You may have heard people imploring that if you don’t ask you don’t get. And the opposite. People philosophising that giving should always be done without expectation of return.
Well, I can understand both viewpoints. It’s joyous to give regardless of whether or not we receive anything in return.
And that’s the key in my humble opinion. You cannot lose. It feels good.
But a fraction of me believes you occasionally need to ask. That’s because it is sometimes selfish rather than selfless to deny others the opportunity to give.
Not sure? Imagine being given a wonderful gift. And to return the compliment, you bought them a gift which was refused. How do you feel?
Let’s get quickly back to that joyous, excited feeling when you are giving. And think of the times people have asked for your help and you’ve been pleased to be able to bring your own skills, talent and even love to alleviate their situation.
How did that feel?
In this tip, we’re going to explore 6 gratitude habits which will almost certainly contribute to you receiving, but even on the occasions they don’t, you can bask in a warm glow of well-being.
I make no apology that we’ve covered some of this ground before. It should be repeated and emphasised, because if you do want the best type of business, recommended prospects, you’ll do very well by creating these habits.
Why exactly? Because recommended clients have fewer objections, rarely question your price, and say “yes” far more readily.
And gratitude helps form the most solid environment for word of mouth to happen.
That’s quite simply because gratitude is expressed far less often or sincerely than we may think. So, it is so rare as to be conspicuous when it is done correctly.
It gets people talking about you and wanting to return the compliment by recommending.
1. Involve Everyone In The Act Of Gratitude
Train yourself and your people. Not to robotically and insincerely say thank you. I mean educate them on the value of your clients. Promote gratitude and what it means. Did you feel anything when I used the analogies above? Create your own. And share it with your people.
Put yourself and true feeling into your gratitude. But don’t expect everyone to get it right all the time. So introduce it into everything you do that can be expressed correctly every time. In other words, in writing too. On your email signatures. In your standard letters. In your documentation – order acknowledgements, invoices, contracts even. On your website – have an outstanding thank you page.
If people are subscribing to a newsletter or placing an order, make a splash! Get the whole team together for a photograph. Ask them all to smile and put their thumbs up to the camera and make it central to your thank-you page.
Next to it – say in big bold words – “Thank You! From the hearts of all of our team – you’re a true superstar!”
2. Make That Commitment Personally
Open a document. Copy and paste these words. Make the font very large. Print it out and put it on your desk somewhere prominent.
Our Clients Help Me Eat – Thank Them At Every Opportunity
3. Scared Of Asking For Referrals Even Once? Well, Ask Twice – It’s All In The Context
It’s Friday afternoon and you’re speaking to a client. You’ve already decided to ask for testimonials and referrals. Your client is tired – they’ve told you so – but you’re now dealing with that fear of asking.
Quite simply don’t! There’s a time and a place. Do it when it makes sense.
If you’ve done a client survey and have a stack of positive answers and testimonials even, this is the opposite situation – it feels right to ask now.
It’s almost rude not to ask, because you are denying an opportunity for reciprocation that people like to experience. Ask twice. Ask regularly. But don’t overdo it.
4. Don’t Wait For Gratitude Opportunities – Be Proactive
Word of mouth happens when you do something memorable, unexpected or both. Look for example for anniversaries from your invoice records. When was each client’s first order? A clue: the date of the first invoice.
That creates 1 year, 2 year etc anniversaries.
Send a “thank you” email. Or a gift. Such a gesture is memorable. It creates a willingness to reciprocate. Other instances include when a client refers you. Or following their first order.
Read the full article on surprising clients for more detail and links to gift providing services.
5. In Your E-Newsletter
Publicly thank them. But go a step further and promote your clients too. Tell your readers what’s great about your clients.
Or produce a “thank you” list of all the clients that referred you since the last edition. Again, say something nice and personal about each of them individually. Link to their website in your article.
And publish it as a page on your website or in your blog.
Making public how much you appreciate referrals is a very indirect way of saying you welcome it. And those who feel as though they could recommend but haven’t considered it before will now know.
It will plant a seed that will germinate next time a situation where they meet a potential client that expresses a need for the service or product you provide.
Or it may even do that immediately – they think of somebody there and then that could use you.
6. On The Telephone – But With Sincerity
Don’t just dash off a half-hearted script and email it to everyone and ask them to read it out. This has to be sincere. It has to be in the words of the people expressing gratitude.
Some will be better than others naturally. But you can at least put some thought into it and give them guidance.
Brainstorm how everyone can say thanks more. Maybe even produce a list of characteristics of the thank you message:
1) Is it the first time they’ve ordered? Tell them how excited you are to be dealing with them. Read out your customer care promises so they are aware of how keen you are to make them feel good.
2) Has it been a while since they ordered? Say so – tell them that you’ve missed them and that you are so pleased that they are ordering again.
3) Alternatively, is this one of numerous orders they have placed? Tell them they really are one of your best customers and they’re extra special to you, so if they are ever in any way dissatisfied or feel as though anything is not as good as it can be to let you know.
It’s Not Only About Word Of Mouth
The focus of these tips is all about word of mouth and generating more referred business.
Some of it we can prompt. But much of it is unprompted and spontaneous. One thing is for certain though, spontaneous or solicited referrals have a a foundation based on how your clients feel.
If they feel you care, you are 95% of the way there. You can have a great product, always deliver, but if they don’t think you care, they may not trust you to maintain it.
So even though we are focused on word of mouth and repeat business, what you are also doing is:
1) Generating new and repeat business that may not have happened without you thanking and appreciating not just in the course of serving them, but doing so proactively and unexpectedly outside of transactional communications.
2) Keeping your clients. And in particular, building their loyalty.
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