This past week, I heard something that shocked me, and I am not easily shocked anymore. One of my networking partners stated in a networking meeting that she had added a major client through a referral from a person within the client’s staff. She rewarded the referring person by taking him to lunch, but her company’s owner did not see any need for the reward.
Appreciation Marketing is the practice of showing your appreciation for your clients, prospects, and those who assist you in gaining new business or retaining current clients. Rewarding those who assist you in improving your bottom line is only one aspect of showing that you appreciate their efforts, especially those who give you something that you may not have ever before obtained.
She added that her owner said that none of the vendors with which he does business had ever taken him to lunch. I wondered if they had ever rewarded him in some other manner, giving him referrals, discounts, free supplies, etc. I stated that perhaps he should shop his purchases around for someone who might give him a better deal or just make him feel more appreciated.
I do not advocate shopping your business to whoever gives you the better price or rewards your business with lunch or something similar. I always encourage business owners to use vendors that have a valid product or service for a valid price, vendors that will be around if there is a problem, vendors who fix errors swiftly, and vendors who always “do the right thing”.
Vendors who never thank you or show appreciation for your business will not flourish and will fall by the wayside. You want to be noticed or thanked for your business and believe that you are not just a number.
Taking a referral source to lunch is not something that you may do for everyone, but this was a very major client who is valuable not only for their business but having them as a client will influence other prospects. For a lesser new client, you may just send the referral source a thank you card, perhaps with a retail gift card included.
In addition, you should make new clients themselves feel like you care about them when you first sign them. Also, try showing your appreciation for your prospects before they get to be clients, since they should be your networking partners.
Use you imagination, think outside of the box, and show your appreciation to your clients, prospects, and referral sources. They will feel special and believe that you care as much about them as you want them to care about you. That will result in more and more business for you, both new and continued.
Work smarter not harder in your marketing. Having unpaid marketing representatives telling others what a great business, and business practices, you have is a way to increase your bottom line, at a small price to you. Think about how you would feel about someone who appreciated you for your referral and apply that philosophy to the way you do business.
Do you think outside the box, and use your imagination? If so, why not leave a comment about how you do that. That way you share those ideas with everyone. If you want, call me at 360-314-8691, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com. I can share some of your ideas in future postings. Thanks for your support and for your networking partnerships.