When was the last time you did anything for the first time?

I know I am not the first one to ask that question, and I can’t even remember the first time I heard it. “When was the last time you did anything for the first time?”

That expression has stuck with me for at least the last 5 years and I have really taken it to heart. Doing things for the first time is invigorating, scary and empowering all in the same breath. I encourage you to do something new this month. You will grow and your business will grow as a result.

This weekend I am in France for the first time by myself. I am also in a location I have never been to before – Aix en Provence. Yee Haw! I can count this trip as two firsts at the same time. Truth is I have not been to France in over 17 years so this is an exciting trip. I only wish I could stay longer and have my loved ones with me.

How did I end up here on business? For the last 5 years I have been encouraging my clients to publish articles in on-line and off-line journals in their markets. Publishing is something we do at Engage each month. Writing articles and write papers is the best way to show your expertise to the market place. Currently I publish articles to about 100 journals each month on the web and in print. To do this we use a software called article announcer. It’s a wonderful tool for finding and maintaining relationships with relevant online publications.

One day last fall I received a call from the president of a German software company who loved an article I wrote that was published in an on-line journal. He asked that teach the principles in the article to his sales team January in Aix. Hard to say no to that offer eh?
That’s is the power of writing articles. Writing and publishing position you as an expert that people want to do business with. Your phone wrings with qualified prospects as a result. So here I am, enjoying a glass of wine, blogging from the old town with a view of the town centre fountain – still lit up for Christmas.

Of course I did a bit of shopping – seriously though I had more fun with the food stores than anything else. Nobody does food better than the French! I mean really, could you resist a candy store like this?

I did manage to pick up some extra treats for a few lucky clients. I am always always on the lookout for great candy that is suitable for mailing so I can send it as a thank you gift (and of course to give to Casey for holding down the fort while I am on the road!). Those receiving a thank you from me later this month are likely due to receive French caramels, chocolates or bon bons. You too should be looking for unique ways to thank clients for doing business with you. Being nice, saying thanks, and showing appreciation is critical to securing a long term, profitable customer relationship.

Well, that’s it for today. I am operating on 3 hours sleep from the overnight flight and the adrenaline from experiencing a new city so its time to hit the proverbial hay. Think about what you could be doing for the first time. Stretch yourself. Grow. Share those experiences with your network and write articles Thank your clients for being your clients. Appreciate the business they send you. I know 2007 will be a profitable year for you if you commit to these three actions.

Dedicated to increasing your sales,