Many businesses spend most of their time strategizing about how to make more money by attracting new clients or upselling to current clients. And when they're done, they brainstorm ways to keep more money by getting more for less from their employees, vendors and service providers...
Yet this will only get you so far, particularly in the B2B world where relationships are of the utmost importance. This is why B2B companies are finding better results by taking a different approach.
Instead of always focusing on how to get more from everyone, they also spend time considering how to show thanks for their prospects, clients, employees, vendors and partners. They've learned that showing appreciation can be a valuable relationship marketing and Customer Success strategy, especially when it's done sincerely.
Saying "thank you" is one of the most powerful things you can do as a business. While so much of your day communicates "what we do" as a company, showing appreciation speaks loudly to "who you are" as an organization. And how you are viewed as a company plays a huge role in your success.
If you're ready to make graceful gratitude a part of your marketing, here are 6 places to start:
1. Thank you for your interest.
Your business will encounter people you may not feel inclined to thank. For example, you will regularly receive resumes from job seekers and solicitations from vendors. Even if you're not hiring or buying, it's important to avoid burning bridges. Thank people for their interest in your company and be honest about their chances of engaging with you at this time. Whether on the phone, through an automated email or in person, be sincere and upbeat. These people get so many rude brush-offs ("We're not hiring," "We're not interested") that they will appreciate and remember a fresh approach.
2. Thank you for visiting.
If someone visits your website and fills out a form, make sure they get an immediate thank you email with some valuable information – a link to relevant tips, for example. If someone visits your booth at a trade show, a thank you email or call once you are back in the office – along with any information you may have offered – will go a long way. Make sure to follow up in the timeframe promised, whether it's within 48 hours or by the end of the week.
3. Thank you for your time.
Whenever someone grants you a meeting, they are giving you precious time. A quick "thanks for your time" is not enough. Within a day or two of a prospect giving you a sales meeting or a new colleague meeting you for coffee or lunch, send a handwritten thank you for the time. Since so few people do this, the gesture will be remembered.
4. Thank you for the referral.
Referrals are the greatest gifts you will receive in the course of your business. Treat them – and the people who give them – like gold. We advise clients to send personal thank you notes to anyone who gives them a referral. If the referral turns to business, a small gift of thanks is appropriate – flowers, a gift card, a bottle of wine, for example.
5. Thank you for the great job.
You pay your employees and your vendors and expect them to deliver good work. Taking it one step further, however, does a lot to build goodwill and nurture a long-term relationship. How about an employee recognition award for a shining star on your team, maybe accompanied by a day off or a gift certificate? For your best vendors, a referral or introduction into a new business is always appreciated. Or you could post an endosement on their LinkedIn account or link to their site from yours.
6. Thank you for your business.
Your clients have paid you the highest compliment by buying from you. The best way to thank them is to make them glad they did, by delivering optimum quality and service at every turn. But don't forget to simply say thank you whenever possible, as well. Some natural points of contact for a thank you include when a client signs on with your firm, when you send them a bill, when you close out a project, or during the holidays. Even more powerful is an unexpected thank you – how about a phone call, lunch, or gift when it's least expected, just for being a client? Many companies offer discounts to first-time customers. We are firm believers in special promotions for long-time customers.
Now it's your turn. What are some ways that your company says thank you? Feel free to leave your own relationship marketing tips in the comments!