By Maureen Sanders
Business etiquette is key if you are seeking success in today’s marketplace. Under the banner of customer service. is the humble but vital ability to connect with people in a polite, courteous and above board fashion. Sadly, many people no longer comport themselves with grace and ease and they require some coaching. It is an art to treat others with respect and kindness, particularly in the frenetic environment we all inhabit today. When your client, vendor, associate or colleague senses that you are a stand up person who consistently treats him/her with dignity, you’d be surprised at how strong their allegiance to you becomes.
As small business owners, it is crucial that you take advantage of every opportunity to strengthen market share and develop new relationships while retaining your present customer base. Good manners are often an overlooked professional tool.
Remember, there is a tendency for your friends and relatives to forgive you when you forget your manners, but forgiveness is a rare commodity in the marketplace. Strength in people skills;
- active listening,
- the ability to make proper introductions
- the knack of dining with a client without any awkwardness
- the talent to respond to telephone and e-mail messages with finesse and tact
- the art of conveying a professional image
is becoming a scarcer and scarcer aptitude. Demonstrating know how in fundamental social skills gives even a small player big market potential.
A popular series of books goes by the title, “Don’t sweat the small stuff”, but often, in business, it is precisely the small stuff that really makes the biggest impact on how you or your business is perceived. People do pay attention to details and they are turned off by bad manners. Your behavior —good or bad-immediately affects a customer’s perception of your ability, dependability, integrity, values and more.
You want to grow your business? Here are some sure fire ways to put your best foot forward:
- Dress like a professional
- Send hand written thank you notes to clients, vendors and employees who deserve your recognition
- Return phone calls promptly and efficiently
- Keep your promises
- Take on the habits of a servant leader
- Be sincere
- Avoid profanity
- Learn how to make gracious introductions
- Review proper table etiquette
- Be patient with other people-cut them some slack if the occasional “bad day” presents itself.
Is this rocket science? Of course not, but regrettably, in the day to day sturm und drang of running your own business, these niceties can fall through the cracks. Be vigilant; don’t let them become unimportant luxuries. Competition for market share is stiff. Don’t discount good manners as a means of attaining and retaining your clients.
Maureen Sanders is President of High Road Solutions, a company devoted to convincing your team to win success with courtesy and integrity. You may reach her at: www.highroadsolutions.com or (732) 537-9550.