Manners are an art — a sign of professionalism — and having them will go a long way toward increasing your success in the real world.
Check out the following 12 manners you must make habit to be a professional success:
1. Use a surname. (Mr., Sir, Ms., Miss and Mrs.)
No matter how well you know a person, addressing someone as “Mr.” or “Mrs.” displays respect and conveys that you are there to serve. No matter how many times the customer tells you, “Call me [name],” it will never hurt to continue with “Mr.” or “Mrs.”
2. Use “Yes Sir “and “No Sir,” “Yes Ma’am” and “No Ma’am.”
We have become a culture that nearly completely disregards all formality. If a person is buying a product or service from you, his or her position must be elevated, regardless of age.
As the buyer, the customer is in an authority position and you are the servant. You are NOT equals — “yes sir” and “no sir” establishes that you know it.
3. “My pleasure.”
Rather than responding to a customer request with “no problem,” an enthusiastic “my pleasure” more so shows your level of willingness to assist.
4. “Thank you for your time.”
Time is valuable. Thanking your customer for his or her time before you start and then thanking again for his or her time at end of the engagement shows appreciation.
Never say, “I don’t want to waste your time or mine.” Your time is not important; the customer’s time is.
5. Don’t interrupt.
We often make the mistake of listening to respond rather than to understand. Make understanding the priority. Interrupting is a sign of disrespect and never improves your relationship.
6. Show full acknowledgement.
Before you respond to a customer about anything, actually acknowledge him or her. Say, “Thank you for telling me that and I agree with you.” Just listening without really duplicating the communication causes the buyer to feel unheard and disrespected.
7. Be present.
Texting, answering calls and doing other things while working with a customer is not multi-tasking; it’s multi-rudeness and it will cost you multi-millions. Give the person in front of you your full engagement.
8. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
You can never thank your customer enough. Use every medium possible to show thanks. Text him or her ten seconds after your engagement, then call or email to say thank you.
Following that up with a handwritten note is the most powerful way to show your thanks. “I just want to tell you again how much I appreciate you as a customer” is a powerful handwritten statement.
9. “Excuse me.”
This is just simple common sense. If you’re reaching in front of someone or cutting into his or her physical space, acknowledge it with “excuse me.”
It’s respectful. Also, if you enter a room while people are speaking, it’s a polite way to get acknowledged and get your questions answered quickly.
10. Hold a door open.
Never be the first person through the door. Hold a door for any and all people, no matter who they are. Holding a door for a stranger is an act of kindness.
11. “I’ll be happy to find the answer for you.”
It’s unprofessional to say “I don’t know” and more importantly, it is poor manners, even if it’s true. “I don’t know” could sound like you don’t care.
Respond with, “Great question, I will do my best to find out for you.” This demonstrates a willingness to serve the customer and answer all questions.
12. “It’s an honor to work with you.”
Go out of your way to show appreciation and make your customer feel important. If you can’t communicate this with sincerity, ask someone else to work with the customer.
Manners are not just something your parents thought were important, nor are they some outdated social protocol.
In the world of money and economics, great manners are rewarded and bad manners are punished. Look at the people earning big money and you will see them making business manners a habit.