I flipped my calendar over to May 1st by the warm glow of our Christmas lights, still shining brightly through my front window.
Hey, I’m not the only one still in the festive spirit. John, my new next-door neighbour, still has several strings of multi-coloured lights hanging in his tree - and they’ve been there since last November.
And the funny thing is, we moved into this small court at the top of a hill during the pandemic so it hasn’t been easy to meet, let alone speak to any of the neighbours. People are really being cautious and taking social distancing seriously.
I’ve had a few brief exchanges with John but always from a distance.
He once said, “we have the best view in Saint John.” We do.
During a snowstorm in January he banged on our door to alert us that the snow plow was here. If he hadn’t knocked, we would have missed getting our driveway cleared. We had no idea that hearing the snowplow on snow days was a sign to move the car - fast. This is what good neighbours do.
No words were necessary. Just a helpful bang on the door.
But I’d like to think that every day, John and I are quietly communicating through our Christmas lights.
We both put the outdoor lights up early in the season. We were in the grips of a pandemic after all - and the days were getting so short. By November, we were bringing some brightness to those dark evenings, a little light show on the top of the hill for all to see.
I rarely see John but I think of us as kindred spirits - every evening I look out and see that his tree is still lit up. And I imagine that he looks out, sees my lights on the hedge and decides to keep them on for another day too.
“I’ll turn mine off when she turns hers off.”
“I’ll turn mine off when he turns his off.”
We’re getting to know each other in a unique way.
And that got me thinking about the ways we communicate in our businesses without saying a word. The things that your potential clients see, even before they get to know you. The little things that speak louder than words and get the imagination working.
Like answering inquiries quickly - whether it’s by phone, text, email. That first connection with your business is important. That quick response says something about your….responsiveness!
Or actually doing what you say you’re going to do. Sounds simple but that’s a big one. It communicates a level of professionalism and general respect that’s hard to put into words. But it’s powerful.
Be helpful. If you have advice that can help your potential clients, share it! It shows the kind of person you are - open to helping, and generous with both your time and your expertise.
And the places where clients land to find out about you, before they meet you, will say a lot about you. Your website, your social media platforms, your blog. Make those landing places count. Try to create a connection in a clear and unique way, so your clients can clearly imagine working with you. Show them your personality.
It would be great if they could imagine they knew you, even before they’ve met you.
Are you thinking John just forgot to unplug his lights?
What day do you think John & I will finally pull the plug on the lights?
What would potential clients think is unique about you simply by landing on your website?
The Small Business Guide
Kim Houlahan is a marketing consultant who loves helping small business owners improve their marketing.
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