The Giving Season
I can feel the season changing. The air is finally getting colder, the trees are almost bare, the leaves are crunching beneath my feet as I take my morning walk and as I walked into Whole Foods the other day a giant inflatable snow globe was being set up. You know what that means. The holiday season is here, the season of giving. We give thanks, give gifts and give people way too much to eat.
This is the season when we get flooded with gifts from clients. We can’t possibly eat all the candy, cookies, nuts and pies that are arriving at our offices between Halloween and New Year’s Eve.
Think about that before you decide to show your gratitude to your clients this time of year. We all want to express our gratitude. But will your message get lost in the piles of gifts and cards being received this time of year?
I do believe that expressing gratitude will help your company grow. It builds relationships, opens the door to more business and referrals, so it is a must. (As long as it is authentic.)
I want you to be gracious and standout. There are plenty of ways to do that, but I’ll share 5 that are easy to do and can be done throughout the year.
Be Gracious and Stand Out
1. Send a Hand-Written Note
Don’t you love it when you go to the mailbox and there is a letter, hand addressed to you with a real stamp on it? You know it’s not a bill and you can’t wait to open it.
At Sales 3.0, Steve Pacinelli, CMO, BombBomb, told a story about his dad and showed us the way his dad always signed notes to him. His signature was fun, unique and you could really see his father’s personality come through. Then, he showed us his father’s email signature which was simply, “Dad” and resulted in transmitting zero emotion.
My point, your signature conveys something about you. It is more personal. Hand-written notes are so uncommon in this era of technology but are still very appreciated and give people a peek into our personality which strengthens relationships.
You can send a thoughtful hand-written note any time of the year and it will cost between $2 and $5 if you buy a nice card, plus 5 minutes of your time to write it. I purchase local cards with photos of beautiful and seasonal Nevada scenery on them, write a personal note in each and send them off. I try to send one a day. I do it all year long and send them to clients, past clients, prospects and people I meet online and at conferences.
Will you commit to writing one card a day?
2. Send a Great Read
What books have you read this year that had a huge impact on you and your business? Give them as gifts to your clients! People are surprised and delighted to receive a book. Sending books to your clients shows you know what they would be interested in and offers them something that will be helpful and offer new insights. Sending a book also provides another reason to talk to a customer or prospect. An opportunity to have a conversation about the book is a non-sales conversation that strengthens your relationship and offers opportunities for everyone to learn.
To make this even more special, personalize each book by writing a note in the front stating what you enjoyed about the book and signing your name. I’ve been known to mark a few pages with a post-it notes. Sometimes, I know the author and get the books signed by the author before I send.
Here are a few of the books I’ve given as gifts this year:
- When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel Pink
- Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message so Customers will Listen by Donald Miller
- Traction: Get A Grip On Your Business by Gino Wickman
- Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine by Mike Michalowicz
3. Send a Referrals
We all love getting referrals, it’s the nicest gift of all.
Did you know that “Business to business companies who get referrals have a 70% higher conversion rate, and they report a 69% faster close time on sales? (Extole).
It may not be possible to refer all your clients or do it all the time. But, just think, is there any way you can refer people to any of your clients?
Referrals can also be to people who can provide resources or if they are looking for candidates you can refer someone great.
How can you provide referrals?
4. Call and Say Thank You
No one wants to pick up the phone for another cold call or listen to an endless sea of voicemails from people they don’t know. What an interruption.
But how about receiving a call or voicemail that is nothing other than compliments and thanks. I don’t know about you, but I like that kind of interruption.
This takes nothing but a little prep and 5 minutes of your time and theirs. Make a list of prospects, customers, vendors, teammates, and others you’d like to thank. Make one call a day.
I like to plan what I’m going to say then pick up the phone and call.
“Hi Jane, I called today to say thank you for your business. We appreciate you and how easy your team is to work with. Please don’t hesitate to let us know if there is anything we can do to make our work together even better.”
If you reach their voicemail you are ready and can leave a heartfelt message. If you reach the person, say what you planned and wish them a good day and say goodbye. You’ll be surprised though at the conversations that ensue because you called to say thank you.
How many calls will you make this week? Try it and let me know how it works.
5. Give a Social Shout Out
There are so many fun ways to say thank you by using social media.
- Create a post and tag your clients and their company
- Film a quick video saying how much you appreciate them
- Make a nice graphic and post it
- Take a photo with them and post it
A public display of gratitude not only shows your appreciation, it boosts their brand.
In conclusion, there are so many ways to show gratitude and so many days of the year to do it, don’t wait until the holidays. STOP having your show of thanks buried in the pile of gifts and cards being received this time of year. Find fun ways to say thank you and standout. This will help you grow closer to your customers and prospects and grow your business.
What’s your favorite way to say thank you to your clients? Leave a comment below!
Alice Heiman Founder and CSO at Alice Heiman, LLC,
Alice Heiman has been helping companies increase sales for more than 20 years. Her innovative sales leadership programs, coupled with her top-down approach to creating long-term change, set up sales leaders and sales-managing business owners to get consistent and sustainable growth.