One recent day I was writing at an outside table at Starbucks and a gentleman across from me struck up a conversation about my iPad2 and the wireless keyboard I use with it. He wound up joining me and asking questions about how to open and create Word documents. I, in turn, explained and then demonstrated the Pages application.
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Nowhere near a tech expert, my knowledge is limited to a handful of apps I use frequently. I confess Im not one to venture too far in the tech world. Still, this man was so delighted he downloaded Pages right then and there and we had a little tutorial. Upon sharing this story with a tech-oriented friend, I got this response:
Sounds like your iPad2 is a man magnet.
I laughed heartily, partly because its true. My friend was referring to a pattern hed noticed. The week before I had been sitting at the bar at the W Hotel waiting for my dining companions and wound up showing a Japanese businessman the joys of the wireless keyboard. The day before that I had had a man stop while walking his dog again I was at an outdoor caf� to inquire about the Smart Cover that cleverly props the iPad several different ways because of its magnetic design.
While this may all sound like a commercial for iPad2 or an article on tips to get a mans attention, it is meant to be neither. Its about base-level common sense in marketing. So often young entrepreneurs want to know the best marketing tip I have and I always reply Do good work. Most times they think thats flip or simplistic, but this story demonstrates my point perfectly.
Good work sells itself. It just does. Repeatedly.
I recently visited one specific Sephora store in New York City (there are nearly 20 in Manhattan alone) in hopes of one specific beauty consultant being there because her service was so spot on the first time she helped me find two lipsticks; that was months ago. She was there again, she assisted me, I purchased the products she recommended for my eyes, and this time I took a few minutes to fill out a customer service survey about her when I got home.
Good work sells itself.
When more than half my life coaching clients started coming from referrals, when several times I got jobs in sports media because the same editor brought me with him as he moved, I started to pay attention to the fact that it was because Id done good work. My focus, diligence, passionate honing of my gifts and reliability kept paying off.
And sometimes that extends beyond actual professional contexts. Recently a young woman I met last summer wrote me an e-mail telling me her move to Paris a long-held dream had been helped along by my conversations with her. This was friendly discussion on a park bench, not coach-client dialogue.
There is magic in our ability to connect. On whatever fleeting or deep level is required of each situation. It is about effort in listening and consistency in product or service. Big companies like Apple (NYSE:AAPL), Starbucks (NYSE:SBUX) and Sephora get this. It is new entrepreneurs and more and more people are opting to work for themselves these days who need to be reminded that in their eagerness to apply Marketing 101 principles they are not prioritizing connection born of authenticity and excellence.
The slick Web site or flyer might distinguish them and their service at first and even get them business, but will the customer/client come back and/or recommend them? I got a client last year who was referred by someone Id coached in 2004. Such a great feeling. Last weekend I ran into a former client after not seeing her for a few years and she greeted me with a show of the diamond on her left hand when I asked her what was new. She had had the goal of a serious relationship and a job change when wed worked together and she told me she has since accomplished both. It made my day.
On the flip side, the one where negative energy costs you business, theres a swanky little salon near my home that shapes eyebrows, but I wont patronize it because the first time I walked in the young women there had no customers, were engrossed in a personal conversation and seemed more interested in continuing to talk rather than answer my questions. Theres also a small caf� nearby that seems to hire workers with a flare for drama and they air their personal life grievances loudly. The manager is almost always present while this is happening. Why would I want to subject myself to that while relaxing with a cup of coffee?
Lack of professionalism repels business.
As for the guy to whom I introduced the Pages app, he had also wondered about an app for Excel. Thats not my territory but I asked around and sent him some links a few days later. That iPad -- and its features is selling itself over and over again. I am one person, so I can only imagine how many times wed need to multiply this to get an idea of how often its sleek design and innovative features sell it globally.
The fact that I get to meet a lot of interesting people because of it is a nice bonus.
Nancy Colasurdo is a practicing life coach and freelance writer. Her Web site is www.nancola.com and you can follow her on Twitter @nancola. Please direct all questions/comments to FOXGamePlan@gmail.com.