I want to share another editorial letter from my archives with you, as I'm sure I'll be doing plenty over the next few months in my attempt to dig through countless articles and letters I have that were never shared on this site. This letter was published in the March / April edition of MBC Today (volume 25 issue 2) on March 2, 2023. It's about cookies. And relationships. And lots of warm fuzzies. Enjoy!
Letter From the Editor
I buy a lot of cookies. But, because I'm sugar-free, I don't eat them. Instead, I've been giving them away at my shop.
We started this long ago, celebrating birthdays and workiversaries of team members with cookies, cupcakes, or some other sweet treat, and instead of just getting a few for ourselves, we got a bunch and gave them out to guests who visited on those days. In December, we often load up on Christmas cookies to give away on a pretty platter at our front counter. And now, just for funzies once in a while, I or one of my coworkers (usually Julie) will pick up a batch of cookies, cannoli chips, muffins, or chocolates to sweeten up guests who visit on any random day we feel the whim to make sweeter.
We now have a dedicated treat tray (with a sealing lid for sanitary purposes) for this, as it's become such a regular practice. Just today, we had a guest in, who I hadn't met before, and after offering him a cookie, he said, "I was offered a cookie last time I was in here. Is that something you always do!?" He was so impressed.
Giving people treats does wonders to keep our guests in great moods; they literally leave with a good taste in their mouths. Guests remember the experience and it makes an impression that they tell their friends and family about, continuing the word-of-mouth grassroots marketing that we have built our business on.
I recently spent some time with my cousin's stepson, Devon. He has a powerwashing business and is doing so well at it that, even with a couple of employees, he's able to take most of the colder months off and sustain the whole operation with booming demand in warmer months. He's clearly doing something right. So, I asked him...
What is it that he does differently that keeps his clients coming back again and again, and recommending his services to their friends and neighbors? He simply said that he makes sure he and his coworkers all take extra time to ensure jobs are done right, and done more thoroughly than anyone else would do them. He always likes to do a little extra on each job too—something the client didn't ask for and didn't expect, so they feel they got more than they paid for and were special. And to that, Uncle Marty shouts a hearty, "Amen!"
Devon went on to tell me that when he was young, he used to go to the bank with his dad and they always gave him a Tootsie Roll. He remembered that experience so clearly that now, as a nearly-30-year-old with a successful small business of his own, he still banks at that same bank because they proved to him that they're in the business of relationships.
As I put together this issue and read through Ayden's article, "The Postmarked Story," I sure noticed that he mentions the Hershey Kisses he gives out to guests. Ayden gets it, and I guarantee those Kisses are a key part of his relationship-building strategy. Please glean all you can from his story. It's an important one!
We're all mourning the loss of AMBC Member, friend, and colleague, Bellenda, and you'll see a tribute to her on page 11 of this issue. One thing that always stood out to me about her was her bubbling-over-with-joy spirit. She lit up a room! And I can guarantee that every guest and client who walked through the doors of Pack 'N' Mail in Warrensburg felt the same. She knew exactly what it was to build relationships and keep people coming back again and again.
Are you in the business of relationships? I hope so. I sure am. Devon sure is. Ayden sure is. Bellenda sure was. My peers on the AMBC Board of Directors sure are. And AMBC Members who follow the relationship model constantly and consistently show how it does wonders for our growth as small businesses.
How do you get started on this path of relationship-based business? Read this issue of MBC Today cover to cover, because AMBC's mantra and focus is relationships, relationships, relationships. Also, please attend one or more of the upcoming AMBC regionals to see first-hand how the relationship masters do it.
And then, go buy some cookies and start giving them out. It works. I promise!