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Book Review–Courting Business: 101 Ways for Accelerating Business Relationships

By Marilyn Carnevale

It’s my first book review and the book’s promotional copy reads, “Why waste your time chasing after prospects when you can get them to come to you?”  Unfavorable economic conditions have been difficult for all of us – so if somebody has a way to make prospects come chasing after me, I’m in. Ann Marie Sabath is the founder of At Ease Inc., a 24-year-old firm that specializes in business etiquette programs. Since 1987, Sabath and her staff have trained more than 90,000 professionals on how to achieve a competitive advantage. In her book, Courting Business: 101 Ways for Accelerating Business Relationships, Sabath offers advice on how to acquire prospects, maintain clients, outshine competitors, and increase your likeability factor.

Filled with a great deal of practical advice, Sabath touches upon all the aspects of the business world. From the secret to getting your ideas accepted, to how to dress, and even to effective time management skills, she guides us towards success in all of our endeavors. These tips address the little things we can do in our everyday interactions that will make the most favorable impact.

Sabath defines courting business as “the process of identifying your target market and getting prospects to want to do business with you”. She does not give a systematic list of things we must do in order to obtain business prospects; rather, she emphasizes the fact that this is a process, and identifies and explains series of actions and changes that will bring about results. I am fond of Sabath’s writing style because she keeps it very simple and organizes her book so that readers can start at any point and easily navigate through. She incorporates her personal experiences to illustrate how she practices what she preaches, and even provides exercises to gauge how effectively a person is currently mastering the “art of courting.”

You might wonder, what specifically does she suggest? Well, for starters, she lives by the “ask, don’t tell” principle. She affirms that people will find you interesting, if you are genuinely interested in them. Here, listening is the key to building respectful, long-lasting relationships. If you do not already live by this rule, do so! By putting in a little extra effort to finding out more about people, it will open up your eyes and mind to so much more.

Another noteworthy point is that patience is a virtue. After all, it takes on average six months to acquire new business. Sabath states that “prospects need to see something seven times before they react to it,” that is right—seven times! Therefore, you must keep your name in front of them. She suggests a multitude of ways to accomplish this, for instance, sending monthly emails, writing thank-you notes, hosting events, and many more.

Throughout this book, Sabath writes in a tone that empowers her readers. Her optimistic, yet realistic, views on conducting business remind us that anything is possible as long as we have the mindset and drive to accomplish it. She gives all the tools necessary for a proper “attitude adjustment” – words to eliminate from and add to our vocabulary, how to analyze and push forward from a setback, and so forth. The most important things to comprehend are that “no” does not indicate termination, and there are no such thing as failures, only learning opportunities.

These are just a few of the many tips Sabath includes in her book. I highly recommend reading this, as well as her other works, to every professional. Regardless of your level of responsibility, this book is paramount to strengthening your business relationships. If you correctly court business, you are on your way to enriching not only your relationships, but yourself as well.

Other books by Ann Marie Sabath:

  • Business Etiquette In Brief: The Competitive Edge for Today’s Professional
  • Business Etiquette: 101 Ways To Conduct Business With Charm & Savvy
  • International Business Etiquette: Europe
  • International Business Etiquette: Asia & the Pacific Rim
  • International Business Etiquette: Latin America
  • One Minute Manners: Quick Solutions to the Most Awkward Situations
    You’ll Ever Face at Work
  • Beyond Business Casual: What To Wear To Work If You Want To Get Ahead

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