Guest Article by Brent Allan
We try to teach our children manners. “Please” and “Thank you” are magic words that we try to instill into them over and over again when they are young, in the hopes that it will become a habit when they are adults, and they can function in a socially acceptable way.
Yet when it comes to business, we seem to forget our manners. Transacting business becomes more like, “What can you do for me?”
Because business today seems to transcend common manners, exhibiting such manners can go a long way and truly make you stand out from competitors.
When I do business with someone, or just meet them at a networking event, on very rare occasions they will send me a quick e-mail saying thank you. However, when I am trying to thank them, I prefer to actually send a physical card in the mail, thanking that person for their business or the opportunity to meet with them for coffee.
Such a simple gesture is tremendous in making that person feel appreciated, and they do not feel like you are just trying to get a sale. I will often have people call me personally just to thank me for thanking them with a card.
I may not always have access to their mailing address, but finding it is often easier than you may think. Many businesses still list their address on their business card. And if not, then a simple search on the Internet can often get you the address.
In the few cases where I cannot get the address, then an e-mail will suffice in that situation. However, a card is always my preferred method.
Some will argue that cards and postage cost money that they are unable to afford. Simple thank you cards can be bought at any office supply store for around 10 for $10. So, a dollar apiece plus postage allows you to show this prospective client or referral partner that you cared enough to send a physical card. In my opinion, the good will and positive feelings this generates are well worth it.
One of my favorite things to do is to send a thank you card to a prospect who did NOT do business with me. This blows everyone’s minds when I mention this, but I do this with solid reasoning and logic.
If a prospects tell you they have chosen to do business with someone else, it means one of three situations has or will occur:
They have chosen your competitor and will be very happy with their choice. They are not likely to ever do business with you.
They have chosen your competitor, but will be dissatisfied with either the product or service they receive. It is possible they will be in the market again sometime in the future, at which time you may be able to earn their business.
They have not actually chosen a competitor, but the situation may have changed. Perhaps they need more time to make a decision or are re-evaluating their buying criteria.
In the first case, you send a card thanking them for the opportunity. At the very least, they will feel it was a nice gesture, and possibly wonder why they did not get a thank you card from the company they DID choose to buy from. You just bought $1.50 of good will.
In the second and third scenarios, you may still have an opportunity to earn that business. By sending that Thank You card, you are getting a head start over anyone else who may be given consideration. You have demonstrated that your company cares and goes the extra distance to keep your clients happy. This could possibly put your company name at the top of the list when the time to purchase comes around again.
Whichever situation occurs, two of the three possibilities offer you a chance to still earn the business. It would make sense to play the odds, as you have a 66% chance of still being able to turn this person into a paying customer sometime in the future.
The power of saying thank you is more than just common manners. It is a solid business strategy that has the potential to pay off handsomely in the end, both in good will towards your company and in concrete sales numbers.
—————- Brent Allan is a bestselling author and sought after speaker. His focus is on marketing, branding, and helping your business to Stand Out in a crowded marketplace. More information can be found at http://www.BrentAllan.com, or you can see his weekly show on Youtube at http://www.3MinuteMarketing.info.