Cake Gets Icing
Have you ever heard the expression: “When you’re cake you get icing?”
A friend and professional colleague shared that one with me long ago and it has stuck. Over the years I have shared it with my team as well. It is the bedrock behind my agency’s customer relationship management program (CRM).
I always see a cake sitting, patiently. Its’ warm, sweetness fills the air with an intoxicating aroma which begs to be covered with another layer equally or even sweeter. The cake doesn’t jump up and down trying to attract attention. It doesn’t scream, “Give me more, make me more enticing!” Nothing of the kind. In fact it is the essence of patience.
My CRM motto is Patiently, Pleasantly Persistent. And the image is that of a cake that is certain to be iced and decorated and sweetly, generously enriched with a delicious icing.
Pleasant Persistence Pays
All the current fancy CRM programs are great for organizing, knowing with whom you were in contact, when, and what products were discussed. But there is simply no substitute for a genuine in-person phone call and/or meeting. These are the pleasantries that used to be the foundation of all business dealings. You really had to like the person you were doing business with. That used to be the way business owners made lifelong friends with the clients and prospects they met during the course of business. Today it is getting more and more difficult to ever speak to, let alone meet another human being for more than a nanosecond. Everything is done digitally.
Call me old-fashioned. I don’t mind. My clients don’t either. They love the attention they get from me and my team. And they reciprocate. The trick is not to overwhelm with personal contact. Pleasantly persistent is the way.
Help Clients Stay On Track
The role I love to play in my client’s lives is that of helping them keep their projects on track. From time-to-time I give them a friendly nudge to remind them that a certain decision needs to be made or some upcoming project needs their attention. If you were to adopt this old-timey method, I suggest well-timed and brief phone check-ins and thoughtfully planned meetings. Breakfast or lunch works well, occasionally an after-work cocktail meeting. Not too often, not too far apart. With a little practice you’ll be able to establish a perfect rhythm based on your clients’ needs. It’s like any kind of relationship. It’s a dance with a certain rhythm. When you get into the groove, it’s sweet as cake.
Be Your Clients’ Favorite Cake
I’ve never abandoned the personal touch in my business. I have, however, had to adapt to new timing requirements. I know and respect the demands my clients are under. I recommend learning your clients’ routines and understanding the dynamics of their day-to-day business demands. Once you get the hang of it, you can combine the old, tried-and-true customer relationship management methods and the new-fangled ones to the benefit of all. And you’ll find out how delicious it is to be cake and to get icing.