If you have been in business for some time you will know how important it is to build relationships. The more you know about the basics of human nature, the easier it is to build relationships and begin to understand why people buy. Below I have assimilated 4 basic facts about human nature that when applied to business, can be very powerful in relationship building.

1. Everybody loves getting something for free

It doesn’t matter how rich you are, a free offer is still likely to catch your attention. Instinctively people think that there is a catch, but in its basic form people still love getting something for free. It’s like receiving a gift, it makes you feel special, and everybody loves to feel that way. Some people think that offering a freebie is just basic bribery. However, if you make it open and honest with no strings attached, so that it is a genuine free offer, it can be one of the most effective ways to build
relationships with prospective new customers.

2.  We all love to be connected

The sudden growth of  social media has illustrated just how much we all love to connect with one another. However long before Facebook and Twitter connected us all, people still had personal networks and to some that was their currency. Lets remember we all have family connections, work connections, sporting and recreation connections; not to forget special interest connections. Even those we consider quiet, shy and retiring have circles of people that they connect with on a regular basis. Connecting and feeling that you matter to someone else is a basic human emotional need.

3. We love to give and feel generous

Deep down most of us have a desire to give and help one another. It makes us feel good about ourselves. There is also a natural reaction that when someone gives us something nice or does something special we want to reciprocate in some way. Therefore when you give clients and prospects something for nothing, it can help you build or strengthen the relationship they have with your business. Even though they may not initially buy from you, they may share your message or special offer with people within their network. This powerful word of mouth marketing is their way of giving back to you.

4. We love to feel important

Everyone of us likes to feel that in some way, whoever we are and whatever we do, it matters. Each and every human being has a primal need to feel important. If you build relationships with that in mind it helps you to keep your focus on the other person. When you show a genuine interest in people it makes them feel important.

Building a business is really about building relationships. By keeping these four basic human needs in mind you can be far more effective in your efforts. Remember business is all about giving and it is not so much about you, your business or what you have to offer.  It’s all about what can you do to help others and meet their individual needs. By understanding these basic human necessities and using your understanding with integrity, you can develop and grow a successful business.

Thank  you

As a busy person it’s so easy to get caught up in our day-to-day business in chasing our tail that we forget to maintain, practice and employ the simple basics of life and human interaction that are so fundamentally important to each and every one of us. The simple task of saying ‘Please’ and ‘Thank You’. Isn’t it remarkable how such simple words are so easily forgotten, but when used can carry so much more meaning than if forgotten.

As parents and business owners we realise that these simple basics are fundamentally important to our business and our growing children. If they are not maintained, it could have a detrimental effect on all of us in the future. If we don’t set a good example to our children about practising and maintaining these fundamental basic life skills of minding our P’s and Q’s then they will never be learned or employed, and will be forgotten.

Business should be a mirror of basic life, unfortunately that is not always the norm. However this lets us remember some of the basic facets of business. People buy people first; they only do business with people they like and fundamentally it’s all about give and take, and through the process we are remunerated for all these actions, and then the cycle continues.

Here’s the Big Question:

When was the last time you said ‘Thank You’ to your clients and or your suppliers, for their efforts, business, help and support in the day-to-day operation of your business? I appreciate that everyone responds differently to receiving gestures of gratitude and how you may want to that say thank you may be difficult from one customer / supplier to the next. Especially in this climate where organisations want to be seen as whiter than white and have strict guidelines and policies against employees receiving gifts or any form of recognition.

3 Simple Acts of Gratitude

1. Low Key Gestures:

Simple low key gestures can be just as effective as formal reward programmes and when gestures are subtle and more informal they often come across as being more genuine and wholesome than any marketing department has ever developed. When an occasion presents itself to reward a client for a referral or for just being a good customer, simple things that reflect their personal interests or a sense of shared good like a box of donuts for the team shows that you genuinely care about them and take an interest in their well-being. Every one of us on this planet wants to be recognised and made in some way feel important or appreciated for the work we do. A simple gesture of human kindness in a box of donuts or tin of sweets will always be appreciated and will always be remembered.

2. Communication:

In today’s technological age it is quite rare to receive a hand written note. So many of us rely on email, text or social media as our sole form of communication that when we make the time sit down to write a hand written letter or just a simple note, it will definitely be remembered. It shows that you do appreciate their effort and that you have taken the time and effort yourself to personally write to them acknowledging that.

3. Pick up the Phone:

Again we rely so much on email as our main route of communication that the simple task of picking the phone up and making the call to say thank you is more than enough to show that you care and appreciate their business. From this, you can then catch up with their news and events. This strengthens the relationship and will make them feel more inclined to get you involved in more business or introduce you to others who may also need your services because you are at the front of their mind.

Why Should I Bother?

The sole purpose of saying thank you is to make your clients and or suppliers feel important and appreciated, but like all good habits it needs to be practised and maintained for it to be effective. You need to be consistent with it and make sure that you build it into your ongoing business processes. Business is all about people and thanking them for the work they do. Highlighting the effort they provide will improve the way people feel about you and your organisation and will create a positive impact not only on you and your team but also on your business as a whole.

Remember business is all about giving; whether it is time, effort, support, advice or new business, you do so unconditionally. However when it is reciprocated, acknowledging and thanking people should be a fundamental step in your business process. The more we give, the more we get in return. Just reflect for a moment: did you embark on the giving of gifts this past Christmas on the basis that you wanted to get one in return? Or did do so purely on the premise that you wanted to say thank you to your friends and loved ones for their unconditional support, friendship, love and affection?

I am a great believer in the adage… “When you’re green you grow; when you’re ripe you rot”, in layman’s terms, every day is a school day and we are always learning abut ourselves and the world we live in. When asked about lessons learned from 2013 I think of one word. Perspective. Defined, it means a mental viewpoint or outlook: it gives us true understanding of the relative importance of things, a sense of proportion and where we as individuals fit amongst this bigger picture we call life.

Now I bring this up as we were only discussing this the other day at a round table discussion and thought it only fitting to share it here with you all. I, as no doubt many of you, have faced a number of challenges this past year on both a professional and personal front and will no doubt continue to do so going into the new year, however we must be thankful that we are still here living, breathing and trading when you consider the state of play within the economic landscape of the past few years.

Now before we all get lost the hullabaloo of the week ahead and the vortex of the season of giving lets just reflect on what has happened in the last 350 plus days and put it into perspective. In January 2013, 39 International Workers were killed in a hostage crisis in Algeria; in February, Russia was hit by an Meteor; in April, bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon; in June, flash floods and landslides kill more than 5,700 people and trap more than 20,000 in India. September saw Islamic militants attacked a shopping mall in Nairobi; November saw Typhoon Haiyan obliterate the Philippines and Vietnam. Not to mention the recent Glasgow helicopter crash at the end of November.

Now I don’t mean to be the voice of doom and gloom, it is not in my nature. We all have the right to see life from a different perspective and that’s what makes us all the individuals we are. However when reflecting on the lessons learned this past year I think all I can say is that I am happy we are still here on our journey. No doubt it could be better, but only we can make that difference.

In life everyone wants to be happy and nobody really wants to feel pain. But you can not make rainbows without any rain. If I can leave you with one thought to carry into 2014, remember this.

“Happiness is a Conscious Choice”  Mildred Barthel

Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2014 to everyone.

The Attitude of Gratitude

Simon —  November 12 2013 — Leave a comment

We are told that business is all about giving, and the more we give the more we receive. Well that’s the theory; however business is all about give and take. In return for remuneration we give products, services, advice and time, and then we do the same in reverse to those in our supply chain. That is what makes the wheels of industry go round and round. However one key aspect of the process that is constantly overlooked and is so fundamental to the success of business is the ability for people and organisations to thank those who have contributed to its success.

“The simple act of saying ‘thank you’ is a demonstration of gratitude in response to any experience that was meaningful to a customer or citizen.”  Simon Mainwaring

Many do not realize how such a simple and possibly irrelevant factor to some could have such a profound consequence on your own individual and organisational success. The simple act of acknowledgement and gratitude can lead to a significant change in the motivation of your own workforce, customers and suppliers and provide an opportunity with potential new customers whilst gaining a competitive advantage over your competition. Appreciation and acknowledging of your loyal customers not only benefits you it can also lead to increased ROI as happy customers will share your positive behaviour with others.

The Gratitude Effect:

Common sense tells us that this behaviour is just good manners, but how often are simple manners overlooked in life and business? In a study at the Harvard Business School on the effects of gratitude they found that the impact of “acknowledgement” had a motivational factor that increased the positive behaviour in people by over 50%. They also found that saying “thank you” had a contagious effect on people as they would share their positive experiences with others who were twice as likely to help and support you. The findings of this study, known as the gratitude effect, found that by acknowledging and thanking those who help you, in turn they will support and help you time and again.

“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.” John F. Kennedy

The Power of Gratitude:

Missing the chance to express gratitude? Organisations and leaders lose a relatively cost-free opportunity to motivate those who support their success. A simple gesture of goodwill and gratitude will always go a long way. Promotional items such as Chocolates, Flowers and Branded Corporate Gifts are a simple and effective way to expresses your gratitude, to reward people for placing their trust in you and your business. Not only does it acknowledge their faith in you, but it also is a key building block in the foundation of a potential healthy relationship with you and your brand. Strengthening and enhancing relationships with your customers is the single most important component of day to day business operations.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words:

Sometimes saying “thank you” is not enough. How you say it is just as important, otherwise it will not receive the conviction that it was meant to deliver. People need to understand that what you are telling them is what you believe and there is no better way to enhance your gratitude and add value to a thank you with either a branded gift or discount on future orders. Saying thank you with a branded gift reaffirms your relationship and reminds them of your company’s ethos whilst keeping your brand in the forefront of their minds. Think about it, have you ever said “No Thank You” to a gesture of goodwill? No, I didn’t think so.

“No one who achieves success does so without acknowledging the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude.” Alfred North Whitehead

Thank You Chocolate

The Umpire Strikes Back

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