But, as we all know, the devil is in the details.
And, they’re often not the details you might think would really matter.
Let me give you a few examples. A number of years ago I was starting work with a new client. The stakes were fairly high. Important client for our agency. Huge change down the road for this client–and they were expecting big results from us. Big financial implications on both sides, right? I was one of the primary client contacts for our agency. I knew relationships were going to be paramount. So, I remember that first week, I picked a day and brought in pastries and bagels for the client corporate communications team. Not a big deal–just something I thought they’d appreciate. And, they did. It started out the relationship on the right foot. Demonstrated that I cared more about them than the “account.” It was a very small gesture–but I know it made a big difference.
Another example. As I’ve talked about before, I will call select friends and clients out of the blue on their birthday and sing them happy birthday over the phone. And when I say sing, I mean SING. I belt it. It’s not pretty, but it makes an impression. That’s the point. Again, it’s just a small gesture, but it makes a big difference. In fact, as proof of that point, I had a client who called me on MY birthday this year and sang ME happy birthday as a result. So, I think it’s safe to say that small token of appreciation and friendship made a big difference (I know it did with me on my birthday–two people called me and I definitely remember who they were).
Finally, let’s talk about the smallest of small details. Take a look at my friend Gini Dietrich’s out of office email I received last week when I sent her a short note:
“I was thinking I could get through the week without creating an out of office email. But, it turns out I was wrong (and, let’s be real, that NEVER happens!)
So here it is. I’m on the road this week. I got through a whole half a day before email got the best of me. So you get an automated response until I have 30 seconds on a plane, on a train, or in an automobile (but not if I’m driving!) to get back to you.
If you need more immediate attention, (blocked out name to protect the innocent) can help you. But I warn you…she must be bribed. She loves Elvis, animals, and chips. And she can be reached at (blocked out email address).”
It’s an out-of-office message. It’s the most trivial of all details. Yet, I’m guessing this small gesture (after all, Gini takes the time to write these, remember) makes an indelible impression on pretty much everyone who receives it when Gini’s on the road.
My point? The smallest details often make the biggest difference. In terms of relationships. Friendships. Projects. Business. Don’t forget to sweat those details. They can make the difference between winning and losing. Every day.
Note: Photo courtesy of tallpomlin via FlickR Creative Commons.