Long-term business relationships tend to build gradually. We meet someone who has seemingly common interests and goals and over time trust can be established. Questions like “if I recommend this person’s business how will it reflect back on me?”, “will they treat the lead I just gave them well?”, “will they help me build my business and reputation also?” will only be answered as we make opportunities to interact together.
As an example, the relationships I continue to establish with colleagues throughout the years have seen me through both hard and amazingly great times. When I announce a new class that I need help filling or the need to brainstorm on how to overcome a business challenge there are people already in place in my life that I know I can count on. Since building solid relationships takes time they are best made through intentional efforts to stay in touch, reaching out to see how you can help others and being a resource for those around you. I am blessed to be surrounded by a group of like-minded business professionals who care both about me and my business, and I continue to be thankful every day for the wonderful people in my life.
I was excited to hold my first Community Service Class this week – “Marketing 101 – A Crash Course”. The meeting was hosted by Amy Mangione who is the owner of Fratellos Cafe’ and Catering. I loved the free flow of ideas as we talked about different aspects of writing a Strategic Marketing Plan for your business (writing a step-by-step plan on how to get your business where it needs to go utilizing different marketing techniques).
I was fortunate to have many brushes with fantastic customer service this week. My first was over the weekend at Denny’s where I eat often. When I come in most of the staff greets me personally. I was pleasantly surprised when the assistant manager took a percentage off of my meal ticket because she wanted to thank me for being a regular. Another morning I met a colleague for breakfast at Dunkin’ Donuts and discovered that if you purchase something to eat along with a coffee drink you get free refills. Since I am a recovering Starbucksaholic, I was happily surprised that my Iced Mocha was refilled for free. I ended the week at Fratellos for my class. Amy is a wonderfully giving person and treated all of us to free coffee and tea. This was unexpected and generous since she was already providing the meeting space at no charge. These encounters reminded me how much great customer service can add to the value of an experience and cause long term brand loyalty.
The past three or four nights have been sleepless for me, filled with extensive tossing and turning. Yesterday, despite how I was feeling I attended a fabulous monthly luncheon sponsored by the Peoria Chamber. On the drive over, I realized that because of my fatigue I forgot to wear any makeup. This was an especially uncomfortable observation, because I was about to announce the new classes I am teaching in front of the whole assembled group.
Even though I felt less confident than usual, I went on anyway and announced my class in spite of the big black circles under my eyes. And, guess what? The response was so strong that the class is almost filled up. So I was reminded that most people look past little distractions and see the big picture. Also, life can be great even with little sleep.