Are you aware that even one negative experience – via email, in a meeting or social setting – can undo all your hard work and send your customers to the competition? (Not to mention turn off prospects in a heartbeat.)
Are you confident that you and your staff are as professional as can be? That the right messages are being sent to your customers? That you are all putting your best foot forward, in all circumstances?
Underestimating the impact that manners, etiquette and communications have on your business development and customer relationships will lead to money and opportunities walking out the door. And, worse still, customers won’t tell you why…they’ll just slip out of sight.
We know (and you do too) that even the best staff, the ones who are terrific when talking to customers about the advantages and attributes of your company, can struggle when they have to interact on a more social level. Activities such as meetings over meals, entertaining customers, attending networking receptions, or hosting a table at a formal dinner can tax even star staff.
Yet it’s in these moments, the ones outside the boardroom, where so much of the relationship building takes place. If your staff isn’t comfortable in those moments then opportunities are lost.
How can you help your staff and boost your business development?
When sending your staff out to meet prospects and customers you need to be sure they have the skills and confidence to build long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationships.
Instead of leaving staff to make-it-up as they go along, wouldn’t helping them become polished professionals by giving them training in soft skills such as dining etiquette, communications and relationship building make them more successful?
Does etiquette really play a role in business development?
People often ask us if etiquette, and its accompanying skill set, is relevant in our modern world.
Our answer is a resounding YES (obviously!), it’s not only relevant but crucial in business today.
‘But it’s old fashioned’, we hear you say. Yes, the word now seems old fashioned but it’s actually something we think about and use every day. Before the word ‘etiquette’ came into being, from the court of the French king Louis the XIV (1638-1715). we used the phrase ‘common courtesy’ to describe the very same set of polite behaviours and courtesy (common or otherwise). Treating people well is something we valued then, and now, and it will never be obsolete/out of date.
‘It doesn’t matter if I know which fork to use.’ You’re right. It doesn’t. But etiquette isn’t about which fork to use, it’s about your ability to make others feel comfortable and valued, and it’s about:
- Having the skills to feel comfortable and confident when you sit down to a meal or attend an event with a customer, prospective client or the chair of the board
- Taking the time to understand your audience and their perspective
- Sending well crafted emails
- The ability to develop long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationships
- Being able to hold a conversation over a meal, act as a host, or understand your role as a guest…that’s when knowing which fork to use (among other things) comes in handy.
“I don’t want to change my behaviour. People should accept me as I am!” Again, you’re right. We should all accept each other for who we are and how we behave. However, that’s not quite the way humans work (yet). So, considering that there are many options in the world and that others don’t actually have to accept you at all, they can simply go to the competition, why not start out with all the tools you need to make a good first impression?
Having etiquette knowledge in your back pocket doesn’t change who you are, it just makes you a more knowledgeable you – and might even give you that extra edge!
Polished Professionals Unite!
Our ‘busy-ness’ and constant need to do more, faster, has led on many occasions to manners, common courtesy and commonsense being left in the dust. This in turn leads to miscommunications, misunderstandings and missed opportunities. It’s also sort of unpleasant.
Small things make a big difference and nowhere is this more evident than in business: the dangers of not proof-reading an e-mail before hitting send; the awkwardness of hosting clients when your staff doesn’t know the protocol; or the lack of preparation for a meeting – all of these will send silent signals to customers and colleagues alike that they aren’t your priority, and why would anyone want to do business with an organization like that?
We know, absolutely, that it pays dividends to put polish and good professional behaviour back into the mix.
“Hilary was central in our building a conference and events business from low level to become a serious player in an already-crowded market. No mean feat. Her excellent organisational and people skills are an asset to any organisation she works for; I have never known anyone use simple politeness and good manners to such good commercial effect.” – Steve Gibbons, Director, Labour Relations & Human Rights, Ergon Associates, London, England
This is why I started this business and this is why we are passionate about helping other people improve. When all is said and done none of this is rocket science but it is important and will make a difference to how you and your company are perceived.
Let us help you and your staff shine. Our courses and workshops are practical, professional and fun. You will leave with new skills, abilities and confidence. After all, the more knowledge we have of the ‘rules’ the more relaxed we can be with ourselves, our colleagues and our customers.
In the words of Pablo Picasso:
“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
Not only does our practical training teach your staff the skills they need to be confident, professional and polished under all circumstances, but it also shows them how to add the human element to their business dealings, meaning that your clients feel appreciated and well looked after.
It’s these skills that turn good staff members into great ones; make your customers feel appreciated and well looked after; create better, stronger, longer-lasting relationships; enhance your organization’s reputation and propel your sales figures.
Contact us to find out how we can help you and your staff improve your skills, and go from good to great!