Sometimes I come across businesses, and business people, that just don't seem to have any manners!
Now, maybe you subscribe to the 'Alan Sugar' point-and-shout school of management (actually, I quite like his approach to delegating, as he always sends his assistants out on all the 'Apprentice' errands, and just keeps the good 'you're fired!' stuff for himself). But being aggressive or rude in business can often cost you money.
If we look into the customer service side of things, then it's a well known fact that a 'bad story' can escalate and get much further reach than a 'good news' story: "Airlines getting luggage to passengers every time"... ever read that headline? But "mountains of suitcases at Terminal 5" when it opened — days' worth of headlines!
So you need to remember what you do and say as a business, or as a person representing your business, can make a big difference to your sales and profits.
But it's not just customer service; you should also be thinking about how you work with other businesses too.
One of the best ways to promote your business is to set up a Joint Venture with other businesses that complement what you do. If you're an Accountant specialising in small businesses, for example, you could set up joint ventures with solicitors, or HR advisors, or marketing firms. A joint venture as a 'host recipient' arrangement will mean you can each promote your services to the other company's client list, introducing them as a partner you have chosen to work with can offer a valuable service that you endorse. This is always a powerful 'introduction' to new prospects for your business from a source they already trust and buy from.
And don't be rude to your competition either — they may be able to help you. Some of your competitors won't compete with you in every part of your market place, and could be a source of leads for you. Approach some of your competitors and ask if they have names on their database that they have just not been able to sell any services to ever — offer them a deal in that you mail their list, and anything you sell to that list then they can receive a commission. This is a win-win situation, as they are getting revenue where they have not been able to get it before, and you are getting new customers.
Or get together with your competitors to promote your industry or market. You might get more PR and Marketing impact for your products and services as an 'organisation' or 'industry body' than individually. Of course, there will be things you will not want to share, but if you can collectively raise the profile of the products or services, you sell then you should all benefit from the increased awareness and demand.
And another thing I believe: don't be worried about your competition — just be different. There will be something that you can do better, cheaper, faster, more knowledgeably, more convienently, smarter, brighter (or whatever the difference) than your competitors can. This is your USP. This is what you always promote.
And remember: play nice. Business is fun!
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