Let’s get personal Personalise. Personalise, Personalise.! Selling is all about relationships. Developing a good relationship with your customer is not just a “nice to have” so long as the specs and the price are right. Developing a good relationship is a “must have” before the other things are even discussed. If the customer does not like you, he will not buy from you. It does not matter that your product or service is the best on the planet selling at the lowest price, if the customer does not like you he just won’t buy it. So it is vital to have a warm, friendly relationship with all (yes all) your customers. Even the ones you do not like (now there is a challenge). Your target should be to create close personal friends from each and every one of your customers. How do you do this? There are a number of things you can do and over the next couple of weeks I will be looking at some of them but for now the message is to personalise all your communications. Sounds obvious doesnt it! In my business we do not get many Christmas Cards. We have very few suppliers and, together with a few customers who have slipped us on their list we received about 20 cards this year. Now I am not complaining you understand, and I would like to say thank you to those customers and suppliers who thought of us over the festive season. However! Only two of the Christmas cards we received were addressed to people by name and signed in person. ONLY TWO! Not only that. The two we received that were signed came from Sihle Zibane (aged 6) and Sibosiso Mkhize (aged 2). The others were addressed to my company with printed greetings and nothing else. How were your Christmas cards addressed and signed this year? This is an opportunity missed. The whole point of businesses sending Christmas cards to let your customers know you are thinking about them over the festive season. To further develop your relationship. Unfortunately it has become part of the system and misses the point entirely. Every communication must be personalised. Hand written if possible. Addressed to an individual or team and signed by hand. Mail shots and robot letters must be personally addresses to the individual receiving it if possible. A letter that starts “Dear Customer” or a application for employment that is addressed to the HR manager and starts “Dear Sir/Madam” has little or no chance of being successful. A letter starting with “Dear Mr Smith” or “Dear Samantha” has a much better chance of being read in a positive light. When you address your customers do so by name and you are much more likely to stay customers for ever. By the way. The two children who sent my team cards this year and signed them are from the Lily of the Valley home for orphans with Aids. The team adopted the children at the beginning of last year and contribute each month to their support. Well done team! I am proud of you. Finally I will leave you with a perfect example of a way to seem personal even though you are advertising to the mass market. The following is printed on the back of the phone book this year in Henley-on-Thames, just outside London.