Like any kid, I’d open the cereal box as soon as my mom brought it home from the store. Bet you guessed why. I wanted the prize inside.
I’ve stayed in a hotel that surprised me with cookies. Never forgot them. Another time and hotel, I got sick and someone on the staff delivered medicine to my room. Never forgot them.
I still remember the companies that sent me a board game, interactive puzzle, and cookies. I wasn’t even a client. They were working to build a relationship with me as someone who wrote for publications.
These unexpected surprises didn’t cost much. Lest you think it’s bribery. These gifts fell within the general gift-giving guidelines. There are no requests or mentions of their companies.
When I mentioned several companies in social media, they asked me for my contact information. One sent a shirt and a note. The other sent a mug and other knickknacks. After this, I think of them more.
The difference between memorable and forgettable
It doesn’t take much to come up with examples of how companies have surprised me.
Being memorable has to do with showing the why of your passion for what you do in all your interactions. Show your client that your passion is to serve them and doing what is best for them. Yes, even if they’re not buying from you right now.
When you and your team communicate this message consistently, your clients will notice.
Every year, a colleague receives a cheaply engraved pen from his attorney’s office and the predictable leather agenda from another company. Why are these not ideal? Because they show zero value and zero effort. Zero creativity communicates that you don’t care.
12 ways to be memorable
Here are 12 ways to go from predictable to unforgettable that work for B2B companies and professional services firms.
- Pick up the phone and call clients for no reason.
- Take clients out for lunch. If your client is out of town and you have to travel to get there just to have lunch, all the better. It shows the effort you’re willing to put in for a simple lunch that benefits them. You’ll be memorable.
- Find out what your clients enjoy doing in their free time. Surprise them by subscribing them to a monthly magazine — perhaps delivered to their home — about their pastime. They will think of you every month.
- Send them a basket of amazing chocolates at a random time. It can be with their first order or just out of the blue. You could call the gift a celebration of “The Day of the [insert your client’s trade].” You’ll knock their socks off when you include a hand-written note saying that you learned about the “holiday” and wanted to tell them how much you appreciate their business and trust.
- Write notes by hand and send them by snail mail. Not computer. Not typewriter. By hand. Carry pre-paid postcards with you. Write a thank you note as soon as an opportunity presents itself and drop it in the mailbox.
- Forward interesting articles and resources others will find useful.
- Give out swag. Pick something people will use and appreciate.
- Send a gift card to thank someone for a referral.
- Share your personal cell phone number.
- Mention them in social media whether it’s an article quoting an employee in the company or they win an award. Everyone loves it when someone mentions them in public.
- You can miss a wedding, but never miss a funeral.
- Do the right thing. Always. Can you think of one instance when getting away with cutting corners — even if your client never notices — would be to your long-term advantage?
A little effort pays off a lot
That little something extra doesn’t have to be big or expensive. Small and simple speaks volumes. And avoid doing it all the time, or else it’ll lose meaning and become forgettable such as the toothbrush and toothpaste I get with every dental visit.
These ideas are not difficult to implement. However, getting your staff on the same page is trickier. That’s where corporate culture comes in. One way to do this is to incorporate lagniappe into your process. Make it a standard part of doing business.
If you are not memorable, you are forgettable.
How can you surprise prospects and clients to become memorable?
Image credit: Andrew_Writer