“The power of THANK YOU”

At this time of year, we are often reminded of the importance of thankfulness.  But do we understand why it is so important?  The fact is that feeling and expressing thanks can profoundly affect our lives spiritually, personally and in our business.

  • Spiritual– For many people, there is a spiritual reason for giving thanks.  The primary purpose being to thank the Creator for all that we have in this world.  The Bible says “in everything give thanks” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).  The simple act of saying ‘grace’ before a meal is the most common demonstration of this.
  • Personal– Giving thanks not only makes us feel good personally, but it is also seen by many as a way to open our heart and mind to the opportunities that present themselves.  If you are in a thankful state of mind, it is hard to be jealous or angry or self-absorbed.  Not only is a thankful person more open to the possibilities, but they also have a more positive attitude, which makes them more attractive to other people and actually leads to more opportunities.  The opposite happens if they are negative or focus on what they don’t have in life.  By focusing on appreciation of what we do have, we actually get more things to appreciate!
  • Business– What does giving thanks have to do with business?  A lot more than you might imagine…

Do you sell?  Notice, I did not ask if you are a sales person.  You may not define yourself as a sales person, but if you are in business, you are in ‘sales.’  As business people, we do presentations, we network, and we continually sell ourselves and our business…and our attitude shows through in all we do.  In fact, only 7% of our influence with people is based on our words.  55% of our influence is who we are, how we conduct ourselves, and what our attitude is.  The most successful business people are those who have an ‘attitude of gratitude.’

Do you spend money on marketing/advertising?  As a business, it is important to ‘get the word out,’ but how you do that can make a big difference.  Consider Joe Girard, a former car salesman who is in the Guinness Book of World Records multiple times for selling the most automobiles.  His marketing budget consisted of sending a greeting card to every person he knew every month of the year.  A seasonal greeting and the words “I like you” were usually the message inside the card.  He NEVER told them about any big sales event or tried to entice them to come in to buy a car.  When people received Joe’s greeting card, they did not see it as an advertising piece of mail.  They felt Joe appreciated them.  And when it came time to buy a car or to refer a friend to buy a car, Joe’s name always came up.  In the words of SendOutCards founder Kody Bateman, “Appreciation beats self-promotion every time.”

Do you like to keep the customers you already have?  Customer loyalty primarily comes down to three things, and they all have to do with appreciation:

  1. The customer experience.  This is what takes place when the customer is at your place of business or actually doing a transaction with your business.  What is the experience like?  If a customer comes to you and your place of business is dirty, the customer thinks that you don’t care enough about them to keep your place clean (in other words, you don’t appreciate them).
  2.  The customer community.  This has to do with what you do beyond whatever your business is.  What do you do for your ‘community of customers’?  If you are a small town store, you might support the youth sports team.  Or perhaps you have a loyalty rewards program that your customers can participate in.  When you give something back to your community of customers or to the community in which most of your customers live, you are, in effect, showing your appreciation for them as a whole.
  3.  The customer communication.  While customer community looks at a group of customers, the idea of customer communication is to show appreciation to an individual customer.  This can happen face-to-face, but an additional way is to actually send the customer a communication – in other words, write a thank you note. Depending on your business, this can be right after a sale or at specific times of the year. But whenever you do it, it is crucial to make it sincere.  In her book, Thank You Power, Deborah Norville talks about an experiment where one group of customers was sent a thank you; a second group was sent a thank you and a 20% off coupon; and a third group was sent nothing.  There was actually more repeat business from the first group (those who received just the thank you note and no coupon) than either of the other two groups.  The reason is simple; the coupon offer was seen as an insincere thank you- they just wanted to sell them more stuff.

That final point cannot be overemphasized.  While showing appreciation is a key to success, the real power of THANK YOU comes from being sincere about it.  You have to approach it with no expectation of getting anything in return.  If you can do that, the power of THANK YOU can have dramatic positive effects on your life and your business.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”  –Melody Beattie

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