In June, I had the opportunity to be a guest speaker for the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce. This fantastic group of people organized an outstanding Women’s Conference & Expo, another fine example of the incredible support that our business community receives from the Chamber. As advocates they want our businesses to learn and to grow.
My presentation topic was so well received that I’d like to share some of the highlights with all of you. Are you ready to roll up your sleeves and put the gardening gloves on? Let’s go!
How many of you have planted flowers or vegetables this spring? You’ve invested in the plants, great soil, fertilizer, tools and mostly your time but without water, sunlight, and nutrition, your gardens wouldn’t be able to flourish.
When it comes to clients and potential customers, they need care similar to our plants. Today, I’d like to share with you some of my “Perennial Favorites.” Trusted by generations of “gardeners” these Business Basics provide just the right environment to get your connection with clients off to a great start. These favorites are extremely helpful for a variety of clients and situations, they’re guaranteed to work and will promote “beautiful results”! When used regularly, you’ll have a thriving garden of customers!
5 Star Customer Service: This includes strong follow through with good turn-around time. It is said, “If We Don’t Take Care of the Customer, Someone Else Will.”
Answer your client’s questions in a timely manner.
Be on time for appointments either virtually or in person showing you are organized and prepared.
Be a Winning Professional: This is the way you present yourself and your business. We don’t get a second chance at a first impression, this business basic can set you apart like a daffodil and a dandelion! A well-kept appearance says a lot. Are you calm, level headed in tense situations? Is your demeanor friendly and respectful? How do your online posts and profiles portray you?
After planting these seeds, here are a few more favorites:
Use a Person’s Name: There is no sweeter sound to a person than their name. “Thank you, Marigold for your time today.” “Petunia, how long have you been in the floral industry?”
Be a Good Listener: In order to be a good listener, we need to be there both physically and mentally.
Look at the person when they speak.
Take notes while they're talking.
“Lily, that’s a great point! What a good idea.” Physically nod. When done ask, “Rose, may I please read these notes back to you?” This affirms that you were listening to your customer or potential client. It also gives them the opportunity to add more information/jog their memory. It’s impressive and helpful.
Put The Phone Away: Unless you are expecting an urgent call (be sure to let your customer know that) put your phone on silence. Put your phone away. Don’t look at it, don’t let it ring. It can be the interruption that takes all the energy out of securing or keeping a customer.
Be Genuinely Interested: A sincere person knows the importance of focusing on the other side. Any problems we’ve encountered that day are left in the car or off the call. This is your next customer! If meeting in a client’s office and there are photos on display, be sure to ask about them. The same applies for an award or plaque displayed on the wall. Most folks would be touched to see this genuine interest – I know I would!
Thank You: Two powerful words that can be sent in an e-mail or better yet, a handwritten card. Sometimes a $2.00 lottery ticket will find its way into the envelope as the customer’s time was “worth a million to you”. If someone was kind enough to refer you to a client, be sure to send them a note as well. Just how many more referrals do you think that person will send you?
I hope you’ve enjoyed a short segment from my presentation: “How to Grow a Garden of Customers.”
These “Perennial Favorites” are ideas that have come from years of practice, wins, and losses. Use the information that “spoke” to you and combine it with some action steps. You’ll be amazed at what happens next!
In the story “All That I Had” folks read about a very special perennial that has survived for well over 100 years. The word perennial means: lasting for a long time, unending and continually re-occurring. The bleeding-heart plant was a gift given to my Grandparents on their wedding day from their parents. The tradition continued when my mom and dad were married in 1950. Today, at the age of 98, Mom still nurtures and cares for the bleeding heart and enjoys sharing this special story for those fortunate enough to visit her while in the garden.
Thank you, friends for taking the time to read my article. Be sure to stay safe and look out for each other. Your support means the world to me.
Have a “sizzling” summer!
Kathy Ann Corse
Author & Motivational Speaker
Kathy is available to present “How to Grow a Garden of Customers” for businesses, groups and corporations, along with many other topics.
To schedule your next speaking engagement contact Kathy at: