The impression you and your company make on your buyers and business associates is what keeps them coming back – or not. Buyers don’t buy your product so much as they buy you! So, what do they think about you, your manners, and your values? How can you demonstrate through your everyday business dealings that you care about them, their feelings and their needs and responsibilities? Here are five tips to send the right message.
1. When your payment won’t be there on time, call your vendors as soon as you know you can’t make the due date. Don’t wait till it’s overdue and make them call you. That makes you a “beg pay”. Come right out and say that you know they have bills to pay and are depending on your receivable. Offer a payment plan that will bring your account current – and stick to it. Identify the receivables you have coming in that are earmarked for them. They will appreciate your honesty and cooperation more than they will be irritated by your tardiness. Give them a timely “heads up” that will allow them to make adjustments to maintain their own credit.
2. When your payment will be there, finally don’t just drop it in the mail. Call and tell them when it’s being processed. This will remove their anxiety and remind them that you are just as concerned as they are about your overdue payment. This shows them that you are their kind of customer, someone who cares, and someone they can depend on. This courtesy will figure prominently when you ask for extended credit or better terms.
3. When you are asked to do something special by your vendors or customers, don’t just do it. Give them a non-solicited comfort call or an email with a progress report and an ETA. When it’s done, again call or email and tell them it’s done. Your status reports give them a feeling of relief that their request has not been dropped. You will be the kind of business partner with whom they will want to do more business.
4. When you blow it take the initiative. Contact them first and fast. Tell them what happened. If appropriate, offer compensation before they ask. Show them all the procedures, signs, and checklists that have been amended to prevent the error in the future. They know nobody’s perfect. Don’t just “whistle past the graveyard” or “sweep it under the carpet”. Actually admit to it and improve your working relationship with them. They will appreciate your integrity and will want to do more business with you.
5. Show them you care. Every once in a while, without any particular reason, send them a hand written post card. Choose a beautiful natural scene from your town or state. Thank them for their continuing business and tell them how much you and your company appreciate it. The post card is substantial, not virtual. It shows that you took off line action and went out of your way to say thanks. The picture reminds them of the beautiful outdoors at a time when they are confined in an indoor environment. A real post card does not get deleted like an email but stays around for days, and may be seen by the entire office staff. Consider sending flowers for all their staff to enjoy that say you and your company appreciate them.
Everyday transactions send a message that goes way beyond your product or its value. Make sure you and your company are sending the right message. Try these simple business courtesies and show some class!
Who We Are.
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.
Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.
They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.
Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at www.consumerbrandbuilders.com.
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