Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Simple Thank You Note - Providing Value First

I highly recommend a small book I received as a gift a few years back called, "Say Please, Say Thank You," by Donald McCullough.    From the back cover: "When it seems that civilization is collapsing around us, can we really afford to take the time to worry about old-fashioned courtesy and day-to-day niceties?  The fact is, we can't afford not to.  Because civilization grows out of community . . . and a community is built with one small act of kindness at a time."

As my company just broke out a new box of blank Thank-You Note Cards today, I thought this a good time to reinforce the importance of sending these handwritten gems.

In today's fury of emails, its so easy to simply return from a customer meeting and type out a follow-up email.  At the end of the email we usually type, "Thank You."  As a matter of fact, I must admit, I actually have "Thank You," in my electronic signature.  Unfortunately, rarely is such an email drafted where providing thanks is the only topic.  As with the other hundred emails your customer gets, the message of gratitude is lost.  Here's some things to think about on the topic.  How will you make time in your schedule to write a real, hand-written Thank You Note?

  • Thank You Notes must be handwritten.  The power of the note is in the effort and the thought, not the computer!  Handwritten notes are interpreted differently in the brain then typed text.  Studies by Harold S. Moss in 2009 revealed different areas of the brain being activated in the reading and interpretation of hand-writing versus typed text.
  • Thank You Notes elicit an emotional response.  Have you ever heard your sales manager or your favorite sales guru talk about passion and emotion?  Entire sales methodologies have been developed to create emotion in the sales process.  Emotion drives sales behavior (either for the good or the bad).  What better way to stimulate a positive, emotional experience than such a simple task.
  • Thank You Notes are for thanking - not selling.  Don't be tempted to create a sales argument inside a Thank You Note.  If you attempt even a soft-sell, you risk losing the power of your efforts in simply being courteous, thanking your customer for their time, and demonstrating that you care enough to do this.
  • Thank You Notes provide VALUE FIRST.  I've blogged a lot about providing value first.  Here's another opportunity to show value before they buy anything.  The value is your time and concern.  For many customers, the gift of time and concern is well received.
  • Good times to send a Thank You Note:  1) After your first customer meeting;  2) To new people who join the organization internally/externally;  3) After your customer does something special for you;  4) After you get a Purchase Order;  4) After you've delivered your services/product.
Here's your call to action:  Go get a box of Thank You Notes (either from the store or from your company). When you send your follow-up email, that's your reminder to write a Thank You Note.  It takes six-weeks to develop a habit.  Commit to sending a few notes each week, for six weeks.

You and your customers will benefit.

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