An Old Technique Revisited to Grow Sales Today

March 6, 2009

The majority of my business–especially the high-ticket and repeat kind we all so love–comes via referrals. I will bet that the same is true for your business.

The reason: All things being equal, people do business with those they Know, Like and Trust. The next preference is to do business with those that have been recommended by others, they know like and trust.

So the key to generating more sales in business is, very simply, to become known, liked and trusted by your customers or their friends. How do you go about doing this?

The answer can be found in a book that was first published in 1936. (It is amazing how sound fundamentals can so often be overlooked or forgotten) How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie, is one of the first bestselling self-help books ever published. As outlined by Carnegie, one of the most important techniques in getting someone to like you is to show that person honest and sincere appreciation.

As human beings, everyone wants to and needs to be appreciated.  So are you showing your clients and customers that you appreciate them?   We have grown accustomed to expect a “Thank You” at the time of purchase, but when was the last time you received a gift or a “thank you” card from the business you transacted with?  A  heartfelt “Thank You” card not only shows appreciation, it causes mutual appreciation for your company. It strengthens your relationship with your customer and makes them more  eager to return and do business again and most importantly refer their friends.

I will give you another example:

About eight years ago we sold a house and bought a new one. Because of timing, we happened to use two different realtors. The woman that sold our old house sent me her business card after the closing and I never heard from her again.  I don’t remember her name and I don’t remember the name of her company.

The woman who brokered the purchase of our new house was Kathy Day from Prudential. I haven’t seen Kathy in 8 years but I remember her very well. Why do I remember her?

  • She sends me Birthday Cards
  • She sends my wife Birthday cards
  • She sends us Holiday Cards
  • She sent us a Happy Anniversary Card and a gift basket for the One Year Anniversary of our house!
  • She sends new listing and closed sale updates
  • She even sent a card on the fifth anniversary of our purchase

Not only has she showed us honest and sincere appreciation as customers, but she made us feel as part of her family. So if somebody was to say to me “Hey, Jeff, I’m looking to buy or sell a house … Where Should I Go? Who would I recommend? Some woman I don’t even remember or Kathy?

Furthermore, statistics show that it’s cheaper to retain a client than to obtain a new one.  You have already made the investment to get the customers that you have, by showing them appreciation you are protecting that investment.  Sending personalized greeting cards is an inexpensive way to strengthen relationships and by strengthening your relationships with your existing customers and clients you are growing your business by retaining them and encouraging them to give referrals.  Consequently, the effect of sending a personalized card is very potent and profitable.  A verbal thank you or an e-mail to clients is a necessity, but in today’s world of electronic communication, there is nothing more powerful than sending a hand written, personalized and tangible card.

Another interesting point; Carnegie reminds us, “Remember that the person you are talking to is a hundred times more interested in himself than he is in you.” To this point, I have found that sending a card that includes my client’s or customer’s picture or a picture of something important to them, becomes a card that does not get thrown away. To the contrary, that card is hung on a wall or remains on their desk, always reminding them that I appreciate their business.

So you don’t think you have time to send a card?  It’s vital that you make time.  The online system that I use allows you to choose from 13k cards, personalize them with photos, your own hand writing and signature. These are not ecards. When you click send, they print, place your card in an envelope and mail it with a stamp. Best of all, it only costs 62 cents per card.  It will probably take, at the most, 3 minutes to send one card or one hundred cards. This tool also allows you to send gifts like brownies, books, gift cards etc.. along with the card. You can find this tool at http://www.buildrelationshipstoday.com.

Some other ways to show appreciation is to send a “Thank You for Doing Business” card to new clients, or send a card to prospective clients to thank them for taking the time to talk with you.

For one of my clients that owns a construction company, a card is sent when they complete a job with a picture of the final construction.  His sales have increased 352% in the last two months because of return customers and referrals.  Not only is this because of the quality service that he offers, but because he is following up and letting the customer know that their business is appreciated.

As Dale Carnegie told us many years ago, “Three-fourths of the people you will meet tomorrow are hungering and thirsting for appreciation, give it to them and they will love you.” Perhaps more true today than when he said it.

It is very important to have a quality product or service but you also have to have a quality ongoing relationship with your clients and that starts by showing honest and sincere appreciation for them.

Jeff Battiston   www.twitter.com/jbatts

Jeff is Founder and CEO of Global Capital Services, a company that provides financing to businesses and municipalities.

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4 Responses to “An Old Technique Revisited to Grow Sales Today”

  1. Ernie Ferguson Says:

    Thanks Jeff for a timely tip! It’s small gestures that impress people! I still have both staff and customers approach me to this day and recall a small gesture I made as a businessperson and I retired over 18 years ago!

    Ernie F.

  2. Everett Childers Says:

    Jeff,

    In today’s busy, self-centered and go-go world your words are like rubys strewn along our paths in life. Anyone in business needs to realize that all business is a one on one relationship…even via web purchasing.

    Many people today weren’t even born into a gentle world and have never had the pleasure of being genuinely thanked for their business, or even being a good person.

    Everett Childers


  3. […] Previously I discussed how I have been greatly inspired by Dale Carnegie who was quoted in his famous book, How To Win Friends & Influence People, as saying, “You can have everything in life that you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”  I also discussed the principle of “liking” — the idea that people prefer to do business with people they like and, more importantly, who like them. (An Old Technique Revisited to Grow Sales Today) […]

  4. Tuyet Says:

    Good post. I learn something new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon every day.
    It’s always useful to read articles from other writers and use a little something from other sites.


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