Manners and etiquette are vital for securing new business and maintaining established clients/customers. Mannerable behaviors are an indication of professionalism. Possessing them will take you toward a rewarding career and invaluable customer-based friendships.
It is stated that we become what we practice. Here are 9 manners suggestions that, if practiced on a regular basis, will take you and your company to new heights.
- Have a positive attitude. Sit erect when meeting with the customer. Do not slouch. Show interest in the conversation by having good eye-contact, being attentive, and engaging. A positive attitude begins with the right language and gestures.
- Show acknowledgment. Acknowledge the customer or prospective client by reiterating the communication. Example: “Thank you for informing me about that, and furthermore, I agree with you.” This and similar responses (“I’ll find the answer for you.”) will alert the person that you distinctly heard him/her. Also, it provides the conversation with fluidity and says you are mutually agreeable.
- Treat everyone with respect. Regardless of the person’s position within the company, their title, or employment longevity; show respect and graciousness.
- Return calls in a timely manner. Returning a phone call or responding to an email or text message within 24 hours comes under the heading of superb business practices, and it’s a sign of respect.
- Exhibit interest in their expertise. If you come across a magazine or newspaper article about the client company or an individual within the organization, send it to your contact there. If the item is online, provide a link. Doing so is an act of kindness, and it informs the person of your genuine interest.
- Admit responsibility for your mistakes. This involves sincerely apologizing and stating a solution for the situation for which there is regret. In this instance, you are seen as sincere and a problem solver: with the client’s best interest in mind.
- You are hosting a customer at a restaurant. Choose a high-quality establishment and arrive before your guest(s). As the host, initiate a firm but neither hard nor limp handshake and welcome your guests warmly. Be kind to the wait staff and never talk with food in your mouth. Review the menu before your guests arrive and make a suggestion(s) after everyone is seated. Turn off your phone and keep it off the table while dining; the focus of your attention should be on your dining partner(s). The standard gratuity is 20% for excellent service; more if the server goes beyond the call of duty.
- Voicemail. Speak slowly throughout your message and enunciate your name and phone number. Messages should last a maximum of 30 seconds in length.
- Using Names. Use a person’s formal name at introductions. Say Thomas, not Tom. Alice, not Ally. If you’re the introducer, using an associate’s or client’s full name is a must. During conversations, listen for cues to less formality, e.g., “You may call me Ally.”
The nine tips above are by no means all-inclusive. There are additional ways to market yourself and your company using business etiquette (manners) to your definitive advantage; and that of the customer. Further, you might have a set of etiquette standards which you frequently deploy in the course of one’s occupation. Great acts of politeness and positive verbal admonishments can have a significant impact on securing business. The importance of marketing in this form cannot be overstated. The stakes are high for you and your company.