I hate to sound like one of those cheesy get-rich-quick commercials, but this week I am going to let you in on a little secret that is so powerful that it will immediately change the way you do business.
In fact, this little secret is so powerful that you will be amazed at its immediate effect on you, your employees, and your bottom line. This little secret is guaranteed to improve your relationship with current customers and if used wisely, can get you lots of new customers without spending a dime on marketing or advertising.
Do want to know what this little secret is?
Before I let the cat out of the bag let me ask you one question: What are the two little words you can say to every customer that will immediately endear them to your business and guarantee that they will be your customers for life?
OK, here goes: the little secret is this; whenever you have contact with your customers, whether it's in person, or by phone, fax or email, always use their name. Likewise the answer to my question: what two little words can drive your business through the roof: your customer's name.
When you use a customer's name the business experience becomes personal. And when the business experience becomes personal your customer becomes vested in the relationship and thereby becomes your friend. When you use the customer's name they become as concerned about your success as you are.
At the sound of his or her name your customer becomes your champion. They will toot your horn and defend your honor. They will recommend you to their friends and be loyal to you to the end, even when they can get the same product or service elsewhere for less money.
Unfortunately, 99% of business owners and especially their employees fail to realize the importance of personalizing the business relationship. While they are happy to take my hard-earned dollars, most businesses could care less what my name is. That's why so many businesses fail: they see their customers as numbers, not names. The 1% of businesses that understand the impact of personalizing the business experience are the ones that will flourish for many years to come.
Case in point: I'm the one at my office who goes through the mail every day, pulls out the checks, opens the envelopes, signs the checks, makes out the deposit slip, and takes the deposit to the bank. Sure, I could have someone else do this for me, but making the bank deposit is my absolute favorite thing about being an entrepreneur. Seeing numbers on a deposit slip validates my efforts. It is proof that I am doing something right.
So I go to the bank a lot. So much so that the young lady at the drive through, whose name is Karen, knows me on sight and always seems genuinely happy to see me pull up.
"How are you today, Mr. Knox, she always ask.
I can be in the lousiest mood of my life, but when I hear my name come through that speaker my mood immediately brightens. I always smile and chirp back: "I'm fine, Karen, how are you?
And it's even better if I have someone in the car with me. I have gone through that drive through with business partners and customers in my car and when they hear "How are you today, Mr. Knox? they are highly impressed, simply because Karen used my name.
"Wow, they always mutter. "They know you here, huh.
"Yep, I say proudly, ego adequately stroked. "I have all my accounts here: personal and business checking, savings, lines of credit, merchant account. This is the best dang bank on the planet. In fact, you should move all your accounts here!
Over the years I have probably recommended a dozen new customers to this bank, just because Karen, the wonderful drive-through teller who understands the value of good customer relations, uses my name every time I drive in.
Here's another example of how using a customer's name can add dollars to your bottom line. I was in Kansas City recently and stopped in at a Ruth's Chris Steakhouse for dinner. When I asked for a table the host asked for my name before showing me to a table.
A few minutes later a young man came by to fill my water glass and asked, "Can I get you an iced tea, Mr. Knox?
The host had obviously told the waiter my name and the waiter used it immediately to make me feel at home. A few minutes later another young man delivered bread to my table and said, "Here's your bread, Mr. Knox.
Before the night was over four different service people had visited my table and each used my name in a respectful manner. By the end of the meal I had spent $75 on dinner and dropped another $50 on tips.
Was it because the food was delicious? In part, but primarily it was because I felt like I had just had dinner with friends.
And do you think I now tell everyone I meet about this restaurant with the great food and the amazing service?
I'm telling you about it, aren't I?
Here's to your success!