Do you remember the last time a provider thanked you for being a client? I sure do because the act is so rare, it’s incredibly memorable. I’m not talking about a generic Christmas card, but heartfelt thanks in the form of a personal note. This caring gesture serves as a marketing tactic even without intent and often means more than any gift or automated reply you could envision.
What about a business associate expressing appreciation for a referral or expertise provided without a fee to help solve a challenge they faced? Unbelievably, it almost never happens. In fact, I was shocked last week when I offered an hour to a struggling entrepreneur, on a Sunday no less (at her convenience, not mine), who pulled a no show. Her response to my voice mail message noting I was waiting – ‘I wasn’t feeling well.’ You can’t call me prior to the noon appointment to let me know I can reschedule my day?!! I don’t have a lot of patience – or charity inclinations – for people who don’t respect the value of my time. You shouldn’t either.
Have you connected people that forged lucrative and long-standing alliances? Did they remember to acknowledge your role and send a note of update and thanks? Probably not.
The thank you note works on the personal level too. My nephews always take the time to call or write when gifts are received. It not only makes my day to get the thoughtful and appreciative letters, but also spurs me to put careful thought, time and limited resources into ensuring each item I select for them is special. These kids are being taught an early lesson few still practice. This thoughtful, gracious and appreciative perspective that’s being enforced will serve them well for the rest of their life.
It seems odd to me that people can spend so much time showing strangers appreciation online while they neglect the people who have been instrumental in contributing to their business success or personal well-being. The world is getting weird.
For the savvy, thinking and integrity-rich small business operator, this is good news. You can standout so easily by just being thoughtful and polite. As the rest of the world moves forward thinking a thank you is a waste of time, you can invest very little in being different.
Here are seven easy, no-costs ways you can be memorable with this simple marketing tactic:
- Hand write a thank you note on a card selected specifically for the recipient with an imagine and message that fits (a Dollar Store card and stamp can cost less than $1 – the time you take to craft a heartfelt message is priceless).
- Provide unsolicited testimonials for a vendor, associate, business partner or collaborator that’s contributed to your well-being, education, network or prosperity. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you become a memorable resource with this simple act. Plus it’s just good manners and makes someone who’s been gracious with you feel good.
- Call or e-mail reporters, vendors, clients, associates, partners and referral agents regularly to express how much – and how so – you appreciate what they’ve done for you.
- Recognize people who have contributed to your life in meaningful ways in your blog, newsletter, on your website or through other public communications (online, letters to the editor in newspapers, group gatherings, etc.).
- Refer business to people you’ve met or worked with who are standout providers. This will not only thrill the people you introduce to these contacts, but will also serve as a strong indication of appreciation for the recommended vendor, which could also result in referrals back to you (from both contact and vendor).
- Clip articles, send resources or note important family events (birthdays, sporting accomplishments of kids, favorite professional team congratulations, expressed charity passion news and support, business coverage, prospect leads, etc.) as you see them. Building rapport starts with forging relationships and caring enough to remember personal interests makes you someone more notable than the rest.
- Say thank you. Seems strange, I know, but so few these days express these words and mean it. Simply acknowledging someone’s extra effort to help you can put you miles above the rest.
Think about who has thanked you in the last month. I bet you can remember every one. It’s sad this common courtesy has become so rare these days, but the miss can provide huge opportunities for anyone looking to build relationships and stand out. For virtually no cost, you can present yourself as unusual enough to be memorable. Just make sure you mean it.