How to Leverage Good Manners for Self Respect and Profit

It wasn’t so long ago that good manners and etiquette were co-equal with other topics in training young people to be successful adults. These days however, such learned virtues seem to have deteriorated to an alarming degree.

The philosophy of etiquette is timeless and everlasting, whereas manners, the way we live out the code of behaviour of etiquette, are ever changing. Manners, by their very nature, adapt to time. While today’s manners are often situational, tailored to particular circumstances and the expectations of those around us, they remain a combination of common sense, generosity of spirit, and a few specific guidelines or fluid ‘rules’ that help us interact in a thoughtful manner. Manners are an art -- a sign of courtesy, respect and professionalism -- and having them will go a long way toward increasing your success in the real world. 

I could write a book on how to apply manners in your professional and personal world but in respect of your time, I will share these few suggestions:

Always use a Surname (Mr., Sir, Ms., Miss and Mrs.)
No matter how well you know a person, addressing someone as “Mr." or "Ms.,"  displays respect and conveys that you are there to serve.

Use “Yes Sir” and “No Sir” or “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, saying “yes sir’ and “no sir” establishes that you know your role. 

“My Pleasure”
Rather than responding to a customer request with “no problem,” an enthusiastic "my pleasure" better conveys your level of willingness to assist.

“Thank you for Your Time”
Time is valuable for everyone. Thank your customer for his or her time before you start your interaction and then thank them again at the end of your engagement. Never say "I don't want to waste your time or mine." Your time is not important; the customer’s time is.

Don’t Interrupt (under any circumstances)
We often make the mistake of listening to respond rather than to understand. Make understanding your priority. Interrupting is a sign of disrespect and never improves your relationship.

Show Respect and  Acknowledgement
Before you respond to a customer about anything, actually acknowledge them by saying:  "Thank you for telling me that and I agree with you." Just listening without really mirroring the communication causes the buyer to feel unheard and disrespected.

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 attention.

Say Thank You as Many Times as You Can
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. Follow up is a very powerful influence for future sales and building a trusting relationship.

Excuse Me Goes a Long Way
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.

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.

Always ‘Be Happy’ to Find the Answer
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.” 

And lastly, “It’s an honour ( a privilege or a pleasure) 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.

In our 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. Jennifer Grant International has a wide variety of Business Etiquette seminars, workshops and presentations. Call us today for a courtesy consultation, we would be pleased to work with you.

Share this post

Ready to take the first step?
Book a FREE Consultation with Jennifer Grant.