Growing up my mom used to buy Honey Nut Cheerios on very rare occasion. The sweet, crispy cereal became like breakfast gold to us kids. The only problem was my dad didn't want us to have sweetened cereals. As soon as he discovered the cereal, he would mix it with regular Cheerios (which are plain and bland). Thus diluting the sweetness.
My sister and I would hide the box in weird places all around the kitchen, in hopes that dad wouldn't find it for at least a few days—allowing us time to eat half the box or so. As soon as our hiding place was found out, my dad would dilute the cereal inside the actual cereal box. So he would take the regular Cheerio's and put them inside the Honey Nut box. It was a sad morning, when thinking we were getting 100% honey, we were greeted with 30% honey and 70% cardboard taste. Bleck! What an atrocity.
There were a few times when my dad would make a slight oversight in his Cheerio mixing—he mixed the Honey into the plain Cheerio's box. Those mornings were glorious because we were expecting bland and instead received 30% honey! I cherished those bowls. Even though it was a mistake, we got more than we expected.
Turn Boring Into Exciting
Too many times has this applied in business. A company slips in bland and boring into what should be sweet and delicious. It's rare that "exciting and remarkable" is mixed into something that ordinarily would be "bland and boring."
Here's an example, my bookkeeper emailed me a couple weeks ago. She wanted to let me know that our monthly reconciliation had been done and everything was ready for the next month's transactions. She then went on to tell me that she had reorganized a whole section of the books that I had mis-categorized and botched up (my words, she was much nicer).
That's awesome. She took it a step further. Not only did she reorganize it, she recategorized all those incorrect transactions and renamed all of our customers so the books were in pristine order.
"No charge, I know you're busy. Just wanted to help."
I was stunned. Bookkeeping isn't supposed to make your day! I actually smiled while reading that email—accounting actually made me smile. (Click here to hire the best bookkeeper.)
It doesn't always have to be unexpected, per say. But amazingly, the things done with passion, excellence, and love while going the extra mile often feel unexpected.
The key here is to be okay with under promising and over delivering. Let your value speak for itself. Brighten your customers' day by slipping a few sweet morsels into the bland box and turn boring into exciting.
A few sweet morsels you can try in your daily interactions:
- Saying something nice to a person that you care about
- Responding promptly and courteously in your communication
- Looking out for the other person's interests. Example, our bookkeeper. Such a small thing, but it's a nice gesture and made my day.
- Creating value first—this goes hand in hand with the previous. Put yourself in their shoes. Would you charge a big, fat retainer if you haven't first proven value?
- Being honest, even if that means losing the sale. "Sorry, we can't actually help you here, we're not very good at that…" (Try saying that more if it's true).
That's a short list, but we want your help. What are some ways you can put some "sweet" in your daily dealings with others? Leave your comments here (below).
Posted on April 9, 2013
by Tim & Tommy filed under