To all the marketers, salespeople, corporations, SPAMers, advertisers, and vendors who contacted me this week I say to you now:
THANKS FOR NOTHING!
Actually, I should say, “No thank you!” for clogging my inbox with junk mail, SPAM, worthless advertising, and phony thank-you letters.
But what I really want to say is, “You failed!” All that you’ve accomplished is that you pissed us off, turned us off, and devalued yourself in our eyes. In summary, in your attempt to use a turkey as a disguise to catch our attention, you’ve become the turkey!
You said you wanted to thank us. You didn’t actually do that. Instead, you offered us a discount if we would just spend more money. It’s either Thanksgiving or it’s Black Friday. Take your pick. Don’t pretend you’re grateful if all you really want is for me to buy something. I’m not interested in arguing about what the real purpose of Thanksgiving. Our society moved away from that decades ago.
Thanksgiving, for most, has become a time for giving thanks. A time for spending time with friends and family. A time for eating turkey and a time for sharing a meal with the people you love the most. Absent its controversial roots and purpose, Thanksgiving is a beautiful thing.
So, please, don’t spoil the beauty with your half-hearted, desperate attempts at getting into our wallets.
To the rest of you, to my friends, to my colleagues, to my readers, I say, Don’t be a turkey! Be grateful. Be real. Be authentic. And, use my tips below to get out there and truly say thanks to your customers.
(Note: these are great tips you can use any time of year. In fact, your customers will appreciate your genuine gratitude even more on a random day in August.)
Seven Genuine Ways to Thank Your Customers:
1. Show up in person – Nothing says you care like being there. Gifts of your time are the most precious.
2. Call them – If you can’t go, call. Reach out and thank them from your heart.
3. Write them a note – A well-crafted, hand-written personal note works wonders. In a world of electronic communication, your note will stand out. If your note is any good, they’ll save it, they’ll hang it up, and they’ll show their friends and colleagues. Use great paper, write the note yourself, and address the envelope yourself.
4. Take them to a ballgame, an event, or a seminar – Don’t send them tickets. Go with them. Create a memory together. People will forget who paid, but they’ll never forget who they sat with. Sporting events, concerts, art shows…whatever. They’re all a great way to build and further the relationship. Extra credit for taking your customer to a business seminar that provides new ideas, inspiration, and information that helps your customer to solve a problem, to think about their business in new ways, or to make more money.
5. Buy them dinner – It’s an oldie but a goodie. People like to eat. And, they love to eat well. Take them somewhere they wouldn’t take themselves but where they’d love to go. Be careful that your customer is not uncomfortable in any way. Make it clear that you’re treating and that you’re celebrating your business relationship. Have a drink, but don’t get drunk. You want them to remember the time together…and, you want to have a meaningful conversation that may just happen to unlock additional opportunities.
6. Do something on behalf of your customer – Something that your customer would appreciate – Volunteer to work at their favorite charity event, put
your boots on and work in their business for a day, sponsor their kid’s soccer team, or help them with some sort of manual labor or clean-up. Those are just a few to get you thinking.
7. Give thanks without expectation – Don’t ask for any additional business. There will always time for that later. Instead, focus on making your customer feel your gratitude. Make them understand that you care. Big hint: This one is the most important.
My list is just a start. The most meaningful (and most memorable) ways to say thanks are the ones that are the most personal to you and most personalized for your customers. Use your creativity, use your intimate knowledge of your customers’ likes and passions, use your resources, use your value, and use your heart.
Above all, don’t be a turkey – or you’ll get gobbled-up by your competition.