As I continue to look at ways we can potentially be different to keep ahead of the game, I think it is very important to make a list of business practices we should keep in mind:
1. Your goal should always be to not only meet, but exceed your clients’ expectations. It’s the only way to build a reputation of quality and service.
2. Always be clear about who your clients are. When you know who your clients are, you’ll automatically know who your clients aren’t.
3. Once you learn who your clients are, it’s important to establish a client’s profile. Track information about their attitude, lifestyle, social expectations, etc. It took me years to understand the needs of the high end market. Most of my clients have seen it all, so it is much more difficult for me to surprise them with new ideas.
4. When you meet a potential client, the sooner you understand what they want and need, the sooner you can establish if they can afford it. If they can’t, think about what you can actually sell them to make them happy.
5. This is a very important practice. If you feel like a potential client cannot afford your prices (by the way this happens to everyone), make sure you have a referral to suggest to them. This makes your potential client feel like you are still giving them good service.
6. Always make a memorable first impression. Even if a potential client uses someone else, this is what they’ll remember.
7. You could make that lasting first impression by appealing to all of their senses:
- Sight: For example, a clean beautiful space with some flowers
- Sound: Soothing music perhaps?
- Smell: Scented candles or scented flowers
- Touch: A warm, welcome hand shake or a wonderful embrace
- Taste: Serve some sweets, drinks, nuts etc.
8. We often forget we are in the service business. Our goal should always be TO SERVE. The main characteristic of any 5 star hotel is that they always avoid saying, “no” to any guest’s request. This should also be our goal for giving great service. (Except, of course, when clients want it for free. Then, at times, we’ll need to learn to say no.)
9. Honesty is the best policy for any client. Our business of entertaining is mostly about creating client’s dreams. At times, we need to remind our clients that they have very expensive dreams.
10. Even if we need the business, PLEASE never forget that all clients may not be right for us. However, they should always walk away with a lasting impression of your meeting.
Being unique and different requires a lot of effort to detail. Which of the above points do you find easy to implement and which do you have difficulty with?
(Image via Barbara Cannela)