Good salespeople strive to be in front of customers as often as possible. When we think about it, our clients and prospects give us many opportunities to stay in their minds in positive and non-threatening ways. Yet, we very often overlook these opportunities.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to stay in touch is with the power of the personal note. In research I’ve conducted in my consulting, I ask the question, “How many of you send out personal notes to people?” I also ask, “How many of you receive personal notes from clients or business associates?” The response indicates that few people take this practice seriously. As a follow up, I ask, “Has anyone received notes of appreciation, and how does that make you feel?” I trust you know the answer to this last question.
Here are eight opportunities to send a “thank you,” and when and how to do it effectively:
1. When customers do business with you, every time. Write a short, personalized “thank you” on an interesting card, letterhead, or even a postcard that says, “I appreciate your business, thank you.” You can never say thank you to someone too many times. We all appreciate the fact that people go out of their way to make us feel important and recognized.
2. When they compliment you. When a client compliments you about something, it’s an opportunity to jot off a little note of thanks, saying, “Thank you for taking the time for making my day. I appreciate it.” Compliments are given so rarely, so take the lead to say thank you when you get one.
3. When clients offer comments or suggestions. It’s a wonderful gift when your clients give you a suggestion or comment on how you might do something better or different. They’re also giving you an incredible buying signal. They might really be saying, “If you make that change, your product or service will be more attractive to me.” Here’s how to start this type of note: “Thank you for your suggestion on how I can better serve you. I’m in business to do exactly that. And you make my job easier and so much more enjoyable when you provide input.”
4. When customers try something you recommended. When clients buy into something new, solely based on your suggestion, they’re going out of their “comfort zone”. They’re putting trust in you and your product. This calls for a special note that could read, “Thank you for your trust in me. I value your business.”
5. When customers recommend you. This is the best form of advertising you can ever get. It’s so easy to take the time and go back to our advocate, and say, “thank you for referring me to —–. I will keep you posted and informed on what develops. It means a great deal to me to know that you’re willing to recommend me. I appreciate it.” This type of “thank you” might include a small gift as well.
6. When customers are patient, or not so patient. Our clients help us when they give us time to learn how to best serve them. Often this requires their patience. On the other hand, they give us a “wake up call” when they ask us to hurry up. When this happens they might really be saying, “Hey, remember me? Keep me in mind, or I just might get swept away by the competition.” In either case, pull out a notecard again, and let them know how important they are to you. Perhaps say, “Thanks for keeping me on my toes. I appreciate how you help me keep your business.”
7. When clients say “no” to you. You’ve just pitched an account and you didn’t get their business, this time. It’s still the an opportunity to write a short note. Thank them for their time, their consideration and their honesty. Keep the door opened by being friendly and courteous. Research I conducted in the last four years shows that almost 20% of my business comes from prospects that said no the first time. People remembered the notes I sent and it made a difference. Such a difference that I got referrals, even from contacts who were not able to use my services themselves.
8. When customers make you smile. I have one client who e-mails me jokes all the time. Another one will call up and just give me some good news. Whatever it is, it makes me smile, and I want clients to know that they’ve made me feel good. I’ll send them a note with one of those little smile faces stickers. This technique always gets noticed and remembered.
Finally, here’s my bonus note to you:
Thanks for taking the time to read my article. I know that you’re busy. As a “thank you” gift, I want to share what I call my “Power of Three”.
Every day take 15 minutes at the beginning or end of the day and write three short goodwill notes: one to a prospect, one to a client and one to a friend. Just say hi, send an article, or say thanks and make it specific. When you do this, at the end of the week you’ll have made 15 “goodwill” contacts, and at the end of the year, 750. Think of the “business seeds” you’ll have planted. Some of this could germinate into additional business. And if you like this article, drop me a note.