May your life always be Counterpoint to the Clamor of the World. May you delight in Dancing Lightly With Life. May you soar on eagle wings, high above the madness of the world. May you always sing Melody in the Symphony of Your Life. May you taste, smell, and touch your dreams of a beautiful tomorrow. May your sun always shine, and your sky be forever blue.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie
In order to stand apart from the competition, creating GAPS, you must be awesomely delightful and move beyond the transaction mentality.
Clients will stick with you, spend more money, tell more of their friends and give you the benefit of the doubt if you make a mistake when you are a "delightful" place to do business!
And I love this quote, "It is our professional responsibility to be absolutely delightful!" from the book “Indispensable" by Joe Calloway. We are in a business where people and our relationship with them is critical; we don't sit in a cubicle in a huge office building entering data into a computer...no, we meet and greet the public daily and we must win them over and form strong bonds immediately.
In order to do that, we need BIG VISION, CREATIVITY and the WOW FACTOR.
It takes BIG VISION to see down the road and understand the immensity of your business and how all of the parts interact with each other. Even after nearly 40 years, I am not very good at seeing down the road, but Tim is! I am more the "What's on my plate today?" kind of thinker.
Between the two of us, we succeed because of his vision of who we are, where we need to be in one year, five years and ten years, and then, what it will take to get there. I am more in the moment of the day, getting tasks done. If you are like me, you need to find a "Tim" who can help you make a plan for you future. However, the vision of your business and how it needs to develop should be birthed from you.
Second, we need CREATIVITY. I used to teach how to be more creative in artistry and photography. Now, I see creativity as being useful in running our business and helping us to stand out from the rest.
One example I can think of is a mailing we sent out to some names our "partners" gave us. Our partners are businesses in the community that help us gain clients and we do the same for them. We asked for a list of ten of their best clients that we could send a special mailing to, and we wanted these mailings to be something that was more hand-made, not a press product. In other words, we wanted these people to notice our mailing since everyone gets so much "junk" mail these days.
We had some beautiful, soft blue watercolor type paper, a rubber stamp set and black ink. We cut the paper into 5 3/4" squares, stamped them with the stamp that said "A Note For You" with a tree branch and a little bird and then we hand-wrote our message. These went into vellum 6x6 envelope with an image we printed in-house the same size. They looked really sweet and different and we felt we had created a unique mailing piece for this handful of potential clients. Delightful!
So, open your mind and brainstorm often. Don't be a follower all of the time; create a path for others to follow every once in awhile.
The WOW FACTOR, to us, means doing something totally unexpected for a client! We work to provide a WOW experience with our facility, our work, our service and our experience. It takes all of these things, working in harmony, to create a fully finished WOW factor.
We constantly challenge ourselves to build a culture of WOW experience within our studio.
A note about culture...think about Starbucks employees. We go there at least 5 times a week and have our order taken by differen people working the window, but they are all similar personalities. They are young-ish, quirky, talkative, kind, interested in us and what we are doing, and in general, very engaged with us on many levels. I LOVE that! It makes me feel special. It is the culture of Starbucks!
To build the culture we desire at Walden's, we meet, we talk, we understand that what we put importance on is absolutely critical to our success. We also live what we preach! We do love our clients and they are like family to us!
So...what are you doing to be delightful? What more can you do in this area? How are you surprising your clients randomly? What about a handwritten note with a gift card sent when a client is having a hard time?
This is the most difficult type of "marketing" and building your future success as it is one on one, but it is the most rewarding!
Have a delightful week and surprise a client with something unexpected this week.