Give DTUs, not IOUs

DTUs are the antithesis of IOUs.

DTU is my shorthand for Do the Unexpected. When you have an IOU, you do it because you have to — it is simply expected or required.

When you have a DTU mindset, you act because you really want to. You genuinely want to perform a selfless act the right way and make a lasting impression. DTUs are the antithesis of IOUs. DTU is my shorthand for Do the Unexpected, a rule that I’ve committed to follow in 2010. When you have an IOU, you do it because you have to — it is simply expected or required. “I’m going to the basketball game today with a client because he’s a big Hawks fan. Duty calls.” When you have a DTU mindset, you act because you really want to. You genuinely want to perform a selfless act the right way and make a lasting impression.

Companies that are preeminent always do the unexpected. When you do the unexpected, your client very rarely forgets it. Often they tell others about what happened and word spreads. More importantly, relationships deepen.   “Our client was surprised to find a jersey signed by hometown hero Josh Smith in his office before tonight’s game.”

Unfortunately, in many businesses today, doing the unexpected is a lost art. I tend to blame the leaders of these organizations. Leaders are teachers. If they don’t lead with a DTU mindset and fail to teach others, the IOU mentality sets in.

Here are DTU opportunities to take advantage of today:

  • Write thank you notes by hand and deliver promptly
  • Remember client anniversaries and celebrate significant milestones with them
  • Offer your office conference room to a key VIP business or community contact who needs to meet off-site — surprise the contact by picking up lunch for her and her team
  • Provide a gift for new clients for the first meeting
  • Take part in a service activity with a client or make a donation to a non-profit supported by your client

Make 2010 the year of the DTU. You won’t regret it, and your DTU recipient will never forget it. Do the unexpected and you will receive the unexpected.