7 Ways You Should Use Good, Old Fashioned Tactics in Business

Last week’s Cloud debacle got me thinking, hard, about how quickly we embrace new technology and how sometimes that might not be a good thing. If you aren’t aware, part of Amazon’s Cloud went down and took a lot of websites with it, including Hootsuite and Foursquare. It stayed down for hours meaning any sites effected could not do business.

My company stores all of our graphics and most client files on both our own server and href=”http://basecamphq.com/”>Basecamp; if anything happened and we lost those files we would basically have to start our company over. Additionally, we’d be putting our clients in a terrible position since we also host their sites and store a lot of their files. Because of my paranoia and the fact that I’ve always had trouble embracing new technology, we also use good old fashioned external hard drives. My issue with new gadgets/software etc. is not born out of laziness or fear, but because of how much the ‘implementation slump’ slows you down.

The business I’m in, New Media marketing, requires that we stay ‘up’ on all of the latest shifts in Internet marketing, so I’ve FORCED myself to explore each major new development. Yet I cling to the old stuff for too long I am sure; – I have a second generation iphone because frankly, I don’t see how upgrading will effect my work life.

While pondering the new vs. the old , and after waiting an entire day for my beloved Hootsuite to come back up, I read an article about Floor Coverings International getting customers during the recession the old fashioned way – by reaching out via phone and face to face meetings.

And it struck me; we’d better not ditch ALL of the old methods.

Apart from the external hard drive, here are the Old Fashioned touches you should consider keeping:

1. Sending a handwritten thank you card, and if you think you don’t have time for that use Send Out Cards; sending ANY card will make a big impression on people used to receiving junk & bills exclusively in their mail box.
2. Picking up the telephone and actually having a conversation in place of an email.
3. Thanking someone for a Referral; how often are we too busy rushing onto the next task to do this?
4. Asking for an introduction, LIVE, face to face, with a target customer.
5. Real, live, face to face networking instead of stalking our prey via email and Social Media.
6. Civility in email; no one is to busy to say hello, please, thank you or good bye in email communications.
7. Buying the important books in paper; I love my Kindle desperately, but when it broke I lost all of my books until Amazon kindly sent me a new one. I was glad I’d bought the most important books in hardcover so all of my margin notations were intact.

Think you’re too busy for any of these? Do yourself a favor and just try a few of them for 1 short week; I guarantee you’ll change your mind.

Every Interaction You Have is Your PR

I did not invent this concept; I actually lifted the saying from Laurie Cadden who borrowed it from someone neither one of us can remember.

The reality is that the biggest PR mistake business people make is often in their day to day, mundane dealings with others. Just check your inbox and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Believe me, I know how busy you are; I don’t know anyone who isn’t overwhelmed by their ‘to-do’ list. But there’s no excuse for eliminating basic manners from your regimen. Here are the basic rules I try to follow despite my busy schedule:

1. Be email courteous: You’re never to busy to eliminate a friendly greeting – remember those? How about Hello ______, before you launch into your request/demand/question? How about Please, Thank You or Speak to You Later at the end of your email? It doesn’t matter if you’re emailing your best client or your worst employee – everyone deserves respect.
2. Pick up the phone: Remember the phone? That’s how we communicated before email. People feel a lot more special when you actually speak live to them periodically. Get it back into your regular method of communication and you’ll be surprised at how your relationships blossom.
3. Give praise: We’re all so busy tweeting/posting/eblasting our own company’s great highlights; take a minute and share a little of that high praise for others who deserve it. Remember, the Social Sphere has a karma boomerang.
4. Send a note: That’s right, I mean a REAL PIECE OF PAPER CORRESPONDENCE. Say ‘Thank You,’ ‘It Was Great Meeting You…’ Say anything in writing – it is so much more powerful than email. I use SendOutCards to make it simple but real, paper cards still exist. Watch how quickly your phone rings when the recipient finds something other than bills and junk in their mail.

My point wasn’t to compose a primer on social etiquette – we all know what courtesy is even if we don’t stop to think of it often. The reason you make these habits instead of special-occasion-actions is that by making it part of your everyday behavior you eliminate the chance of unintentionally offending someone.

Believe me, once you return the the rules of courtesy you learned in your youth, you’ll realize it isn’t difficult, it pays huge dividends, and you feel a lot better about yourself.