Maybe it sounds obvious + of course we’ve already covered my golden rule of business, but until I watched how my friend was treated compared to other athletes, I didn’t realize just how much of an impact attitude truly has, especially for solopreneurs or folks who are the brand themselves.
What is CrossFit, even?
I won’t turn this into an article about CrossFit, because that’s not necessary, but if you don’t know, here’s a little background.
It’s a workout style that combines gymnastics, weightlifting, running + rowing in a constantly varied strength + conditioning program. And regionals is essentially like playoffs in football, with the CrossFit Games being the equivalent of the Super Bowl. What matters is that this sport has created individual brands in the athletes that are at the top. These athletes are sponsored, sought after for roles in action movies + adored by hundreds of thousands of people.
Standing out from the crowd
So my friend was one of 50 women from her region (there are only 17 regions in the world) who came to compete in this event. There were athletes with bolder hair colors (I certainly can relate) or a trademark clothing style that set them apart from their competitors in terms of being memorable by fans + sponsors alike.
Throughout the weekend, athletes, volunteers + spectators are mingling in the stands, so it’s not uncommon to witness fans geeking out next to their favorite athlete while asking for a photo or autograph. By day 2, I noticed a trend. My friend was being stopped over + over again by volunteers who felt compelled to either thank her or congratulate her for being the most kind of all the athletes there. (Worth noting, there were also 50 male individual athletes + 40 teams of 6 athletes in the same arena.)
What made Emily so unique that the volunteers would remember her face out of the hundreds of people they dealt with each day?
And it wasn’t taking much on her part to have what the volunteers deemed unique, she simply made sure to shake hands with her volunteer before each event + thanked them when the event was done.
She didn’t bring gifts, she wasn’t giving them 15 minutes of her time to offer up assistance or advice, she didn’t even have to follow them on social media first. Emily was making a genuine difference by making eye contact, shaking a hand + saying two words – thank you.
So how does this apply to your brand + business?
Instead of stressing over a complicated customer retention strategy, you can start at/revisit the basics of being a good human. following Emily’s lead….
Make eye contact
In the online world that so many of us operate in, making eye contact can be downright impossible when you communicate solely through text. But when you look at what it means for someone to make eye contact with them, it means you are seeing them + giving them your attention.
You can absolutely do that for your clients + site visitors by turning off alerts, silencing your phone or closing your favorite Slack channel when you are on a phone call. And if you are doing a video chat, you can still make eye contact instead of watching how you look when you talk. (Not that I’m speaking from experience at all.)
Again, not having the face-to-face element can make this step seem like it doesn’t apply, but it does. We all know about the wet noodle handshake that is such a business turn off, so what’s the online equivalent?
To me, it’s the same as following someone + just expecting them to follow you back on social media. Wouldn’t a better, more friendlier approach be to write some insight on their latest post or share their newest offering with your audience (if it fits your fan base’s needs)?
Another approach may be to get to know them first by asking a question on your call or in your email like “what types of projects rock your world” or “when you aren’t working, what do you love doing?”
Saying thank you
This one is easy to apply in-person + online. While most of us are great at saying thank you when someone helps us out in an obvious way, I’d be willing to bet we could add even more moments of gratitude to our days.
Emily was thanking the volunteers for doing the exact job they volunteered to do, but for also giving up their day/weekend to stand on their feet for hours. Instead of thanking your client for getting you content, try thanking them for how they formatted the content in a way that made your job easier. Or during your next project touch base call, thank them for taking time out of their day to connect. find a way to take the thank you beyond the surface level of what’s being done.
Protip: doing this just might have a domino affect on your attitude elsewhere because you’ll be focused on seeing the positives/good things others are doing to help you.
A little goes a long way
With a little bit of effort — truly a little — you can have an amazing impact on making your brand exponentially more memorable.
If Emily can stand out from dozens of athletes by doing 3 simple things that took her 15-30 seconds of effort, imagine how well you’ll stand out from a handful of service-based companies with a tiny bit of effort to have a more positive attitude? Talk about a great return on investment!