I spend about twenty weeks a year on the road and in my over 20 years in this industry I have seen just about everything. Of all the benefits I derive from rigorous travel, the primary one is the relationships that I have made and maintained over the years with customers. These relationships go a long way to negating the difficulties I encounter travelling. Many of these customers have become dear friends with whom I maintain regular contact. Others I see on a sporadic basis, yet we are quick to rekindle the past and often share a drink or a meal together.
I have had numerous people visit and stay in my home in UK and I have visited many of them in their environments. To me, the social aspect of doing business is so enjoyable and makes business fun. I feel so privileged to be able to work in an environment that promotes social interaction. Could any of us imagine being chained to our desks all day?
Fortunately the trophy and engraving industry is about finding solutions and turning ideas into reality. Appropriate social skills and maintaining relationships are necessary keys to success in our work arenas. It is tremendously important of this and to work hard at going out of our way every day to make this a reality. Good relationships equal success.
Speaking of relationship, I have maintained one over the years with a fabulous restaurant in Italy called “Il Giardino”. This restaurant is all about great food and excellent wine. I have dined there over 10 years, mainly while attending exhibition in Italy. So you say, what is so special about this restaurant? The answer lies in their ability to make the customer feel totally at home while dining there. The natural pre-requisites of good food, service and wine are enhanced so much by the relationship that I have with them over the years. They know me by name, make me feel totally at home and really only ask one question… “meat or fish?”
Although it sounds natural for a restaurant to convey this type of atmosphere, too often it simply does not happen. A successful formula for the trophy, gifts and engraving business involved in customer service lies in the intangible qualities that it has that allow it to convey its relationship with you without appearing contrived or overwhelming. Il Giardino does just that, and as a result rarely a day passes without the restaurant being full. By the way, it helps to have a good relationship with them – I never have a problem getting a table! If you harness the ability serve your customer right and maintaining a strong relationship no doubt they will come back continuously and re-order from you. For the engravers, it translate to the ability to get the artwork right, produce engraving result in high quality manner on different objects (i.e. pewter tankards, goblets, plaques etc), and to fulfil order in the quickest turn around possible.
Life is short, never lose sight to the importance of the relationships you make in life. They nurture you, educate you, and help you grow in every way. I guarantee that if you think of all the important relationships you have made in life you will agree that each one has contributed in some way to you both personally and in business.