Thursday, November 17, 2005

Creating Memorable Business Relationship Bonding Experiences

I am just home from attending an advance screening of the newest Harry Potter movie. Approaching the theater this evening with my two daughters and a friend from the office we strolled past long lines of people who had been waiting untold hours so that they could be the first in line when the movie opens to the public at midnight tonight. As we were wisked past the ticket office into the lobby I paused to chat with several business friends from other service providers and companies in the area. We checked in with our hosts, chatted some more and then the lights dimmed before the movie began.

I would not say that I am a huge Potter fan, but my daughters are (aged 22 and 30). As the movie unfolded my youngest giggled with delight as the forth book of the Potter series unfolded before us. It is ALWAYS a great night when my daughters are having a good time!

The night was courtesy of Merrill Corporation; a service provider to law firms (and others) that really gets the whole business relationship thing. My friends with Merrill, James Hickey and Jerry Wilkinson (whom I have blawged in the past) were the hosts. They invited friends and clients of their firm and their families to this special treat. Do you think they will be well remembered in business? Yes, and I do to.

Taking clients to lunch, out for drinks, to a sporting event, or even providing exceptional service are all good ways to strengthen a business bond. But creating memorable moments is a bit tougher than just doing the "usual".

By including my family in a unique experience they became personal associates. Listening to my daughter giggle like she was ten again is a moment not forgotten. And I can thank Merrill for the moment (even though I know they will never take credit).

For the past five years I have done something similar for my firms with Snow Day; A one day excursion to a local ski area (all expenses paid) for the key people that provide referrals to my firm(s). The hook at this event is; Bring your family. No speeches, no business, just have fun. What might appear to be a boondoggle has been a steady source of new business and wonderful, lasting relationships for the different partners of firms I've served.

So, tonight's lesson. Work less on being memorable, and work more on creating memories. There are many things that matter to each of us and it is nice that there are people in business who know that.

(Did I mention that Merrill Corp is my choice for document services?)