Monday, June 11, 2007

Little Things

It's been my routine for quite awhile now:
Every morning, well, weekday mornings, I begin my day with stumbling over to the coffee pot to prepare our mornings hazelnut brew-if Bigdogg hasn't beat me to it already-

Usually someone out of our three boys are stirring, or already up for that matter. For the most part it's Benjamin, ready to have his full balanced breakfast of mini pancakes no syrup, oatmeal, and either yogurt or a banana, capping it off with a nice warm bottle of nasty smelly soy formula.

Bigdogg is usually out the door before a quarter of 7 ready to begin his rather short walk to catch his train into downtown Chicago. Not a nanosecond after he's closed the door behind him, I whip out the morning paper to enjoy a few minutes of peaceful reading as Ben sits in his highchair next to me, drinking that nasty soy stuff. Coffee in one hand sipping up the aroma's of the morning I always start reading the front page first, moving onto the Neighborhood section, and then finally to finish up, the Business Tech Section. The Daily Herald, my paper by choice, is a prodigious combination of sweet smelling ink that surprisingly doesn't leave marks on my fingers. Filled with well written stories and those always can be found personals about Mrs. Whanker not being responsible for the credit debt accumulated by Mr. Whanker. I don't know if it's the combination of my hazelnut brew with the smell of the ink, as the morning birds begin their songs, but there's something very peaceful about this entire combination.

I live for this time. I need this time, every morning, or it will throw off my entire day.
There are days that I am unable to sit at the kitchen table and read my paper, being that Ben has managed to down 8ounces in a matter of minutes, after his full course breakfast meal. But I adapt and we retire, mom and son, to the living room-otherwise known as the "breakable room"- to engage in playpen time and mommy reading paper time.

Today was one of those mornings where the paper reading occurred in the living room. Surprisingly, Ben was content to be hanging out in his penitentiary of butterfly walls and squeaking ladybugs with crinkly crackly wings that he loves chewing on.

At this point I was already on the Business Tech Section when my eyes fell upon a rather judicious article** located on page 2, section 4, of the Daily Herald. The article was about this Financial Firm that markets themselves in a unique way, that makes them stand out. They don't have a leviathan sized marketing department to promote their name. No "big media budgets," as the article says, or, "no marketing guru needed." Instead they approach things simple, built on the little things that are causing this firm to gain attention. From their "Random Acts of Kindness," they managed to pay attention to the little things. They send out birthday cards, if they discover a story in the newspaper about their client, or even if their child is written up in say, the sports section, they send them a framed copy of the story. They host wine tasting parties and invite numerous clients, some clients receive Valentines candy. A client that was moving out of state that had an interest in kayaking, received a book on local kayaking trails from the co-founder of this firm. The main difference between this company and others? They listen, and not only do they listen, but they take the time to capture the things that mean most to their clients.

They really go above and beyond with the little things.

I remember being ridiculed back when I was in the car industry for writing down on the back of my "up's profile sheet" (the sheet that every "automobile specialist" is required to fill out on you) how many children my "potential opportunity" had with them. Anything that they'd talk about on a personal level, I'd write down. The other salesmen would tease me left and right for wasting time on all the meaningless BS. "Why waste your time writing down that they like snowmobiling, they're probably on their way to another dealership to price compare." "Instead of sitting here at your desk writing all this useless crap down, not to mention trying to remember it all, you could be out there trying to sandbag that couple that are now on the used car lot."

They just didn't get it. Sure, the "guest" that enjoys snowmobiling may not have bought from me this time, but when I followed up with them two days later as I always did, I would remember to tell them that "if they hadn't purchased a vehicle yet, we just got in a fabulous SUV on trade that has the trailer tow package-which would make it easier for them to tow their snowmobiles." Now, they may have bought elsewhere, but without a doubt, it never failed, I would get a thank you card, or a follow up call, or even a referral from people that didn't buy from me, but that appreciated the time and effort I put into with them. The personalized impact that I made on them not only caused them to remember, but it also assisted with my overall success when they'd return in another year to me, to buy a car for their daughter.

I did spend quite a bit of time capturing the personal side of my "guests," but it always paid off.
The dealership would spend exorbitant amounts of advertising money in the local paper and car magazines showing off their shiny deals for the week. Yet I would sit for maybe 10minutes after every guest left, if I hadn't sold them, writing down personal information that would be useful in the future. It was very successful, and I didn't need to spend a dime. It's all about making the extra effort, showing some listening skills, and keeping it simple, that generally proved to be most profitable in a sales driven industry.

You may disagree, however, I was very successful in the car industry, in the mortgage industry, in the B2B Telcom industry, and even the cruise industry, mainly because I took the time to listen, capture and make a big deal about the little things.

And I even sent out handwritten thank you cards to my guests, and birthday cards to show the difference.

Welcome To Crustybeef~
What type of difference do you make in the career that you're in? Do you actually listen to your clients? Do you take the time to remember the little things they may mention? Even if it has to do with the type of coffee they drink? Maybe you should try it for one week, and see the difference it makes. Everyone that works can improve on this particular task, no matter what industry you're in. Including Stay at home moms!

**the title of the article is "MARKETING SUCCESS BUILT ON RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS," written by Jim Kendall in June 11Th's paper from THE DAILY HERALD.* *


Anonymous said...

This girl can sell ice to an Eskimo :)

Anonymous said...

I agree she can sell. She sold me!!! anyways...

Baleboosteh said...

It sounds like you enjoy a beautiful coffee drinking and paper reading morning every morning! You are lucky, I wish I could too, instead I find my mornings filled with hair doing and teeth brushing chaos while I walk around like a zombie before the girls go to catch the bus for school! Lol!

I think the more personal approach is far better! I don't think you were wasting time at all - I wish more sales people took that approach, the more caring approach.

austere said...

Thanks for sharing. I have gotten to the stage where I had forgotten.