Most people agree, it’s a different business world than it was twenty years ago. Traditional marketing, such as print, radio and TV advertising is not having the same impact, and businesses are looking for ways to stand out and be memorable.
I write a lot about digital marketing because it is a passion of mine. Good digital marketing can help you stand out from your competition. But I believe there’s another way to stand out that is much more basic.
Courtesy. Yep, good-old-fashioned politeness.
Let’s be honest, we all want to be treated with respect and in a manner that makes us feel like we are important. That’s something we all have in common. Nobody leaves the house thinking, “I hope someone treats me badly today.” But because we are individuals, each of us living inside of our own mind with our own individual thoughts, conflict can arise.
Every person has different temperaments, talents and convictions. We all are going through different experiences that can occupy our thoughts and create stress for us, as well. These individual traits can create conflict when they meet up with others whose goals or personalities don’t align with our won.
The trigger can be something as small as wanting a quick cup of coffee when you’re in a rush. While your goal is to get the coffee and get going, the person waiting on you wants to get through the long line of people methodically and not make any order mistakes. That might take time, and the result is that your goals are not aligned.
When it comes to business, these conflicts can be greater because there is so much more at stake. That’s why it is so important for businesses to become experts at using courtesy. Courtesy can diffuse conflict and stressful situations. While your goals might not align, you can work through the conflict as long as both parties feel that they are being treated with respect.
But make no mistake: courtesy as a marketing strategy doesn’t just happen. It takes organizational discipline that comes from the top.
Some businesses are very good at instituting courtesy across every aspect of their company, even when dealing with vendors. Others have focused on their customer service representatives, making sure they handle customer issues with sensitivity. Some companies, however, don’t think about it at all. These are the businesses that will be hurt in the long run.
Exercising courtesy builds relationships. It keeps customers coming back, even if your business makes a mistake. If you handle it correctly, you can win that upset customer over and have a fan for life.
Courtesy can also get you referral business. Be polite with your customers, say please and thank you, treat them as if they’re the most important people in your life at that moment, and they will remember you. For those businesses that don’t think this is important, let me ask this question. In your personal life, would you ever refer a business to a friend that treated you impolitely?
With the need to stand out from your competition, it’s more important than ever to stand out from the crowd. Do that with the way you treat people. Just remember what Mom said, mind you “Ps” and “Qs,” and `treat people like you want to be treated. Be the company that not only has a reputation for doing the job right, but also for treating people better than anyone else.
It’s the simplest, most inexpensive yet most important marketing strategy you can implement.
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Bob Turner is a Digital and Social Media Marketing Consultant with Social Flair, LLC.