We have all heard that saying: people buy from people. Of course they do because you can trust a person; you can like a person and you can establish a relationship with a person. You can do none of these things with a corporate body.
We all know this and yet we can still have a tendency to be far too corporate in our dealings. Why not move away from this and make your interaction with your clients and prospective clients more personable?
On a recent holiday I stayed in the Asimina Suites hotel in Paphos, Cyprus. A fine hotel ideally situated on the beach and a 25 minute stroll into Paphos, should you feel the need to do so. Fantastic but so are loads of other hotels but what made them different was how they interacted with us. Here are three small examples: –
1 Upon arrival
When we arrived at the hotel we were greeted by the manager by name and shown into a light, comfortably furnished room overlooking the swimming pool. Our bags were whisked away whilst we were offered refreshments. Our greeter took time to explain what was in the hotel referring to a handy little map that we had been given. She also explained other useful information about the area and Paphos in general.
When we had finished our drinks we signed the registration forms and were shown personally to our rooms. The effect of this was two-fold: all the travel-stress that builds up over a 7 and a half hour trip melted away and secondly we were made to feel like friends being welcomed into someone’s home. Brilliant.
2 The Meet and Greet
We have all attended these sessions: incentified by the promise of a warm glass of cheap bubbly we then have to put up with somebody trying to sell us excursions or cheap car hire. Not a bit of it.
The overall manager of the hotel, Dino, arrived and mingled with the guests for 15 or 20 minutes. The warm champers had been swapped for very agreeable brandy sours and there was a full range of canapés. After about 20 minutes he addressed all the guests. He welcomed us all to the hotel, made it clear that he could be reached at any time of the night or day should we have a pressing desire to do so and then he went on to explain to us what the owners of the hotel believed in. He never once tried to sell us anything.
The effect was quite refreshing. He made this hotel chain sound like it was his personal project; like we were dealing with him and not a large corporate brand. Once again very endearing and quite unusual.
3. Check out
Our pick-up time on the departure day was 8pm and since we had been upgraded upon our arrival we could not keep our rooms. The manager had a note delivered to us the day before departure explaining that we would need to vacate our rooms by midday but if we gave them a call when we were packed they would move our things to our complimentary room elsewhere in the hotel.
No hassle, no ifs buts or maybe’s just dealt with.
The upshot of these small acts was to make us feel like individuals who mattered and made it easier to build a bond with the hotel through the manager and staff. The hotel became a secondary feature behind these people. OK it was not a cheap hotel and I’m sure those of you out there who are more cynical might argue that all of this was built into the price but I would counter this by making two points: –
- They have chosen a position which does not depend upon price and have organised their entire business around it; so can you.
- There are many other ways of making your client-interface personable without spending money.