Old-Fashioned Way

by jim-stein@att.net

In this new digital age in which we operate, most of us share a nagging feeling that we aren’t doing enough new stuff to keep up with the times. This may very well be true, but I also suggest that you’re not doing enough of the right old stuff; that in this new media world, infusing your company with old-fashioned ways will help you stand out and pull ahead of your competitors.

Look, we’ve all felt the joy and sometimes the pain of interacting with other humans. Your potential customers are human and naturally nostalgic for the old-fashioned way of interaction that brought special joy to the past moments of their life. People tend to remember the “good times.” So, use these old-fashioned ways in your business to connect at this deeper level to remind them of the best of their past and bring this “best feeling” into the present.

The Quick List of Old-Fashioned Ways to Bring New Charm to Your Business

  1. pen jarThe old-fashioned way to say thank you: a handwritten card, a handshake, a hug, or a jar of honey or preserves tied with a bow and a handwritten thank you note. For example, “Dear Mrs. Douglas, Thank you for your referral of the Smith Family. I hope this local honey sweetens your day. Wishing you well, Jim.”
  2. The old-fashioned way to write: pen and paper on nice stationary with a real stamp. In addition to business content, use a personal anecdote that includes them. For example, “I remember that when we last worked on your house, we always loved to see your son, Russ, kick his soccer ball through your gate for goooooooals!”
  3. The old-fashioned way to listen: in-person with eye contact and open body language. Use empathetic facial expressions and responses of empathy. For most of these meetings, take notes on a notepad and nod. If you’re on the phone, say, “That’s a good point. I’m writing this down.”
  4. The old-fashioned way to greet someone: in-person with a smile and a greeting of, “Good to see you, (Name).” Use the first name if the person is of your generation, is younger than you or gives you permission; use “Sir” if the person is older than you or less familiar.
  5. The old-fashioned way to get referrals: give a compelling reason why it provides an emotional benefit to your customer. Talk about the relationship your company has with their family and the community. “Judy, our favorite customers are ones like you. You care about quality and are kind to our staff. We build our company with referrals from our best customers, so if you feel obliged to refer us, I’d be grateful for the introduction and would personally make sure we took good care of your friend or family member.”
  6. The old-fashioned way to make good on promises: forget about the language in the contract and look at the spirit of the agreement from the customer’s perspective. Was it really met in every way? If not, tell the customer that although it may not be covered in the contract, your company is going to make it right. Ask her for two or three ideas on how to make it right. Pick one and do it. Say, “I’m sorry. Our whole team apologizes to you for the inconvenience this has caused.”

When you combine high-quality performance with an old-fashioned style of communicating, you’ll stand out from your competitors. People respond best to honest, clear communication. So, bring back old-fashioned ways. New media is great, but remember, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”