Simple Ways To Amplify Client Connections And Maximize Your Personal Impact
In the time you took to read this sentence, more than 20 million emails were written.
I know what you’re thinking: “Half of them just landed in my inbox!”
In this day and age when connecting with anyone is so easy, why is it that we struggle to stay in touch with people? That sounds like a trick question, but it’s not.
The fact is that at any given time we’re experiencing an abundance of messages coming from a multitude of sources. The moment we open our eyes in the morning, the messages begin to flood in. Guess what? Your customers are in the same boat.
So, how can you stand out—get noticed—and encourage your customers to drink your Kool-aid?
One word: INVIGORATE!
1. I – Inspire. Be someone who people want to follow. People love to be associated with successful people who have influence. The easiest way to become someone of influence is to become a giver. Get involved with your community, send someone an email with a compliment, endorse or congratulate a connection on LinkedIn, send a customer a gift on their work anniversary or sponsor a cause. Look for opportunities to give.
2. N – Necessary. We want white space, not white noise. Just as white space is very effective in print ads, creating some scarcity in your communication can make each connection more powerful. Over-communicating eventually becomes white noise. An overabundance of any kind of communication waters down your message. Communicate with purpose.
3. V – Visit. In an effort to be productive and profitable you’re naturally going to watch where your time is invested. As a professional, your time is in demand and it’s expensive. However, there is no other form of communication that can generate the same energy as being in the same room as your customer. Therefore, schedule quality time with your customer.
4. I – Incorporate humor. Let’s not interchange “humor” with “casual.” Professionalism and competence is cornerstone in your relationship. Keep in mind, though, that you’re speaking to a human being. Addressing stress or chaos head-on by injecting some positivity and humor can help you connect at a more human level. We say we’re business-to-business but in fact, we’re human-to-human.
5. G – Get to the point. Making the audience search for your point or have to wade through other pieces of information to find your point is a great way to lose them. Instead, be direct. Use words and terms that help them quickly grasp your message. If you’re sharing multiple points, number them or let your reader/listener know that there will be more than one point. Ask for a specified amount of time in advance. Less is more.
6. O – Opinion. How do you know what your customers are looking for if you haven’t asked? Surveys are valuable to keep up to date on your customers’ needs and communication styles but asking simple questions in your email or blog can be great learning experiences.
7. R – Relevant. I remember the days when the 100-percent white cotton XL t-shirt was the go-to gift. The problem? It fit only a handful of the recipients so it was relevant only to a small percentage of the audience. It was a lesson learned not only with promotional gifts but with communication in general. Get to know your audience and deliver insights, specials, articles, spec samples and gifts that are relevant to that specific client.
8. A – Always be true to your word. You might be thinking, “What does this have to do with effective communication?” Being true to your word has to do with absolutely everything. If you say you’re going to send a sample, send it. If you say you’re going to respond to a quote request by a specified date, respond. If you say you’re going to support a cause, attend an event, make a referral introduction, offer a guarantee, answer a survey, write a testimonial or anything else, commit to it and do it. Be true to your word and be consistent.
9. T – Think like your recipient. When you talk “at” people, your communication is likely all about you. When you talk “to” people, you’re empathetic. You have a much better chance of being heard and invited in when your communication is designed with the recipients’ needs and lifestyle in mind. Recently, I suggested temporary tattoos to a customer for a new program. She said, “I don’t want to do tattoos because I don’t like tattoos.” My comment back was, “With all due respect, it doesn’t matter whether or not you like tattoos because you’re not the target audience.” The tattoos won. A word of caution: Be sensitive to your customers’ flood of communication and deliver your message in a way that makes it fun and easy to do business with you.
10. E – Educate. Communication is always about adding value. Every piece of communication should have a purpose. Your recipient should, in some way, have the potential to do more, have more or be more as a result of what you share. Including some research, a quote, a case history, a behind-the-scenes look or education component enhances your point and paves the way for better understanding.
While no one form of communication will be effective for all audiences, if you remember to always INVIGORATE your customer, you will improve your chances of winning their business and prime them to want more.
Jae M. Rang, MAS, is chief inspiring officer of Oakville, Ontario-based distributor JAE Associates Ltd. (UPIC: J561178) and author of Sensory Media, published in 2015. JAE Associates Ltd. is a full-service promotional marketing agency helping business leaders around the globe build relationships. Rang has won a number of national Image awards for creative campaigns, is past chair of the Promotional Product Professionals of Canada (PPPC), chair of the PPPC Scholarship program, 2011 inductee in the PPPC Hall of Fame, 2014 recipient of the PPPC Humanitarian Award and most importantly, William’s mom.