A Pat on the Back

Feb. 1, 2011
I've got a little secret for everyone who runs a wholesale business, yet this little gem actually holds true for any kind of business. Everyone likes

I've got a little secret for everyone who runs a wholesale business, yet this little gem actually holds true for any kind of business.

Everyone likes a pat on the back. The instant gratification, whether it's a simple sentence or even a gesture that acknowledges you've done something well, is a small bouquet of joy. And no matter how humble or immune we might seem to be to a note of praise, it is one of the easiest ways to reward someone, and its effects can last for days, as the recipient shares the comment with his family or simply pauses for a moment of self-satisfaction. However, this is not the secret.

You can heighten the degree to which you offer that "pat on the back" in a more public forum that will often intensify the recipient's feeling of accomplishment. We call it public relations or publicity, except that it's about your employee and NOT the company.

The next time you promote an employee, send out a brief press release outlining the promotion. Yes, you should send it to HARDI magazine, but you ALSO should send it to BOTH the daily and weekly newspapers in your area. [ed. note. Professional secret: ALWAYS include a photo whenever you're touting someone's accomplishments. Most talented editors will opt for a release with a photo over the others if space is available.] Anything that occurs in your business that has a link to an employee's accomplishment is an opportunity to publicize the achievement.

Let's assume that you have an employee who just passed a NATE certification test. Maybe you congratulated him, even gave him a gift certificate. Sure, he's happy. But imagine if he opened up a magazine or his weekly newspaper and saw a two- paragraph story that explains the importance of the exam and why he took it in addition to noting that he passed. Naturally, his photo would be in there, too. And this example wouldn't exactly hurt the distributorship, telling the audience (including some of YOUR customers) that an employee took the extra step in learning more about subjects in the HVACR industry. It will evoke greater confidence in your company on the part of the readers.

Most people get media attention once in their lives (if that). We call it the obituary. You can change that by writing a press release that's only a few paragraphs long, touting your employee's accomplishments.

And if you believe in the value of positive publicity, here's another secret. Whenever an employee accomplishes something even outside of our industry, send out a press release. Let's say your employee just won a drag race over the weekend: Cha-ching! Press release time.

But why, Tom? Because, usually the name of an employer is a basic part of a press release and often appears in a newspaper article, especially if it's a local story. And with websites that carry press releases, you're almost assured of your employee and the company remaining in the press release.

One last publicity tip for you and your employees: For a modest fee, you can purchase a plaque that displays a newspaper or magazine article. Doesn't it make sense to highlight your team's accomplishments by posting those articles in areas of your facility that the public visits?

For example, I know of one distributor whom we profiled in this magazine that followed this suggestion. He ultimately placed the story on the walls in all of his 10-plus branches (that highlighted the profile about his company), which included photos of employees.

Except for professional entertainers, most of us live in a world where public acclaim is meager or even nonexistent. When done tastefully and in moderation, there's nothing wrong with giving your most valuable asset, your employees, their moment in the warm glow of positive attention.

HVACR Distribution Business welcomes letters to the editor. Please send correspondence to: Tom Peric, Editor 2040 Fairfax Avenue Cherry Hill, NJ 08003 856/874-0049 or e-mail [email protected].