The Granny Lesson

My mom and dad have seven grandchildren. Three live in the US and four live in Ireland. The ones who live in the US live relatively close to my parents so they see each other often. The grandkids in Ireland, however, don’t have the benefit of being with my parents much. But, that hasn’t affected their relationship. The kids Skype with my parents on a weekly basis so that they can see and speak with each other. It’s as good as living down the street.

One of the last times my mom went to Ireland, my youngest nephew, who was three at the time, saw her in the airport and went running up to her and gave her a huge hug. He knew who she was and was thrilled to know that his granny was going to spoil him for the next week or so.

I have channel partners all over the Americas. We email often and have good, productive, email exchanges. However, it’s the phone calls and in person meetings that are the best. We can relate to each other and there’s something about sitting in a room with someone and hearing their voice that changes a relationship. Words written in an email can be taken so many different ways so if you don’t have an established relationship, then words can easily be taken the wrong way. When you sit face to face or hear a voice over the phone, you can get the tone of the voice and can really get a better understanding of what the person with whom you’re speaking, really means.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have built strong relationships with my channel partners over the phone, and of course email, that when we meet face to face, it’s like we’ve know each other for years, understand each other and give each other hugs. (For the record, I don’t suggest hugging people you don’t have a relationship with and if you’re unsure about it. A smile and handshake will work just as well.)

My challenge to you,  get out of the email rut, stop texting, walk over to someone’s desk, pick up the phone or hop on a plane and meet someone face to face. The bond that you build can be as strong as my nephew’s and my mom’s.

Start With Turning on the Faucet

I have all sorts of blog ideas stuck in my head and some I’ve even put in draft form, but I just haven’t written a full one in a while. I have time blocked out every evening to write, but every evening I find something else to do and move the calendar slot to the next night. I love writing but for some reason, I am fantastic at procrastinating when it comes to writing.

I just got an email from IMPACT and it was a list of quotes to get someone past the writers block. This one in particular, got me motivated enough to writing something. “Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” – Louis L’Amour, Author.

Everything I write doesn’t have to be perfect, ground breaking or even interesting to everyone. I have to accept that and move on. As I write this, I realized that the same thing applies to my relationships to my partners, coworkers, friend and family. You don’t have to have a reason to talk to someone, just talk. Start by saying “Hi, how are you?” or “Hi, how was your weekend?” and the water will flow.

We get so caught up in our daily to do list that sometimes we forget to be human. I have to talk to this person about this, and that person about that. How about talking to someone just because you want to, not because you need to? Crazy concept, but when you go to someone for the heck of it and not because you need something, you might actually build a two-way relationship and get a lot more out of the conversation than you ever thought you would. Stop thinking about what you need from someone and start thinking about him or her. People aren’t action items, so make sure not to always treat them that way.

Turn the faucet on and the water will flow, relationships will build and in the end you’ll get all the water you need.

Check out the IMPACT blog here which will give you some quotes to get you writing…it worked for me.

Frequency!

I was recently speaking with a friend and he mentioned that he had read my blog. I kind of cringed as I sheepishly said “It’s so out of date. I haven’t written in ages.” He laughed and said “It’s about frequency!” He said it as if he were putting me in blog time out. But, he was right.

If you’re going to have a blog, you need to write. It’s not that difficult of a concept, and really, it’s not that difficult to do. I just need to make time to do it, kind of like putting the garbage out on Monday nights. I need to make time and write, let’s say, every Tuesday night. (Just to be clear, I’m not comparing writing to putting the garbage out.)

As I was driving home, his comment “frequency” kept coming back to me, and, he’s right. I write about customer reference programs and CRPs need to be about frequency.

How often do you keep in contact with your customers? Once a week? Once a month? When you contact them, are you always asking for a reference? A quote, press release, case study, call, video?

Having frequent contact with your customers doesn’t mean you have to to be in frequent “favor” mode. Be frequent as you would a friend. Some friends want to you to get in touch once a week, others, every few months is perfectly fine. Every now and then just reach out and say “Hey Mike. How the heck are you? I hope you have some great summer plans with your daughter this summer. 6 years old is a great age to bring them to Bonfante Gardens.” (Please only call him/her Mike if that’s his/her name.) You get the point of the reach out though, right?

It really is as simple as my friend said, frequency! My mom says “Out of sight, out of mind” and if you’re not in front of your customers, well, you’re out of mind.

“Things to Think About” for the Reference Professional

#crlp Is your company a co-op? Are you cooperating with your customers – both internal and external?

“Things to Think About” for the Reference Professional is a blurb to get you thinking. You can find content here on this blog or at Twitter under the hashtag for Customer Reference and Loyalty Professionals #crlp.

“Things to Think About” for the Reference Professional

#crlp Are you focusing on return of relationship?

“Things to Think About” for the Reference Professional is a blurb to get you thinking. You can find content here on this blog or at Twitter under the hashtag for Customer Reference and Loyalty Professionals #crlp.

“Things to Think About” for the Reference Professional

#crlp Transform your thinking from customer reference to customer focus.

“Things to Think About” for the Reference Professional is a blurb to get you thinking. You can find content here on this blog or at Twitter under the hashtag for Customer Reference and Loyalty Professionals #crlp.

“Things to Think About” for the Reference Professional

#crlp “Does a customer look at you as a vendor or a strategic vendor?” – Craig LeGrande, Mainstay Partners

“Things to Think About” for the Reference Professional is a weekly blurb to get you thinking. You can find content here on this blog or at Twitter under the hashtag for Customer Reference and Loyalty Professionals #crlp.