By Barry Byers
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Small business marketing tips are everywhere these days and if you pay attention, even in the most unexpected places.

Greg and I attended a search engine optimization symposium presented by Search Engine Workshops in Raleigh, North Carolina. It was a great opportunity to meet and catch up on a few small projects while learning the latest SEO techniques we will employ in marketing our business.

Robin Nobles inspired us to develop creativity in our content development; Andy Beale gave us an in-depth overview of blog marketing for businesses, Dave Barry discussed dynamically delivered web pages and Michael Marshall…..well, if you want to know what Michael is up to, you will have to attend the next symposium.

John Alexander renewed our enthusiasm about keyword research with Wordtracker and gave added a few small surprises, as John always does.

However, one of the most important business lessons during the two day session wasn’t taught in the classroom and it wasn’t delivered by the usual suspects.

The first night in town, we went to a nearby restaurant for dinner. A waiter approached our table and introduced himself; “Good evening everyone, my name is Omar and I am your waiter this evening.”

Omar was taking our dinner order when we noticed that he wasn’t taking notes which caused some concern in our group. Omar told us not to worry and that after he had taken our 5 orders that he would repeat the order….of the table of 6 behind him and then he would repeat our orders, which he did, flawlessly.

The food was terrific and the service was great so the next night we decided to go back to the same restaurant. Of course, we asked to be seated in Omar’s section. Once again, Omar delivered. When the kitchen took too long to cook a meal for one of our associates, Omar provided a free cocktail, brought over some finger food and boxed the dinner for later… charge.

Now we were hooked. Our last night in town, we walked over to the restaurant and asked for Omar. We were disappointed to hear that there was a 60 minute wait to get into Omar’s section but if we would sit elsewhere it would only take 30 minutes.

It had been a long day so we decided to forgo Omar’s section and went to the bar to drown our sorrows in a cold beer. We asked the bartender for a food menu and ordered our drinks. I was paying for the first round, as I usually do when I am with Greg, so I asked the bartender for the bill.

“Your bill has been taken care of”, the bartender told me and pointed to a young man, carrying a tray of food, heading towards a table at the back of the restaurant. Greg and I stared at each other in disbelief and immediately went back to the headwaiter and demanded to be seated in Omar’s section.

It gets better. Our table was ready but my partner was finishing off a beer so I walked over alone to secure our booth. Before I had time to sit down, Omar arrived with a beverage in hand. “Diet coke, Mr. Byers” Omar knowingly stated. I was floored but the best was still to come.

Omar took our dinner order in his customary respectful fashion. He returned with our meals and placed a glass of red wine in front of me.

“I thought you might enjoy a glass of Pinot Noir with your steak, Mr. Byers”, Omar stated matter of factly.
OK, all of the business marketing services offered by Omar can be explained:

The memory thing; a learned technique
Remembering the diet coke, well, I had a diet coke all 3 nights;
Addressing me by name, I paid with my credit card, as I usually do when I am with Greg.
The Pinot Noir, I had a glass of Pinot Noir on the very first visit to the restaurant two days earlier;
Buying a round for the boys; priceless!

5 Small Business Marketing Tips We Can Learn from Omar

Differentiate Yourself – We’ve all seen waiters take orders by memory but how many engage the table a challenge?
Get Personal Fast – In 5 minutes, Omar addressed every person in our booth individually by name.
Know Your Client – take the time and effort it had to take Omar to understand and deliver such personalized service to your customers. Learning the small details about your client’s business can make all the difference.
React Quickly To Control Damage – Instead of complaining about how our colleague’s meal was late, we found ourselves once again marveling over Omar’s handling of the situation.
It Ain’t Over Till it’s Over – Omar saw us with food menus in hand, ready to order dinner at the bar when he paid for our drinks.

Never stop selling.

Ok, I mentioned at the beginning of this article that John Alexander always has a small surprise or two in store for us at every search engine workshop. So now I am wondering about two things; did John plant Omar in the restaurant to give us a valuable lesson in small business marketing? And when will Greg send my credit card back to me?

Highest regards
Barry Byers
Search Engine Academy Montreal
About Gregory Mate

Gregory Mate is the Director of Training of the Montreal Search Engine Academy, He teaches a 1 Day Executive Masters’ in SEO Seminar, the 2-Day Basic SEO Essentials, 3-Day Advanced SEO Techniques, and 5-Day All-Inclusive SEO “hands on” search engine marketing workshops in the Greater Montreal Area of Quebec.
About Search Engine Academy

The Search Engine Academy is the first search engine optimization training designed for people with little or no previous experience with SEO. It also has a detailed certification program for current SEOs to ensure they possess the most current and correct skills. The Search Engine Academy was formed by industry leaders Robin Nobles and John Alexander. Each of the Search Engine Academies are independently owned and operated by licensed associates of the Search Engine Academy.

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