The world is moving at a dizzying pace, and people on both sides of the business spectrum know it. Getting personal with your customers will help you achieve success faster.
When competing with the big boys you may not think you can keep up but being small has it’s own advantages. If he’s got high company overhead, then your home office is going to reward your handsomely. I recall having been one of the first home based business in my field, when the idea was hardly “in”, and certain customers were mocking me, and saying that I was operating out of a garage. Well for the first few months, they were absolutely right. I didn’t let the comments deter me; I called often and sent out email newsletters before it was fashionable. After a while, my customer base began to expect them, and if I missed an issue, they would call.
If you can’t visit your customer base all year round, as it was in my case, make it your business to attend industry trade shows. This is when you have an opportunity to be in the face of all those who see your name in their email box, on the packages that arrive at their warehouse, etc. Remember their names, and use those names as often as you can during your conversation. It also doesn’t have to be about business at every occasion, but at trade shows, people are short on time and if they need to talk turkey, then take the time. One of the mistakes exhibitors make, time and again, is that if their booth becomes crowded, and they cannot attend to everyone, they will miss a chance to recognize an impending order if they rush everyone off. The person with the signed order in his/her hand needs your attention. It doesn’t matter who else is standing there. If it’s important, they will return.
Judging A Book By Its Cover
First impressions are crucial, and perceptions, even if you feel they are unjustified, stick. Then they become truth. Undoing is a lot more exhausting and time consuming then getting it right the first time. Here again, remember that you are not going to win over 50 out of 50, nobody does. But as with most all business, the 80/20 rule has never failed (80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers), and it won’t fail you now. You need to ensure that your best comes across to those 20% of the people who will keep your business afloat. They are the ones that will give you repeat business throughout the year. Present well, dress appropriately, and avoid slang expressions. (even if the customer does otherwise). Your consistency will also translate as reliability, and that is something positive about your business image.
When you get back home to your office, you do what is called follow up. Every person that stopped in to see you gets an acknowledgement. Some letters will have to be tailored for the ones that gave you more than just attention. Your presentation, luckily, will also be professional, because in my office, from Day One of operations, we were completely computerized, right down to inventory control. Invoicing was linked to inventory and order taking, so as far as the world was concerned, Victoria Paper was a large operation. After all, we dealt with the most important papermakers in the world. And yes, eventually, we were able to afford warehouse space, and a few employees to boot.