marketing channel. Referrals come when you build a reputation for a job well done, delivering the goods and (whisper it quietly) when your customers love you.
That’s why it pays to nurture that love. To quote Bugsy Malone: “You give a little love and it all comes back to you.” If your clients or customers love you and your business then they will tell their friends, family, and wider network how good you are – sending more business your way.
There’s a whole host of ways to go about getting your customers to love you – from your brand values through to your tone of voice – yet there’s also some simple and effective ways you can go about doing this on an individual level.
So for all you wannabe Casanovas out there, here are some top tips for love:
I’ve been to many networking events over the years and there’s, typically, two types of people at them. There are those thinking “what can these people do for me” and there are the others asking “what can I do to help these people?”
It’s a big difference and it’s the people who ask the second question who are the most successful. And it’s true for all the different kinds of interactions you have with people in business (and life). Stop looking at them in a selfish way and wondering what’s in it for you, instead flip it on its head and always try to help.
Say thank you
Far too often we forget to say thank you and we take things for granted. The small, simple, thoughtful act of saying thanks carries with it a huge amount of weight and is a vital component in building strong relationships.
Automated ‘thank you’ emails when people sign up to your mailing list or purchase a product are a great way to do this – and a chance for you to have fun and start injecting your personality into the brand.
Take this email copy as an example from clothing brand Razorstorm (who make Viking-inspired clothing). It’s fun, it uses personalisation and it makes the recipient smile:
Congratulations Warrior, You have been chosen,
That time has come when Asgard calls upon the greatest warriors of Midgard to fight and die in glorious combat. An evil foe awaits like no other you have ever seen or faced. We Aesir fought them many eons ago back in a time long forgotten. The price of victory was high and many of us fell in combat, but our sacrifice paved a way for mankind to flourish and prosper.
We knew one day they would return to take revenge.
Will you answer the call? Will you protect your kin and clan from this threat?
Here, take these armaments and do us proud.
The Blacksmith will now forge your weapons with enchanted runes 85046/170220/98 (order number).
Now assemble your blood brothers and sisters and take down these fiends. I hope to hear the Bards sing songs of your victory.
There are countless clothing brands out there but with this email, Razorstorm are doing their best to stand out from the crowd and build personal relationships with their customers.
It’s also important to thank people who refer work to you. Small acts of kindness can go a long way, so if you do get referrals from people, thank them for it – if you really want to push the boat out send them a card or a small token of appreciation.
There’s a wonderful quote from Maya Angelou which says people won’t remember the things you say to them, but they will remember how you made them feel. Strive to leave positive impressions with all the different people you meet in order to associate yourself with their positive feelings. It will help you stay memorable and is another top way to ensure people are more likely to send work your way.
Deliver on promises
In nearly two decades of running my own business, one of my proudest moments was when a client, who I have a huge amount of respect for, told me Jarrang could always be relied on to deliver what we said we were going to do, when we said we were going to do it. Delivering on promises has been a cornerstone of our business and one, I believe, everyone should have. It’s not difficult – if you say you’re going to do something by a certain time, then do it.
Nurture your relationships
Every kind of relationship needs nurturing. Taking the time to check in on your customers is a highly effective way of showing them you care. And it definitely shouldn’t be done every time you’re trying to sell something new to them. In fact, the best way of doing it is to be kind, thoughtful, and not try to sell at all.
Automated emails based on customer behaviour can also help here. For example, if a customer hasn’t interacted with your email marketing campaigns for a set period of time, you can set up a triggered email to go out to them and check how they’re doing.
Bonus: Don’t forget the self-love
Stop sniggering back there in the cheap seats. How can you expect others to love you if you don’t love yourself? From a business perspective, this extends to looking after your team’s health and well-being, creating a great culture and investing in your employees as people rather than seeing them as being there just to do a job. And from a personal perspective it means taking time out to do the things you enjoy, avoiding burnout, and making sure you have time – to steal a phrase from a famous cider brand – dedicated to you.
If you have stories of how referrals have helped grow your business or ways you’ve gone the extra mile for your customers, we’d love to hear them. You can email them to me here and the best ones will be featured right here on our blog.