The Power of the Personal Touch

Early on in your life, you begin to appreciate the Power of Personal Touch.  From a hug from your parents when you do well (or fail) to a handshake from a new friend as your realize the relationship was meant to be, a personal touch can not only mean a lot, but make a lasting impression.

Fast forward: you’re now a small businessperson trying to make a difference – attract customers, retain them, form new business partnerships.  Yet, you feel like you’re drowning in a sea of tweets, Facebook likes and LinkedIn invitations.

One of my favorite sayings is “treat your connections like they’re standing right in front of you.”  It’s a reminder that despite all the cool technology and newest apps – there is a real person behind that computer screen.  Keeping that in mind helps me connect more personally with those I meet online.

Here’s how you can differentiate yourself as a small business person and really make a difference:

1. When you first connect with someone online, listen to them instead of talking.  Hear what THEY have to say and what they’re interest in – what are their needs, concerns, cool things that make them who they are.

2. Take a minute on occasion to suggest an introductory call or meeting in person.  Skype is wonderful for this, as you can set up a video call if you’re so inclined, or a phone call to hear directly from them.  Again, LISTEN more than TALK. Find out what they’re all about.

3. Start any contact you make with a question: “How can I help you?” You’d be amazed how many people respond positively to this question.  We are so used to being “pitched” all the time that when a business actually asks how they can help we are at a loss for words.

4. Introduce your connections to other connections.  I recentlly met with a young entrepreneur who has a new retail online application.  I liked the guy – a lot – and wanted to help him in his business. I introduced him to a retail reporter at our local newspaper.  She was working on a story on loyalty programs (his business) and he was interviewed for her story that ran in the business section today!   What did I get out of it? The satisfaction that I was helping a business grow and a reporter find a source.

Finally, remember that unless you reach out with a Personal Touch then you’re just another piece of data in a constant stream of information that your connections are bombarded with on a daily basis.

The cool thing about the Personal Touch?  It’s fun to do, makes you stand out to your business partners and customers, and often makes you feel more human in an overwhelmingly impersonal and digital world.

Take a second today to reach out to a new connection, or one you haven’t talked to in a long time.  Tell them it’s personal.

Paying it Forward,

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