Sunday, February 22, 2009
Ever been to Hemingway's in Wantagh, New York? What an awesome place to make a reservation if you find yourself in Nassau county. I am sooo into foodie paradise spots and this place is Spanking-A if you'd like to have a business meeting in a family friendly restaurant. Kathy P and I were taking quite a chance picking a new restaurant to meet a client in, but the recommendation came from someone who assured us it would be well worth the ride, so we met there and I have to say how glad I am that we took her advice.
What a lovely bit of atmosphere to get comfortable in and conduct pleasure with business. Yes, the pleasure came first. I love doing restaurant reviews and routinely invite my clients and friends to dine with me so we can try various aspects of the menus and spend some quality time together. I hate wasting food, am a bit old school and believe if you are going to experiment with the menu you must order multiple meals and get a few opinions other than your own. It is a wonderful way to mix business with pleasure, but have the pleasure first so your mind will be so much more relaxed to enjoy the business at hand afterward (LOL).
For those who don't mix the two, that's fine. Feel free to do the business dinners of your choice people, but I'm just sayin' it's a lot more fun the other way... Happy clients give happy referrals, but I digress ;-)
Hemingway's is intimately lit and the candle light makes for some very nice eye candy. If you have something you need to read for a business presentation, make sure you make a 4:30 PM dinner reservation so you can enjoy the sun slowly setting and not have to take out a flashlight to see (LOL). Well, I did say it was intimate lighting, now didn't I? It's a great place to take a date (hint, hint) so if you enjoy a fine dining experience, go to Hemingway's. You will not be disappointed.
The staff were very kind and attentive to our every need, plus the chef specials were awesome selections. We're going back to try out more of the menu when the weather improves and to see what the new chef specials will be. Some dishes are seasonal and I always love a chef who likes to mix it up. This one is a master at making you wish you'd ordered three meals just so you could taste something spectacular. Our hostess rattled off so many wonderful choices I almost did not read the menu. The place fills up quickly, so do yourself a favor and make a reservation. Especially for a Saturday night. Seriously!
You do not want to miss what could be a very a lovely evening for your and your family. Trust me. The food was that good. The desert even better (LOL). You want to know what also helped to seal the deal in selecting this place besides my never ending curiosity for the next great place to eat? It has a lovely website. There is nothing like social media to back up a word of mouth recommendation to make me drive to another county to enjoy a meal and do a hyper-local restaurant review (LOL).
Which brings us to talking point #2: Do not squander your social media people. Seriously. :-)
I just left a blog post littered with a few of my diatribes in protest and response to an attack upon a very talented writer I love to read. I found myself thinking I would not want to do business with someone who left a bad taste in my virtual mouth. None of us are perfect, we all make mistakes, but this writer kept coming back again and again to cause havoc. He didn't attempt to mend one fence or offer an olive branch and I realized just how important the ability to blog and speak your mind really is. These are not paid endorsements, these are stories of where we go, what we do, what we think and who we love to associate with. (Or avoid - LOL) When someone recommends another professional or vendor for something, it also places our blogger's butt on the line and affects our credibility as well. You are going to test the veracity of our statements to see if you agree or disagree. It's okay to agree to disagree, but when I say do not squander your social media, I mean this... quite seriously.
Talking point #3: You can only make a first impression once. There are no do overs in this category. Hemingway's gets the Mama Minion thumbs up! I am soooo gonna bring the little minions back here with Big Daddy Minion first chance I get (LOL). They have a fireplace. Very cool. I want to sit over there next time. I'm hoping to have another Active Rain road trip and think a few talented friends would love to experience the atmosphere of an American Bar and Grill. In case you haven't noticed, Realtors are very visual people. Look what we do for a living: we research, inspect, film, photograph, compare and tour properties (LOL). :-)
BTW, one of the benefits of having talented friends who use social media is that when you have a client who is looking for a specific type of help, you can instantly help them. You can send them to their professional websites for an overview of their business. You can send them newspaper and magazine articles. You can send them to their Active Rain Real Estate Network profile so they can check out their blog posts and learn something more about who they are through the comments people leave and the interactions developing in the growing conversational threads. You can also tell a lot by the comments people make in response to what you've written. Blogging is unique because you get instant gratification and a business record to document a hit or a miss (LOL). Every time you read a post, it makes a first impression, so bloggers who post weekly are giving you a tremendous amount of information about themselves and their businesses. I am a chatty, wordy entrepreneur, so you may get a lot more information than you originally bargained for (LOL).
Talking point #4: When entrepreneurs diligently maintain an interactive on-line presence, current clients and potential new customers can discover the personal common denominators that can help them make the decision to hire other professionals linked-in with their current contractors. Blogging to showcase other vendors and professionals (e.g. link love) will always influence your client's perception of you and what you can and can not do for them. By reading my blog posts my readers already know that I have designers and stagers that I think are wonderful, so they do not hesitate when they decide to hire one to look out for their best interests. They have an expectation that I have my Club Chaos Active Rain Team in place to cover all of their home-buying needs. The builders. The re-modelers. The interior designers. The stagers. The mortgage brokers. The appraisers. The inspectors. The attorneys. My friends are all there and they are ready, willing and able to help. I have the most fun when my readers have done their homework, know who I play and work with and also know that all it takes is one e-mail or a phone call from me to get the project started. I will not work with everyone and everyone will not work with me. That is life, but it is always nice to know you have people you can count on. The designer/stager I introduced my client to is a woman I can count on. I love bragging about her because she makes my life a lot easier and brings so much more to my business model than I can articulate. Kathy Passarette is awesome and she is very active in the social media circles so feel free to look her up if you need some work done. :-)
Talking point # 5: When your clients have already contracted with you because of your on-line presence, they have a higher expectation of service than when they walk in off the street to ask questions of a stranger. When people become familiar or comfortable with a writer, they always approach the project differently because they have a perception of what it would be like to deal with you in reality. It's not just a business transaction to them or a brush with cyberlebrity. You are a potential new friend helping to solve their problems that they are happy to pay your retainer/commission. You are someone they are about to spend some quality time with because your original content made an impression on them to the point where they picked up the phone and called you. They have an infant's trust in you because they already have tried a part of you out and like what they know. Working with you means they would like to know more. How you treat them will determine exactly what you will and wont get out of the relationship once the initial transaction is concluded.
Talking point #6: Do not think for one minute that you are not in a new relationship. You are. Each one is different and can open new doors for more relationships with brand new contacts if you do well cultivating the ones you have and don't take a single moment for granted.
Perfect example: It was our bog posts that made this business meeting happen last night, so if blogging on Active Rain is not part of your business plan, you may want to reconsider your position. You never know where your social media connections may lead, so don't squander them, they are more precious than gold. R. E. Mills is a wonderful client who discovered me on-line and retained my services through a buyer's brokerage agreement to help her find and purchase a home. Since I openly chat about my business model (70% Buyers Brokerage, 15% Listing Agent, 15% Rental Agent) and love bragging about what a great job my friends do and/or how talented I think they are, I have been connecting on-line with people (like Ms. Mills) who do not just need my services as a Realtor but they also want to work with my friends.
I repeat: they do not just want my services. They have an expectation that I am going to be bringing my friends and their marvelous expertise along. Do you know why? It's not just because I blog about them in cyberspace or fool around on Twitter about how our day is going, I also brag about them in real life. I print out their blog posts and take them along with me. When I want to show someone an example of what it is that they can have done, I showcase the people I know who can do it. When I show a home I always say, "there is no such thing as a perfect home. What makes it your home is what you decide to do to it to put your personal stamp on your new space."
I am an artist and am very big on imagination. When your client is comfortable enough with you to start talking about what they have always imagined wanting and you know a stager who is an interior designer or a builder who does re-modeling, you can give them their dream home within the foundation of what it is they can afford to buy if you take the time to help them budget for a few treats. A little paint, some accents, a few new pieces of furniture or art (and carpentry) can go a long way when your friends are talented... Before and after pictures can go a long way with the unimaginative (LOL).
Whether Notary, Artistic, or Realty related, people usually contact me through Active Rain, Ward-Nasse, Twitter, Facebook, TannStarr.com, REMAX People Realty, by word of mouth and my favorite search engine: Google.
How do your clients find you? What do they think of your blog posts?
Mine never know what they're going to get, which is exactly the way I like it (LOL).
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