You probably already have a “Profile” on all your clients in your computer. I want to address what you have on that profile and how expanding it to a “secret” profile can help your communication with your customers and increase your bottom line in your business.
When I owned a travel agency, we had all the usual information on the client in our computers. Address. Telephone contacts. Credit card information. Seating preferences on aircrafts and mileage numbers. Favorite hotels. Every travel agency did this. You probably have something similar on your customers.
But we were a luxury vacation agency and we added more comments on the profile than most agencies.
These clients only booked a few vacations a year but many spent $50,000. a year or more on these trips so it was important to make them feel as though they were very special and that we remembered them. We handled so many transactions; we could not possibly recall everything about them.
Some comments were basic, like –
“Names and ages of children” and “prior destinations and dates of travel.”
You probably have similar notes in your records as it applies to your business. Items like what your customer ordered, when and their payment record. But, do you note things like they have a Ferrari that they love or their wife was sick last time you visited so you can ask about her? Do you know their children’s names and that one just started kindergarten? Most important, have you written these things down?
There were other notations on our profiles that were more unique. Here are a few. You could write a book on some of these people.
“Does not walk on sand. Only book hotels where there is a walkway to the pool.”
“The only thing that ‘turns this couple on” is an orange bedroom. Call hotel directly to arrange.”
“Bed in room must face east. Call hotel to confirm position of bed in room before confirming booking.”
“First grandson, Mark, born on (date) Second, Karl born on (date)”
“Husband died on (date). Inquire how she is doing if appropriate”
People absolutely loved that we “remembered” everything. They could not get over how important they were to us and what wonderful memories we all had.
Some of the comments gave us a great advantage over our competition. Here’s one such story.
There were two elderly, wealthy widows who took a hugely expensive trip with us every year.
They called one day to tell me that they had booked a long, expensive trip to China with a charitable organization that was sponsoring it. My heart sank.
The trip originated from Los Angeles. Would I get them tickets from Chicago to that airport please? (That was a booking of about $800 total)
Then they asked me my opinion of the trip. It happened to be wonderful itinerary and a fine operator so I told them it was great. Even if it had been terrible, we all know the old adage that “every knock is a boost!”
But it was so wrong for them. They were what we used to call “highlight travelers” – just interested in the famous places – and this trip explored every blade of grass in the country. They were far too frail to keep up with it. Miles of walking. Many trains that had stations that were huge to transit. This trip could kill them.
But, what could I say?
When they called, I had pulled up their profiles.
Suddenly, I noticed some notes I had made.
One lady had the comment, “Left foot operation on (date) The next notation said “Right foot operation on (date)”
The other lady had a notation, “Open heart surgery on (date)
So, I decided to take a real flyer on this to see if I could get the business.
I said, “This is a wonderful trip but just let me give you some important advice. You will thank me for this. Go out and invest in the best, most comfortable walking shoes you can find! You will need them on this trip.”
Bingo. That was it. Guess who booked a more suitable trip? Yup.
Was it a little dishonest? Hmmmmm. I prefer to call it “enlightened self-interest.” They enjoyed (and survived) the trip I booked and I loved the big commission.
The moral to the story is that people want to know they are important to you. That you care about them. Many of them consider you a friend. But you are only human and there is only so much you can put in your brain. Their profile in your computer or even on a 3×5 card is sometimes the key to greater communication – and let’s be honest – a whole lot of continued and new business.
People do business with people they like and feel close to. You can be that person by keeping your “secret” profiles up to date!