A few weeks ago, I needed to get my carpets cleaned ... it was long overdue. Family was coming into town for the holidays and my house was officially being converted to Hotel Vastola. I realized that I was procrastinating getting this marked off my to-do list -- as I often do -- mainly because I didn't know of a local carpet cleaning company in town I could trust or who would give a fair price for the service, especially since it was so last-minute.

As I have done successfully for other referrals, I posted my search on Facebook, asking my local friends if they knew of a carpet cleaning company they would refer. Within minutes I had seven responses to my post.

The first response to my post was from a friend who raved about a locally-owned business. She was so enthusiastic about the company; it was like she was being paid to promote them. I called the company, spoke with the most pleasant woman who guided me through the best options based on what I needed, educated me about the different types of services and quickly booked my appointment in a timeslot convenient to my schedule.

About an hour before my scheduled appointment, I received a call from the man who was coming to clean my carpets. He said he had finished an appointment early and, if I'd like, and if it was convenient for me, he could start earlier than my scheduled time. From the time he arrived, the man was cordial, polite, respectful of my home and he even stopped halfway through one room because I just put my nine-month old down for a nap and he didn't want to wake him.

After I paid the invoice and he explained how to care for the cleaned carpet, he went out to his van and returned with a dozen roses. He handed me the roses and told me that it was just their way to thank me for my business and that they look forward to working with me again. Initially, I was a bit put-off. A dozen roses ... my husband rarely brings me flowers (and I'm ok with that) but the carpet-cleaning man does? But I immediately became a loyal customer; I felt special, like they really, genuinely appreciated my business. So simple: a dozen roses. Guess what I did next? I signed into Facebook, posted glowing praise about the company, spoke of my experience and gloated about the dozen roses. I subsequently had three people ask me for the company's information.

So what does my carpet cleaning experience have to do with your training business? More than you might realize. After putting my gorgeous roses in a vase, my mind started racing with ways I can show appreciation to my clients. How can I give that "wow" moment to new clients? How can I make my most loyal clients want to voluntarily sing praises of my company without being asked?

I challenge you to take some time to reflect on your business and how you are showing your new and current clients how much you appreciate them. What is their experience with you from the moment you answer the phone? How would your clients respond to a simple, but impactful gesture of appreciation? How many friends would they tell if you really wowed them? How can you get creative and separate yourself from your competition? Try partnering with a local flower shop, spa or restaurant so it's a win-win for each of you and neither is making a significant investment in marketing to target clients.

Facebook and a dozen roses. Show your clients you care and witness your business take-off!