I recently attended the 2010 LMA New England Chapter conference. It was a great conference, with the brightest spot being one particular workshop I attended. Presented by Deborah Knupp, the title was “Top 10 in 2010: Best Practices to Win Business in Any Market.” It was engaging, helpful and offered tips that anyone could implement immediately.
Although Deborah’s entire “Top 10″ list was excellent, one tip stood out for me above the rest. ”Have an Authentic Reason to Connect Through the 3 In’s.” Essentially, she recommends that when reaching out to one of your points of contact, always be genuine in your reason for contacting this person. This is a message I always share with my clients– build relationships through trust and by being helpful. If you live by this standard, your contacts will look forward to hearing from you and may be more likely to think of you when they need your services. The barometer includes the three “IN‘s”:
- INvitation. Extend an invitation that may interest your contact.
- INtroduction. Make a meaningful introduction for your contact.
- INformation. Pass along some relevant information to your contact.
Following Deborah’s suggestion makes great sense. Live by these ‘rules’ and you will strengthen your relationships with every encounter. Try it… I have and it feels great!
So many people use the words ‘thankful’ and ‘grateful’ interchangeably. Both words are quite popular this time of year as we approach Thanksgiving. Not a terrible thing, but what if we pause for a moment to ponder the difference between the words. Each word shows a slightly different emotion– one in response to something someone has done for you and the other defining a more internal reaction to a circumstance.
Check it out:
- The definition of grateful is to feel or show an appreciation of kindness.
- The definition of thankful is to feel pleased or relieved.
It is important to always show gratitude towards people and their acts of kindness towards you. This rings true in the business setting as well. We should be grateful for loyal clients– showing our appreciation for their business. It is ok to be thankful of course! You should feel pleased (and maybe relieved) that your clients continue to work with you.
I urge you to express feelings of both gratefulness and thankfulness year round. As a human race, we seem to infrequently show appreciation for what we have. Rather than spending time fretting over what we don’t have and can’t achieve, perhaps we should spare a few extra minutes each day realizing all of the powerfully positive things in our lives.
The point is simply this: express gratitude to your friends, family, colleagues and clients just for being there. They make all the difference.
With 8 weeks left in 2010, the year is quickly approaching its end. This time of year, people often become reflective, thinking through what went well and what didn’t. In that spirit, I was recently asked a great question by a client. This person wanted to make an impact in the last 8 weeks of the year. They wanted advice on where to focus their attention. I offer a two-part response.
First… take an inventory of relationships. Commit time to contacting clients to thank them for their business. Ask them about the year and listen to their thoughts, offering helpful insight where appropriate. Congratulate them on the successes and be empathetic with the low points.
Second… revisit the business plan. Now is a good time to confirm that the goals identified in your business plan are still sound and that all business development activities are furthering those goals. Do the goals need tweaking based on how the year went? Take note of what has been accomplished, what was redirected and what still needs to be tackled. Also, how close did you come to the anticipated budget? These are important pieces to analyze before building a plan for next year.
The end of the year is often busy with personal and business matters, however, it is essential to pay attention to the things that make your business successful. Caring for relationships and planning to succeed are essential and can not be overlooked. If possible, consider undertaking these activities every six months. At the very least, make this part of your best practices for every November. Make the most of your last 8 weeks and it will pay off every time!