Friday, August 20, 2010
By Mike Kaselnak
Everybody wants everything done fast! Unless it is done to them.
Doctors are told to spend less time with each patient so that the hospital can make more money. Be faster! That's not what the patient wants.
The customer support person on the phone when I'm trying to get a fouled up airline ticket fixed is told to hurry up! There are more people that need help. That's not what I want.
A husband is impatient with his wife to get to the point or to get ready to go. He's got things to do! That's not what his wife wants.
Emails, faxes, the internet, credit cards, ATMs, drive-thru's...everything is designed to hustle things up! That can be good thing or a bad thing depending on what the person receiving the treatment wants.
Let me ask you a question. How many of your clients want to be treated in a rushed fashion? How many of them want you to hurry them through transactions and decisions?
Not a very big percentage is it?
In any profession, it may seem like the best policy is to communicate as fast and efficiently as possible, and there are certainly times where that is the best policy. However, when it comes to the overall perception we want our clients to have of us, fast and efficient can seem very cold.
Health, money, family, any of these things require the professional to slow down to show that they care about the person as much as the "ailment."
Using fast, efficient communication can actually backfire on a professional. Instead of being perceived as great service, it can be construed as cold and uncaring. You need to really foster the message of caring in your communications with your clients and prospects.
How can you do that?
The handwritten note and the phone call are really the two best ways. Given a choice between those two choices, the handwritten note is better most times because it conveys even more caring and effort needed to produce it.
I think any professional that has been around for awhile understands the power of the handwritten note but for many they are at a loss for what to put into a handwritten note.
Here are some ideas on how use your handwritten notes to create a practice where people know that you care and thus feel the need to refer to you:
1. Say thank you as often as you can. Thanks for coming in. Thanks for the trust you put in me. Thanks for sharing what was happening in your life when we got together last week. Anything and everything. People loved to be thanked!
2. Follow-up on any meeting. If you just happen to bump into someone. Send them a note letting them know you enjoyed seeing them and you'll have them eating out of your hand the next time you do see them. Send a note after a formal meeting noting 1 or 2 of the top things covered. Follow-up with your accountant after he does your taxes with a handwritten note and you will have begun a whole different dynamic between the two of you.
3. Remember client anniversaries, wedding anniversaries, and birthdays.
4. Send a card to let them know you remember what is going on in their lives. A note sent after their vacation hoping they had a good time. A note celebrating the baptism of their grandchild if they brought it up at your meeting. A note letting them know you though of them after the big storm last night.
5. Send them a note about nothing or with a little joke or riddle to tickle them.
6. Send them a note about a special meeting you are having or a lunch that you are hosting. Invite them and suggest they bring friends.
7. The more that you send and the more personal you make it..the more success you will see.