Each December you will find Santa getting ready for his big night. We hear so much about the long, arduous hours he puts in during the month, it would lead us to believe he relaxes the rest of the year. But Santa, being the world's greatest marketer, begins working on the upcoming year on December 26. I suppose he gets a good night's sleep after he gets back from his ride around the world; he may have even slept in the next morning. But you can be sure that once he gets up, he gets right to work. And if he can't take time off from his marketing efforts, how can anyone of us?

First of all, Santa has a brand, and everything he does enforces that brand. Could it be that you don't think that there is a brand "Santa"? Well pull up an ice block, have a seat, and we'll take a look. If I asked you to name who delivers gifts to children, who would be at the top of your mind? Santa Claus, right? Of course there are others; FedEx and UPS make deliveries, too. But then again, how many five year olds are going to say FedEx?

Since Santa doesn't have printed materials or similar collateral, he utilizes other features to differentiate between himself and his competition. Instead of a large box van, he drives a big, red sleigh. His uniform of choice is a red suit with white fur trim. His trademark beard is equaled only by his hearty laugh. And his logo is his own image. (I wonder if that's where Colonel Sanders got the idea.)

Managing relationships
Let's take a look at everything he will have to accomplish this year. His most important asset is his contact list, and it's forever evolving. He has to know who is to be added; who is to be deleted. Just as important as the contacts themselves is the knowledge he has about each of those contacts. This includes, but certainly isn't limited to, such things as: interests, likes and dislikes, hobbies, accomplishments, family members, and how his previous interactions with each one of them panned out. His success is based on a never-ending commitment to the fact that everything is about them ... not him.

Similarly, you should be always be updating your contacts and the information you have about them. As with many things in life, the little things mean a lot. So, if at all possible, do what you can to learn about your contacts' spouses, children, hobbies, and anything else you deem valuable. Did his business achieve its revenue goal for the year? Did she win an award? How is competition affecting his company?

Once you have this information, use it! The next time you are with a client who enjoys boats, ask him if he will be attending the upcoming boat show. Better yet, buy tickets and drop them in the mail. If a customer loves to cruise the Caribbean and you read an article about the world's newest, largest ship, be sure to send it to her. And when she takes a cruise, make sure you ask her about it when she gets back.

Giving leads to receiving
To Santa, it's all about giving, and to a great extent, that's exactly how you should think. The more you give to your clients, the more you are likely to get back. Your clients look at many things when determining the value of a product or service. One of them is customer service. Yet many of us believe that extreme customer service -- the kind that makes your clients not only take notice but also tell others about it -- is a myth. No it's not, and those who want to take advantage of it have a tremendous opportunity.

Then again, extreme customer service is not easy. It's planned, tracked, and redeveloped as needed. Santa knows this, and he spends what others would consider an inordinate amount of time working on it. He realizes that the results he reaps at the end of the year are based on the planning he sows throughout the year.

Don't forget Rudolph
We all know that Santa relies on many reindeer to get him around the globe in one night. And we can learn a lesson from this fact. Many of us can name the nine well-known reindeer, but when asked to name only one, the vast majority of us name Rudolph. Why? Because this smart little reindeer has also branded himself.

His unique value proposition -- how he differs from his fellow reindeer and the benefit that difference offers -- is known to all of us. He is the only one with a red nose that glows, meaning he can lead Santa's sleigh through stormy weather. He also has his own song and television show. And, although others, such as Olive the Other Reindeer, have tried to do the same, they just haven't been able to capitalize the way Rudolph has. Whoever thought that a reindeer would be an example for businesses of all sizes?

Take a clue from the jolly ol' elf and develop a way to systematically wow your clients. When you do, you will also be a legend.

Author's Bio: 

As a speaker, author and coach, Peter George helps self-employed professionals achieve the success they've been striving for. His highly-acclaimed More Clients More Profits Workbook includes contributions from van Misner, Bob Burg, Susan Roane, Scott Ginsberg & others. Want to start attracting more clients right away? Claim your free copy of "101 Ways to Attract More Clients" at =>
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