Towards the beginning of my career I had the opportunity to work as Public Relations (PR) Manager for a leading international 5 star hotel. I had lots of operational experience within the industry, and had also established one of the first hotel Guest Relations Departments in the region well before guests were commonly perceived as a true asset that needed to be earned and nurtured. But I had never before worked in PR, so it was a unique opportunity which I embraced gratefully.
As part of my induction into the Public Relations role I spent time with a colleague in a sister hotel, and learned one of the most important lessons of my life.
My well respected and very experienced colleague told me that there are two rules in Public Relations:
• Rule 1 – It’s not what you know that's important, it’s who you know!
• Rule 2 – It’s not who you know that's important, it’s who knows you!
So what does this mean, and how can we apply this lesson?
In order to explain “what”, imagine I am talking to you about James Bond, and I mention his favourite car……what car do you think of immediately? The answer - an Aston Martin of course!
We think of Aston Martin because there is an immediate connection, built up over time, between James Bond and Aston Martin. This is called being “front of mind”. In other words, no-one has to make this connection for us, we instinctively make it ourselves – we know that James Bond loves Aston Martin! It is his car of preference and a logical partnership!
When we translate this into our practical world, we want to become the go-to business or person our contacts think of first. We want to be their brand of preference and for them to think of us instinctively when they need a solution to a problem. It doesn’t mean that they will give us all their business, but at least we want every opportunity to be considered. Over and over again!
Let’s talk about “how” for a moment. How do we make sure that we are front of mind for our clients? There are a number of things we need to do:
• create meaningful opportunities to regularly connect with our clients
• develop a reputation for being solution oriented
• ensure we generate the perception of win/win in our dealings with our clients
• form a sense of partnership with our clients
Stronger relationships with existing clients will keep you front of mind, leading to more repeat business as well as more recommendations.
The fundamental element is to make sure that those who know you recognise you as a partner and a trusted advisor. The faster you create this recognition, the sooner you and your clients can reap the benefits!
About the author:
Timothy Millett's training roles have seen him deliver programs across Australia, Asia, Europe, Africa and America ensuring cultural sensitivity as well as a broad base of experience in lecturing, teaching and training.
A graduate of the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, Switzerland, his hospitality career spans management and director positions in Front Office, Guest Relations, Public Relations, Food & Beverage and Training with organisations including the Regent of Melbourne, The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group and Mövenpick Gastronomy. He was also a founding staff member of the internationally renowned Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School in Australia.
Tim is currently the Director of Training and Development at iperform, an organisation that specialises in Sales and Service, Leadership and Effective Personal Organisation programs.