People like to know they are appreciated. Endless books have been written on the subject. In fact, appreciation can be encapsulated in four distinct categories: words of affirmation, quality time, recognition, and gifting.
A problem in business is that most companies have no system for appreciating clients or prospects. They assume that the random Christmas gift works. Everyone gets the same company-branded “swag.” While a client may appreciate the bottle of wine with your branded label, it blends in with every other bottle they are gifted.
Just as giving gifts and appreciating others is a personal process in your life, it should be a process in your business. It is time to charge a member of your staff or a team within your business development or marketing departments with making it personal.
Ways to appreciate your customers
1. Put it in writing
The “thank you” note is still king. Whether it is to thank a prospect for their time meeting with you or for closing a deal, people want to hear from you.
What if your sales prospects got regular contact from you? What if they received a thank you for opening an email campaign or a video thank you personalized for their birthday?
Words matter. Make an effort to send the written word. Make an effort to send a verbal word. Make an effort to send a visual word. The more ways you send words of affirmation and appreciation, the more ways people will remember how you made them feel.
2. Thank them with time
Just as family members might say it’s the time we spend with them, where we are truly present that creates the most positive memories, intentional time with clients or potential clients is also appreciated.
If you have a busy schedule and are able to attend an event in which your clients or prospects are being celebrated, it shows that their interests matter to you. Work anniversaries and outside awards are opportunities for you to show up and give your time to celebrate a client or prospect.
3. Give them a shout out
Recognition is a powerful tool. We tend to shout out and share the good things our clients have to say about us, but we rarely speak out about how much we appreciate our clients.
What if you took a moment to thank a client of over 10 years? What if you shared a customer’s brand story and why you have enjoyed working with them? What if you thanked them on your blog or social channels, or even in your email marketing?
In addition, sharing the accomplishments of your clients and prospects—awards they earn, local sports teams they sponsor, charities they support and community leadership positions they hold—demonstrates your pride in who they are and how they impact the world. Ultimately, we all want to work with people who are changing the world for the better. Encouraging those in our business community that are truly leading the charge is a powerful gift to give.
4. Showing appreciation with a gift
I met a woman at a networking event who helps brands develop their own unique fragrance. I found the idea so interesting, I decided I had to find out what a brand fragrance for my own business might look like, or should I say, smell like. I ended up developing a fragrance that’s a little clean with a punch of fragrance on the back end of the scent. I also experienced a process that allows me to “tell a story” to anyone receiving one of these gifts on behalf of my company.
Here is also what I learned from this purchase of “swag”: I could brand the item, I could add a motivational message to it, or I could leave it completely unbranded. When I asked the woman about the difference, this was her explanation:
Appreciation shows people that you care
As you charge your team to appreciate others, make sure you consider all the ways, avenues, and techniques you can show people that you care. It is truly in the details that appreciation has the power to impact others.
Appreciation marketing is more than company-branded swag. The type of appreciation you offer and how you package can make a difference.
About the Author
Post by: Liz Papagni
Best-selling author of Your Marketing Road Map, founder of MyCMO, and CEO of Marketing Initiative Worx, Inc., Liz Papagni is a leading brand and marketing thought leader who has worked with a vast array of clients, from established small businesses to Fortune 500 companies. As a marketing and leadership expert with a passion for helping companies develop strategies that convince and convert customers, she has launched and propelled numerous brands nationwide. You can contact Liz at marketingiw.com.
Company: Marketing Initiative Worx
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