Saying Thank You

As a consultant, I end up referring a lot of business to insurance agents because the client doesn’t really need my help. They might be simply looking for a new agent and they want to do it on their own. That’s fine and I am happy to give names of agents that I believe can provide good service. Often, I give the client several names and have them do the work. I never accept fees or commissions from agents. I just want an agent that will do a good job.

It never ceases to amaze me how seldom I get a thank you from those agents. Like I said, I don’t want money or gifts because I won’t accept them. A simple card or even at the least an e-mail acknowledgment would be nice. I do take that into account when I refer later.

The concept of saying thank you applies to all business. It’s not that difficult. Get a referral from someone and send a thank you card or note. Make it “real” versus electronic and it ups the ante. You end up becoming remembered and will ultimately get more referrals. The funny thing is if I (who have the ability to offer hot leads) don’t get thank you notes, I’m betting that other people referring don’t either. In fact, that agent probably isn’t even asking clients for referrals. Too bad. There’s a lot of business being left on the table from poor referral management.

Don’t be one of those business professionals who overlook the obvious. Say thank you for referrals.

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Saying Thank You Still Works

Not five minutes ago, I received a personal phone call from the head of a non-profit organization that I recently donated to.  His call was to simply say “thank you” by phone.  He acknowledged my contribution and said that in today’s economic challenges, every dollar counts.  He finished by reiterating his thanks and said goodbye.

That’s it.  Five minutes on a Wednesday morning and I will always be supporting that charity.

Think about it.  How a simple thank you can change how your business succeeds.  Whether you are a non-profit executive or a business owner, simply taking a few minutes to express your thanks with a phone call or card makes a huge impression.  I was most impressed that he called.  In today’s e-mail world, it would have been easy to just send it electronically, which in and of itself would have been nice.  By being “old school” and calling, it made it even more memorable.

How do you express thanks to your clients and customers?  Do you do it often enough?  This was a great reminder for me.  It should be for you, too!

Cheers,

23 Best Practices for Business Communications

Here are my 23 Best Practices for Business Communications.  They are not in any priority order or all-inclusive.  They are a good start.  If you commit to all 23, you will go a long way into providing more value for your clients, prospects, and business associates.

•    Learn to anticipate potential questions from clients, prospects, and audience
•    Use role playing as a practice aid for sales calls and networking
•    Arrive early for your speeches
•    Always check audio visual in advance
•    Be prepared for technology malfunctions
•    Internalize your value proposition
•    Write out your introduction and give it in advance to your presenter
•    Don’t try to sell in networking events
•    Build relationships first
•    Ask questions and be an active listener
•    If you’re at a meal, don’t talk with your mouth full
•    Make eye contact on hand shakes
•    Hold eye contact in speeches
•    Use personal stories to advance your message
•    Never stop learning – use professional development opportunities
•    Avoid filler words like uhm, ah, and so
•    Don’t beat yourself up over mistakes – learn and move on
•    Watch great speakers
•    Repeat names to help you remember them
•    Learn to improve your vocal variety and pace to match your message
•    Be likeable
•    Provide value in all your conversations, writings, and speeches
•    Use “you-focused” questions and terms

Cheers,

Twitter Identity Switch = Bad News

“Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.”  Oscar Wilde 1892

Oops.  I have a new experience to chalk up.

Last weekend I was an emcee for our Rotary District Conference.  Two of my fellow Rotarians thought it would be great to Twitter some of the events of the evening just in case any media outlets or journalists that follow me find interest.  “Not a bad idea,” I thought.  I lent my username and password to one of them since I would be preoccupied.  Oops.  I forgot that my Twitter account links to my Facebook, so every Tweet shows up on my Facebook page.

That night I found 15 posts over a 2 1/2 hour time frame.  Most of which didn’t have a lot of interest unless you were there and knew what was going on.  To make matters worse, it clogged up the system for my other friends and one actually hid my posts! Ouch!

Bottom line, those posts actually violate my best practices for Twitter and Facebook.  My friend had no idea that the Tweets would end up on my Facebook.  The whole issue was my fault.  Here’s my lessons learned…

1 – Guard your Twitter username and password like your credit cards.  Don’t let others, even if well-intentioned, change your pattern of communication.

2 -If you mess up apologize – like this.  My apologies to my Facebook friends who had no interest in those posts.  I want you to read the others, so please give me a mulligan!

Remember, etiquette is important in Twitter and Facebook, too.  Make sure you control your communications and stay out of hot water.

Cheers,

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