I’ve been starting and growing businesses most of my life. When you grow up in a huge ethnic and entrepreneurial family, you are hard-wired to work, work, work. So for me, working has always been like breathing, which is why I think that at a very early age, and especially as I matured into my own ventures, I figured out a way to make my business rewarding and fun, while also being profitable.
Through all the “formal” training courses, academics (while at university), and books I’ve read, there’s a thread of what I consider common sense and have learned “on the job” as I welcomed the public into our businesses: Make friends. Be friendly. Smile. Make eye contact, and above all, say a person’s name when addressing them.
I have found this to be a key in breaking down barriers, warming things up when relationships are starting to form when a new customer is greeted for the first time.
Imagine my delight, as I’ve grown my Social Business Agency, that these are not just key business-building elements off line, they are equally, if not more crucial when building online relationships, where we don’t have the advantage of looking into a person’s eyes to communicate sincerity.
Think about it. In the world of Twitter, for example, where we reach out in concise bites with a limited character count, how does it make you feel when someone warmly greets you by first name, in addition to your Twitter handle?
Whether online or off, I’ve noticed that I often respond more warmly to someone who takes the time (and uses the space) to say my name.
By the same token, one of the biggest Social Business “fails” I’ve seen, is a business that identifies themselves as the name of the business, without identifying the people and names behind the business. This happens on owned channels as well, like websites.
If you don’t think it’s important to let people “in” to get to know you BY NAME, whether at your brick and mortar, through a web inquiry, or on your social media channels, I encourage you to start weaving this, as matter of policy, into your everyday interactions with human beings who have the potential to support and grow your business alongside you.
It’s simple, elementary, and in my opinion, can make all the difference in a business that thrives, or one that’s skating along.
Say my name. It’s music to my ears. Test it out in the coming weeks with your business, on and off line. See if it makes a difference.
Have you ever noticed this distinction in your own business relationships, whether on or off line? I’d love your comments if you have something to add.