Never underestimate the power of a thank you. Recently, I thanked someone for helping me solve a technical problem. She replied to my note of thanks by inviting me as a guest speaker for a group she chairs. I didn’t even know she chaired this group and had never considered speaking there. This speaking opportunity would never have occurred if I hadn’t taken a moment to say thanks. It started me thinking about how often saying thank you turns into paying business.
Here in the U.S., it’s Thanksgiving month, when we often pause to reflect on our gratitude. So it’s an excellent time to consider seven ways of saying thank you that can bring you more clients.
1. Thank those who refer clients. When you thank people for sending referrals your way, several positive results ensue. Being thanked encourages them to send more referrals, as they know you appreciate them. Expressing thanks gives you a reason to get in touch with them, find out what they are up to, and let them know what you’re doing these days, which is always good for business. It also shows them that you are a professional who follows up and follows through.
2. Thank those who refer prospects who never become clients. Referrals that don’t result in business may seem as if they don’t warrant thanks. But it’s essential that you thank people every time they refer. When a referral doesn’t turn into a client because he or she chooses someone else, the two of you aren’t a good fit, or you’re too busy, the prospect frequently tells the referrer that “it didn’t work out.” As a result, that referrer is unlikely to send you any more business.
Instead, say thanks for every prospect, no matter what happens. It you end up not working with that person, tell the referrer why. If the referral wasn’t on target for your business, say more about who would be a good client for you. If you’re too busy, explain that it’s only temporary and future referrals would be welcome. And if the prospect chose someone else, express thanks for the great opportunity and that you’d appreciate more just like it.
3. Thank your clients. Even when you are interacting with clients daily, taking a moment to thank them for their continued trust will increase their respect for you, boost their loyalty, and encourage them to refer others. Thanking past clients for the work you did together is often a much more powerful and gracious way to stimulate repeat business or new referrals than asking for those outcomes directly.
4. Thank the leaders of groups you belong to. Association officers, program and membership chairs, and special interest group leaders deserve your thanks for the hard work they do. And, these high-profile individuals are often asked to refer someone with a particular specialty for an interview, speaking engagement, or business opportunity. Expressing your thanks gives you a chance to get better acquainted with them so they’ll think of you first.
5. Thank people who mention you in articles, blogs, and social networks. It has happened to me more times than I can count that I have thanked people for mentioning me or my work in an article or Facebook, Twitter, or blog post, and they have replied by asking me to speak for their group, be interviewed for an article, or contribute to their blog. Saying thank you increases the affinity between you and those you thank. It makes them want to find other ways to engage with you.
6. Thank those who provide good service. A lovely way to thank people who serve you and your business is to offer a testimonial they can use in their own marketing. Making your thanks public can result in higher name recognition for you and your business, inbound links to your website or social networking profile, and sometimes even gains you priority service because the recipient of your testimonial wants to keep your goodwill.
7. Thank prominent people who inspire you. Those who generously give of their time to help and inspire others are seldom thanked enough for their efforts. When you go out of your way to give thanks, you’ll stand out and be remembered, adding influential people like these to your personal network.
So many ways to give thanks may suggest that you could spend your whole day thanking people, and that’s not a bad thought. Saying thank you isn’t just a nice thing to do, it’s a practical approach to strengthening relationships, encouraging referrals, staying in touch with your network, and reminding people what your business is about. With thank yous leading to business in so many ways, perhaps they should become a significant part of your marketing strategy.
And by the way, thank you for reading this article, buying my book, and sending referrals my way! I appreciate your trust and look forward to serving you for another year.