This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to attend the EMBARK student entrepreneurship conference. One of the sessions was on marketing and branding, and one quote from Chris Evans of Fogtown really stuck with me.
The Name Of The Game
Remembering people's names and having positive interactions can be a huge contributor to your businesses success. It can mean the difference between someone visiting a couple of times, or someone becoming a regular. I thought I would share these two interactions I've had with business owners:
In February, Olio Pizza was having their soft opening and invited the coworkers of Common Ground to stop by. That evening, I met the owner Trevor very briefly. He was very friendly, and obviously very passionate about his pizza. About two weeks later I dropped by again, and he remembered both my name and where I worked. Now, Olio is one of my main go-tos for takeout, not just because of the delicious pizza, but because it stood out to me how much Trevor cares for his customers (He also was kind enough to help me out with a recent blog on handling negative reviews).
This year, I met another business owner at a networking event. As we were chatting, that person asked me to follow their business's Instagram account, yet, as I was standing with them, they opened their account, checked that I had followed them, and failed to return the courtesy. Since then, I've ran into that person a few times, they have long forgotten that interaction (and me), but, each time I see them I remember them as the person who didn't follow me back. As a result, I feel little loyalty to supporting their brand. As small business owners, I think it is so important to support one another, but, also to remember that we get what we give. Having more Instagram followers than you are following may make you feel *slightly* cooler, but, you could be missing out on people who genuinely are interested in interacting with and promoting your brand.
What's Yo Name Girl, What's Yo Sign?
One of my favourite entrepreneurs Jennifer Trask wrote an article for Huff Post this past year called "How to Discredit Yourself With a New Person In One Word" The TLDR version of this, is that by mispronouncing, shortening, or even worse, forgetting someone's name, you are disrespecting that person and discrediting yourself as someone who overlooks details. Jennifer recommends repeating people's names back to them and writing them down phonetically to help you remember.
More and more, running a small business isn't just about peddling products, it's about engaging with your community and promoting a culture of mutual respect. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a lover of all things local. I love to see people chasing their dreams and my social media often reflects that, sharing positive experiences I have with local businesses. I only hope to offer the same to clients of mine, and in particular, I am going to be putting more effort into remembering the names of everyone I meet.