Last week, I was reminiscing about my younger bartending days and I could not help but smile about the antics of an old friend whose energy and verve literally knew no bounds. Pat Croce is always the life of the party–every party. He is never down. He never takes no for an answer; and everyone always wants to be with or near him. As a result, he is an incredibly successful businessman, writer, speaker, and entrepreneur. Pat started his career as a physical therapist for the Philadelphia Flyers and eventually ended up owning the Philadelphia 76ers and taking them to the NBA finals in 2001. Since then, he has moved on from one successful venture to the next.
The first time I met Pat was at a bachelor party** for a mutual friend that ended up with several people stranded in New York with 23 pennies and no ticket home. It also ended with the groom and his very full bladder, in a body cast, tied to a basketball court in his driveway–all at the hands of Pat. The second time I saw him, I lost my tie to a surreptitious dress code—you see, at the wedding reception, Pat decided that ties were entirely too formal. He stood at the front door with a pair of menacing hedge clippers cutting each tie off about mid chest and tucking his “bounty” into his suit pocket.
Pat could get away with it because it was his personality. It was infectious and everyone wanted to be around him. So, how does this relate to travel? As a travel professional in today’s world, you need to be Pat Croce. You need to make your business and your personality so infectious that people will want to be near you. While it may seem difficult, here are six tips:
- Smile on the phone. Really smile. I know they can’t see you, but your smile will convey nonetheless.
- When someone says “how are you?” in a business setting, the only answer is “I am great!” If you are going to whine and moan about how bad things are–get out!
- If you are meeting a customer, don’t schlep up to them. Stride up with a purpose and offer a firm handshake and a genuine smile. Be happy to meet or see them.
- Have they just come into your office? Stand up to greet them rather than sitting behind your desk behind a pile of brochures.
- Did they just deposit a trip? Of course you will thank them, but take it a step further. Get off your butt and out from behind your desk and walk them to the front door or even their car. Wave goodbye as they leave. What effect do you think that last impression may have? You should be remembered as the last thing they saw after a positive experience.
- Don’t let the details slide. Are you contacting your clients at all the “touch points” during a transaction? This is critical. Make sure your clients know you. Do you remember the name of the counter girl at the McDonalds where you got your last Big Mac? Of course not! She didn’t leave an impression on you. Do not fall into complacency. Make the impression! Always!
Every January, we all tend to make these resolutions to improve ourselves; but by about this time, they usually begin to fall apart. You skipped the gym once too often, you have not learned how to manage your Facebook page. Life, in general, got in the way of your successes. The secret to success is to make sure the resolutions are not impossible to keep; and I suggest that these six suggestions are very easy to keep. It’s not New Year’s Eve, but there is never a better time than the present to make that lasting impression on your next life long client—now go get ’em!