The Sweetest Sound…

Caring matters for your businessOne of the things Dale Carnegie said in his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, was that the sweetest sound in anybody’s ear is their own name. I want to take that a step further. I think the sweetest sound is not only somebody’s name in their own ear, but with a happy birthday put in front of it. Yes, my birthday is coming up this week. Today, I want to talk a little about caring and how caring matters for your business over the course of a year. One of the things that I do every single January 11th – yes, that is my birthday, if you want to send all kinds of gifts, please do – is take the day off.

Working Hard On My Day Off

That’s right, every single year on January 11th I take the day off and there’s a reason I take the day off. I have over 3,500 friends on Facebook. On LinkedIn, I have over 3,500 connections and I have about 3,000 on Twitter. There’s a few on Instagram and email and other stuff. Now, if you’d tack those all together, it’s about 10,000 people. And what ends up happening during the course of that day, is that I get a lot of people that say, “Happy Birthday, Brian.” They send me pictures, they send me all kinds of fun stuff. So there has been a tradition that I don’t just wait until the next day and say, “Hey, thanks for all the birthday wishes.” I go into every single one of those posts and thank those people personally.

This also happens every day in smaller batches. I go out of my way to wish every friend on Facebook and LinkedIn a Happy Birthday personally – “Happy Birthday Kellie! 🎂🥓” On Facebook I do the same for my friends who allow you to post to their feeds (not people where you have to messages to), but LinkedIn it’s acceptable and encouraged to message directly.

Yeah, that’s a lot of work, but there’s a reason behind it. Let me explain. If you sit down and look at the amount of people that connect up with me on all that social media. 3,500 people on Facebook, that usually means that somewhere between four to 600 people wish me happy birthday. It takes a lot of time, but there’s a big reason why I go and do the one-on-one thank you’s as soon as possible.

Care Levels

The reason is, I like to think of them as care levels. In other words, you have Level One care, you have Level Two care, you have Level Three care.

Level one care is somebody that you really know comes and tells you something. You’re all excited and you jump on board and you say, “Hey, thanks. Thanks for the birthday wishes.” Or, “Hey, I wanted to wish you a happy birthday,” something along that line. That’s level one care. You know this person and you’re willing to invest the time and energy into them.

Level two care is maybe you know the person, but they’re not super close to you or they probably wouldn’t do business with you. Maybe you remember them from high school but they’re just not a part of your daily life. Chances are most people would go in and say thanks or hit the like button.

Then there’s the third group, and that’s level three care. Level three care would be people that come on and say happy birthday, and you don’t know him from Adam. Now granted, a lot of us are connected with the people we don’t know, but you know, we’ll either hit the like button or we’ll ignore them or maybe say thanks. Rarely will we go in and actually say, “Hey, thanks Jim” or “Thanks Sue” and put in a personal note.

Caring matters for your businessWhy would you want to go to all that trouble, especially with somebody that you don’t know? Well, the level one care is pretty obvious. Level one is somebody that you know that you already have interactions with. Level two is somebody that maybe you know, but you don’t have a lot of interactions with. And level three is somebody that you don’t interact with often. Here’s the thing – over the course of a year, this adds up. When you go in and thank somebody personally, they get a notification that you responded back to their message.

Number one, that makes you stand out from the rest of the crowd. I can guarantee you that the vast majority of people do not take the time to go in and personally thank every single person, especially somebody that they don’t know very well. What this immediately does is makes you stand out. The second thing that it does is it increases your engagement score with those people. So by interacting with people that you don’t generally interact with, the social media algorithms tend to raise up the amount that your stuff gets seen by those people, because you’re having a one-on-one conversation. So that can have all kinds of intrinsic effects over the course of a year.

Success Story

Caring matters for your businessThe third thing is – you just never know. Let me share a real life story. There was somebody who I knew in high school, and I didn’t know her very well. She was somebody who was just a friend on Facebook and a connection on LinkedIn. She came to me one day and she said, “Hey Brian, would you do me a favor and take a look at my LinkedIn profile and give me some pointers?” And I said, “Sure.” She’s wished me happy birthday and all those other things, and I would say she’s probably level two-ish, level three, that kind of thing. I said, “Sure,” and I went and did it. And I didn’t hear anything back from her.

Well, three months later down the line, all of a sudden I get this message from her on LinkedIn. She says, “Hey Brian, I found this job in West Chicago. My boss found out that you do LinkedIn training and would like to meet you and talk about the possibility of you coming in and working with their sales team.” Now think about that. The engagement from a birthday message led to somebody asking me, would I be willing to spend a bit of time and offer up a couple of tips? I wasn’t going in and doing a full blown profile. If I go in and work with somebody, it costs money. There’s art involved, there’s writing involved, there’s all kinds of things. But I can offer up a handful of tips just to be nice and give a bit of care back.

I did that and the next thing you know it converted into business. Does that happen all the time? No. But is it a possibility? By engaging with somebody who’s a level one, level two, or level three care type person, is there a possibility that you could get some business from that? I’m here to tell you the answer is YES. It’s happened more than once. Here’s the thing I want you to do – number one, you don’t have to set the whole day aside, but at least go in and thank people. Even if you just copy and paste thank you, that interaction alone is going to give you a better response than most people.

The next thing is, if you want to take it to the next level, say, “Thank you Jim, have a great day.” Do something above and beyond and try to mix it up so it doesn’t look like you’re copying and pasting the whole time. The third thing that you can do is go down the road that everybody else does. Respond to the people that you really know, the people you don’t know, just copy and paste thank you, and the other people say, “Hey, thanks for all the birthday wishes,” and use that blanket statement.

Final Thoughts

But here’s the thing – when your birthday comes up, whether it’s next week, next month, or in December, wouldn’t you want the present of engagement? Wouldn’t you want the present of caring? Wouldn’t it feel really good to have somebody come back and say to you, “Thanks for the birthday wishes, Brian. I really appreciate it.” So think about paying it forward and using that time to create more business.

I’d love to hear how your take on the idea that caring matters for your business. Comment below and share your ideas or questions about utilizing your birthday to engage with your friends and connections. Have you already implemented some of these steps? Do you have any additional ideas or insight you can share?