Lack of Customer Awareness

A high level of customer awareness is critical in all situations. Here are some scenarios to avoid:

  • Driving a Hertz rental car to a meeting with an Avis custom- er. (You might also want to hide your Kia in the parking lot, if your meeting is with Ford.)
  • Ordering a Pepsi for lunch with a client from Coca-Cola. (Although, it’s likely that the Coca-Cola people wouldn’t eat lunch in a restaurant that served Pepsi.)
  • Sending a FedEx package to your customers at UPS.
  • Wearing a Burberry scarf to a presentation at L.L. Bean.

While it may seem implausible, these scenarios happen often, especially to new professionals who haven’t yet developed their customer awareness.

From Chapter 6: Sales and Negotiation Skills

NAME TAGS DON’T DESERVE MUCH THOUGHT, RIGHT? WRONG!

At a networking event, you will meet people for the first time and you want to give them the maximum opportunity to remember your name. Attach your nametag very high on your right lapel. Do this because you are usually extending your right hand to shake, so that side of your body will also be slightly extended forward. This makes it easier for the person to read your nametag without having to look across your body.

Reading List: The Image of Leadership by Sylvie Di Giusto

Why read this book? In her book, The Image of Leadership: How leaders package themselves for the right reasons, Di Giusto does a masterful job with a very difficult subject — your professional image in the workplace. The author, a Personal Branding Strategist and Image Expert, describes her work as “people packaging” and her book goes deep on all aspects of how one’s appearance speaks volumes about their abilities and potential for leadership.

The Image of Leadership

Di Giusto uses the term, “professional imprint,” which is far superior to “personal brand” in a professional setting. In my book, Career-ology: The Art and Science of a Successful Career, I wrote a chapter titled, “Your Personal Brand” and I struggled with the vague and varied definition of that term, as well as, the seeming contradiction of the idea of a “personal” brand in a “professional” context. I considered other chapter titles including “Professional Brand” and “Personal-professional Brand,” but neither seemed to work. I like “professional imprint” because it includes it clearly refers to a professional context and emphasizes the enduring aspect of this concept.

Di Giusto summarizes the concept of professional imprint with a great analogy involving product packaging. From the book:

Chips packaging is always fascinating. . . Not one word, even not a lot of talking and describing the chips can do as much on the package as the picture does. It shows what you get. Period. . .

Yes, there are chips inside, but not those we saw on the outside. Inside, they seem more ordinary, and there are usually many that are broken into little fragments. But we still like them. . . What’s the lesson here? With a perfect appearance on the outside, people are willingly buy into you and might still accept you if you’re not as perfect on the inside. The other way around is invariably much harder. #imageofleadership

 

Handwritten Notes in a Digital Age

Handwritten notes are simple, inexpensive tools that ca help you establish and strengthen business relationships. This tool is effective because it is so rarely used. Your hand-written note will get noticed because it’s likely to be the only one a person received that day (or month)! A handwritten note is memorable. And after all, isn’t that the point?

Following are some key points, especially for handwritten notes:

  • Use good quality stationery. A monogram is fine, as long as it’s professional.
  • Use your best handwriting.
  • Make the note personal, within a business context.

When is a handwritten note appropriate?

  • To thank a co-worker or peer for extra effort on a project.
  • To congratulate a customer or a client on a personal milestone such as the birth of a baby, a child’s graduation, or a promotion.
  • As a follow-up to an email thank you. It’s nice to also send an additional, handwritten message that arrives one to two weeks later.
  • After meeting someone at a networking event, industry program, conference or trade show.

In our highly digitized world, using hand written notes will help you be noticed.