Last week, I was reminiscing about my younger days bartending in Philadelphia, and I could not help but smile about the antics of an old friend whose energy and verve (some might say nerve) literally knew no bounds. The guy was the life of the party. He was never down. He never took no for an answer And everyone always wanted to be with or near him. As a result, he is an incredibly successful businessman, writer, speaker, and entrepreneur. Pat Croce 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 success to the next and is now happily retired.
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. Oh, and a groom wrapped in a full-body cast, tied to a basketball pole in his driveway, with a full bladder full and no restroom in site. 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 of 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. You need to be different. While it may seem difficult, here are a few tips:
- Smile on the phone. Yes, 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 meeting a customer, don’t schlep up to them. Stride up with a purpose and offer a firm handshake and a genuine smile.
- Are they in your office? Stand up to greet them rather than sitting behind your desk behind a pile of brochures.
- Did they 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? How about sending a thank you note–yes a hand written one.
- Don’t let the details slide. Are you contacting your clients at all the “touch points” during a transaction? Do you remember the name of the counter girl at the McDonalds where you got your last Big Mac? Of course not, because she did not leave an impression on you. Do not fall into complacency. Make the impression!
Every New Year, we make resolutions; but they usually fall by the wayside by mid-March. The secret is to make sure the resolutions are achievable; and I happen to think these six are very easy. It’s not New Year’s Eve, but it can be for you. There is never a better time than the present to make that lasting impression on your next life long client—now go get em!
** PG Version!