A Fish on the Phone

May 2010

Last night, friends took us to an authentic Greek restaurant in Baltimore. Everything on the menu sounded and smelled divine, and I was torn between the lamb chops and the fresh fish. Seeing my indecision, our young waiter whipped out his iPhone, tapped it a few times, and handed it to me…with a picture of his earlier dinner, a whole grilled rockfish. I was sold; it was delicious; our resourceful waiter was beaming (especially when he got his generous tip for being so creative).

Our quirky little neighborhood grocery store has an event next weekend for children to come in and decorate cakes for Mother’s Day. Imagine how many more cakes they will sell, and how much more those adorable cakes will mean to the mothers (and win big points for dad, too). In my purse I’m carrying a coupon for a free atomizer filled with my choice of perfume; guess who is detouring by Nordstrom this week. A friend asks our bartender to describe an unfamiliar wine; he pours her a complimentary tasting as he waxes eloquent about the new varietals coming on the market. One of my clients just hosted an entertaining and educational evening for clients and their friends. Their interest piqued, folks were lining up to find out more about my client’s services. A business owner attends a charity event and buys my donated certificate for coaching; after a couple of hours working with him and understanding his business challenges, he asks to become a regular client.

What do all of these vignettes have in common? Each describes what happens when we encourage others to see, touch, hear, and experience what we offer. We explore their needs and wants, and help them to determine what best suits their particular situation, tastes, and budget. Most of all, we personalize the interaction and give it additional dimension. We engage them at deeper levels. Sometimes, we even make them laugh (or cry); we always make them think.

How do you engage prospective clients? How do you encourage them to explore what you offer? What could you do to connect even more powerfully with potential customers? I’d love to hear your stories and examples, and support you in your efforts. Have a great month, and here’s to creativity and connection.

Sharon Keys Seal

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