by Sarah Valentini, principal/president
In my New Year’s blog from January, I wrote about a thank you note I received from a couple moving into their first home, and how deeply it affected me and my view of the career path I have chosen. This simple expression of gratitude from a client not only made my day, but it changed my perspective as I reflected on 2013, and really my entire professional life. Talk about a powerful act!
We all have the power to affect people’s lives by taking an extra moment to let them know how much we value them. In a business built on reputations and referrals, what could be more important?
Below are four great tips from Entrepreneur.com about how to use the incredible power of a “thank you.” I hope you take a minute to read them, and more importantly, to say “thank you” today to someone in your life. You’ll be surprised how much it might mean to them.
- Be specific in your thanks. It’s one thing to say, “I appreciate what you did today. Thanks a lot.” That’s a soap-bubble comment. Pretty while it lasts, but gone in seconds. It’s general and vague. When you thank them for something specific, that’s Velcro. That’s a thanks they remember because it sticks. You hook your gratitude to something the employee did. For instance, an employee just handled a difficult phone call with a customer really well. Thank them for that specific activity.
- Appreciate the process. Target your appreciation on what the employee or vendor did. Let’s go back to the worker who took the phone call. Avoid telling the employee, “Thanks for helping me keep that customer.” That’s just an outcome that benefits you. Say, “I like how you hung in there when that customer was being difficult. You were really patient and respectful.” The same type of strategy goes for vendors. Give thanks for doing something that was an extra-mile effort for them, recognizing the above-and-beyond work.
- It’s about them, not you. Showing that you know something about them, and that you’re able to place yourself in their shoes, is incredibly valuable. Connect your gift-giving with life beyond the business walls. If a vendor became a grandpa, give him a copy of “Goodnight, Moon” to read to the little one. If an employee’s mother died of breast cancer this year, make an end-of -the-year donation to Race for the Cure in her name. Such intimacy breaks the relationship ice in a transformational, not just transactional, direction which is the game-changing pathway to greater profits.
- Go old school with your thanks. In this pixelated world of emails and texts, Facebook and Twitter, the simple and quick act of writing a handwritten expression of gratitude can go a long way. There’s something special today about a handwritten note. I keep a stack of cards and envelopes with me to write thank you notes on a flight when returning from a workshop or coaching session. It takes about three minutes per card. You create return business when you take pen in hand and write, “Thank you,” to your customers. Just say, “I know you could do business with others, but you chose us. Thank you! We treasure our relationship.”