One of the things I’ve noticed is that the top 1% has a level of business courtesy others simply do not.
I am particularly interested in what separates the top 1% of business professionals, income-earners and producers from the other 99%.
My job, as your coach, is to bring the distinctions I make to your attention so you can create a superior quality of business, thereby ensuring your current and future success!
Expectation..I know you want what you want when you want it. Don’t we all? When you get a new client, its easy to promise the world … then follow the old adage of “its easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.”
I’m talking about the level of expectation that is created in the beginning of a new client relationship, response time (to phone calls, emails, and informational inquiries), and the amount of focus and attention given and received when in direct contact with clients and associates.
I’m working with a number of clients now who have recently gone through an extreme growth phase, leaving them in the enviable position of having almost more business than they can handle! A common complaint is current clients are wanting their projects and services *now* and new clients … well, the same. How to handle this delicate situation? Set the level of expectation from the beginning.
Coaching Corner — Expectation Super Strategy — Under-promise and over-deliver. (I know you’ve heard this before.) Be sure to always give beyond what you promise, well in advance of the promised date of completion. If you are providing a service, promise less than you know you normally deliver.
We live in an age where bad customer service is almost expected … when you make it a point to not only give good customer service but exceptional service, you often create an unbreakable bond of loyalty. If you offer a product or service that’s offered by many others, your “norm” must be well above what anyone else is offering. Especially if you want a business based on referrals.
In the event things go awry (as they sometimes do), have a conversation about your agreement — again, well in advance of when you said you would originally. “I know I promised to have that flooring delivered by 1 August, I’ve just been notified it won’t be delivered until the 11th. I wanted to let you know immediately of the delay. Is there anything I can do to be of service to you in the meantime?”
When you go out of your way to give that extra level of service, your customers will become, and stay, loyal to you (even if your services or goods are higher in price than some competitors).
Moving on to response time. First, a question: How many emails, unanswered, do you have in your inbox? saved messages in your voicemail, phone calls unreturned? mail, not read or responded to? I recently met a really interesting woman who provided a service I knew would be beneficial to a number of my clients.
I immediately sent her a hand-written note to follow-up on our conversation, then an email a few days later. It took her more than 30 days (that’s thirty!) to respond to my communications, which were specifically designed to get more information about her and her services so I could send her clients! In the past, have you called someone who failed to return your call?
Have you sent an important email that went unanswered? Did you feel, even if in some small way, that it must be about you, the sender? I’ll let you in on two little secrets – one, its rarely about you; and two, if you have unanswered communications the way you’ve felt in the past is exactly the way those folks are feeling right now about you.
Even if you are not prepared to address (or even necessarily want to) the sender, their situation, demand or request, you must respond, even if to say, “I’m not willing/able/capable of/interested in xxxx right now.”
But, Coach, I can hear you saying, I have over 700 emails in my inbox, at least thirty people I should call right now, piles of periodicals to read, my life is a constant barrage of information. How on earth do I keep up?
Coach’s Insight: Institute a 24-hour response policy. Now, I know I’ve blown some of your noodles. Hang with me for a moment. Because of the great world of technology, there are a couple of things you can do to be in touch with anyone who contacts you – instantaneously and automatically.
Welcome to the world of auto-responders! Are you out of your office for the day, or a few days? Create an email auto-responder that says, “I’m out of the office for a few days. Thank you for your email. I will be back in touch with you by xxxxx. For immediate assistance, contact my assistant at 555-1234.” This lets your sender know you’ve received their communication and your lack of ability to respond immediately to their needs has nothing to do with them (and, back to expectation, sets one you’re both clear about).
Those phone messages? Call during your blocked time to return calls, let them know you have only a moment and when you’ll be able to get back to them with more time. Call after hours, when you know you’ll get their voice-mail. Send them an email letting them know when you’ll call them back. Become known as someone who is “on it” … who responds, even in absentia.
Focus and Attention – I recently tried to make a business connection between two associates of mine I knew would benefit from knowing each other (the client and the non-client).
Both of them are extremely busy and it took a few days to connect them. When I finally did get a “feedback report” from my client about my non-client, I was sad to hear that the non-client made it clear he was “on the run, too busy to talk for long, gotta go, etc.” making my client feel as though they were somehow less busy or important than the other things going on in the life of my non-client.
Are you completely in the moment when you’re talking with someone, either in person or on the phone?
Coach’s Caution: Especially over the phone its easy to become distracted by things on your desk, people passing by, or *surprise* all of those unanswered emails. We all know when someone we are speaking with isn’t 100% present with us. I’ve noticed those extraordinary individuals who super-achieve always seem to come from a calm, collected place of “I’m with you.
There’s nowhere else I’d rather be, you’re the only and most important thing I’m going to focus on all day long.” Even if you’re frantic, crazed, moving at the speed of light, be careful not to convey that to anyone you’re speaking with.
Remember to breathe, focus … and enjoy the benefits of making your clients and associates (friends and family) feel as though they are the only thing you’re about in that moment.
Start today to create a level exceptional courtesy in your business. Your clients, prospects and associates will appreciate it greatly … it will contribute to your credibility as a professional – putting you in the top 1%, right where I know you want to be!
About the Author
Honorée Corder is CEO of Honoree Enterprises & Honoree Enterprises Publishing. Honorée is the best-selling author of more than a dozen books, and her mission is to inspire and motivate people to turn their vision and dreams into their real-life reality.