November 27, 2011

Appreciation Marketing – Refusing to Get to Know Anyone

What do you know about another person when you first meet them?  Actually you know very little.  You may believe that you know who they are, what they do, and what they may mean to you, but you probably are very wrong.  Very often when people first meet, they need another, more in depth conversation before they actually know who each other really is, what they do in their business, and what they may mean to each other.

However, we go through life, meeting people and judging them based on our first, sparse impression.  We make no effort to really get to know them, hear their story, and decide if they can help us, or if we can help them.  Why do we do this; why are we so prone to prejudge others?  Why are we so narrow minded; why are we so afraid to spend some time with someone that we do not know?

Part of our problem is time.  We don’t believe that we have the time to spend on someone unless they are ready to do business with us.  We believe that our time is better spent if we only meet with people about whom we think that we know everything.  After all, there is just so much time in our lives; we cannot waste any of it talking with anyone that we don’t know, can we?  Quick, reread the second paragraph above.

We attend various networking meetings, business meetings, and other meetings where we meet new people all the time.  We meet new people each and every day of our lives.  Why do we not follow up and meet them again to find out who they really are, what they really do in business, and what they might change in our lives?  Are we attending these various meetings just to look important to others, or because we actually want to develop new relationships?  Maybe we are missing out on some great opportunities.

However, we are pressed for time; our business needs to find new people to add to our customer base.  We cannot waste time talking to anyone who isn’t ready to buy from us, can we?  Well, how can you find new customers unless you listen to people and decide if you can fill their needs?  After all, isn’t listening something that all of us should do, and how can you listen to someone when you do not meet with them?

What do you talk about when you meet with anyone else?  Find out about them, who they are, how they reached this point in their life, and what their business does, along with its philosophy and culture.  Their needs in business and in their life just might give you a point of reference as to how you might be able to assist them.  Therefore, you should ask them what they need.  Selling starts with filling the needs of others; it ends with making the other person believe that you actually care about filling those needs, not just that you can do so.

Think about all those people that you have met during this year, the ones that you did not meet with again after that initial contact.  Then, go back and reread the second paragraph above once again and think about how you should correct those ignored possibilities.  Then just call them and make a date to meet when you both can discuss how you can help each other in a mutually beneficial manner.

It does not matter if you agree or disagree with this philosophy; I still would like to hear your comments.  Either leave you thoughts here, or email me at, or call me at 360-314-8691.  After all, we all learn all the time, from all of those who enter our lives.

November 20, 2011

Appreciation Marketing – Are Thank You Notes for Business Only?

So you want to send thank you notes for business reasons; great, you should do so.  You should send these notes every time that you meet someone and every time that someone does something for you: gives you a referral, invites you to an event, gives you advice, or gives you a gift.  How about for becoming a new customer with your business or continuing to be a customer of yours?  What about for a holiday or birthday gift, or what about inviting you to a holiday party or other event?

Of course the answer to all of the above is affirmative; you should always send thank you notes to anyone who fits into any of the above situations, and even more.  When in doubt, send a note; you should always be known as the person who appreciates others, no matter how small the reason.  Everyone wants to be appreciated and feel like others care about them and their efforts.

What about your personal life?  Let’s say someone invites you to a holiday party, or gives you a holiday gift.  What about the family that invites you to have dinner with them or experience some holiday time with them?  This may not be business; this is personal.  What do you do in return?  How do you show your appreciation and your respect for someone else’s gestures?

We have discussed before that it is impossible to separate your business and personal lives.  What you do in one is reflected in the other; what you do in one is born out of what you do in the other.  Your customers and friends may be the same people; they may become one after they have first been the other.  Therefore, why not apply the principles of your business life to your personal one?  Do the same things for your friends that you do for your business contacts.

The art of the thank you applies to every part of your life, both business and personal.  Tom Hopkins teaches us that you should send a personalized, customized thank you note to everyone that you meet, that does anything for you, and that touches your life in some manner.  Tom teaches us to show appreciation to everyone, no matter who they are.  Everyone wants to be appreciated and wants to be noticed.  Just do it.

What about the politeness and courtesy factors?  Maybe it is time that we brought back those factors to our lives.  When you are polite and courteous, you will be a better person.  You will also spread those factors to others, bringing them to more and more people.  Karma teaches us that when we spread goodness around to others, it will be more evident to all and it will affect everyone, sooner or later.  If it returns to us, it is a result of our efforts towards others.

So as we enter the holiday season, perhaps we should practice some thanksgiving for the other people in our lives, the ones whose actions mean something to us and make our lives better.  Maybe their efforts are minor compared to others, maybe not.  What difference does it make?  They all deserve a simple thank you and a wish for goodness in their lives.  Try giving them a tip of the hat, a thank you for being there for you as you move through life.

So, how do you feel about all this?  Do you agree, or do you think this is all old-school?  Have we passed on from this type of living, or can we take a page from “how it used to be”?  Leave me your thoughts, or email me at, or call me at 360-314-8691, and let’s see if we can agree that Appreciation Marketing is a life practice, not just a business one.

November 13, 2011

Appreciation Marketing – Is It For Large Businesses Only?

This past week, one of my networking partners told me that he didn’t believe that his business was large enough to practice Appreciation Marketing.  In fact he doubted that he was the right size to market his business at all.  We all must market; in fact those of you who are looking for work are marketing the product that you know better than anyone else, yourself.

It is important that everyone understands the difference in marketing and sales.  When you market your business, you make others aware of what product or service that you have available and how it may apply to their situation.  When you sell, you are attempting to get the other person to purchase your product or service.  Marketing leads to sales, but selling may not lead to marketing.

What about the size of your business, or you for that matter?  You must market your business or yourself.  You can have the greatest product or service, or candidate in yourself, but what if no one knows you, what you have, what you do, how to get in touch with you, how to buy from you, or how to employ you?  You will not be successful, nor will you be employed.

How do you market?  You get out into the public and meet people, telling everyone that you meet who you are, what you do, and what you have for others.  Listen to them and what they need; do not try to sell to them.  Let them know that you and your product or service exist and is available and how to get in touch with you.  Then get started with appreciating the people that you have met.

It takes 10 times as much money and effort to get a new customer as it does to keep a current one.  What if you do not have any current customers or want more than you have?  The same philosophy applies in both cases.  Show your current customers that you care about their business and appreciate them as customers, as valued human beings.  Your reputation will be enhanced by your actions, and prospects will know that you appreciate your customers.

Your current customers will tell others that you care about your clients.  You will be known as someone who builds relationships, not as some who just writes orders.  Your customers will refer business to you and be your unpaid advocates to others who may become customers.  You then work to make your new customers as happy and appreciated as the referring ones.  Then show your appreciation for the referrals.

Is this process only for large companies?  Of course not, it is perfect for all companies.  Whether you are building your business, or marketing yourself for a new career, you want others telling everyone how great you are and how great it is to know you, as well as to do business with you.  If you still doubt this theory, why not try it and see what it can do for you?  Market yourself and your business, showing appreciation for others.

Have you ever tried Appreciation Marketing?  If not, why not get in touch and let’s talk about how it can apply to every size of company or even to an individual? Leave me your comments, or email me at, or call me at 360-314-8691.  Let’s talk and see what Appreciation Marketing can do for everyone.

November 6, 2011

Appreciation Marketing – Make It Personal

This week’s subject is a result of Tom Hopkins’ most recent communication regarding sales and marketing.  If you are not familiar with his ideas, please read “How to Master the Art of Selling”.  It will change your thoughts on sales, marketing, and life.  Remember that your business life affects your personal life, and your personal life affects your business life.

The holiday season is rapidly approaching.  This is the time when we send various greetings to our business, and personal, partners and relationships.  It does not matter what holiday you want to celebrate, or what greeting is appropriate for your intended recipient.  Do you treat this time as one that is enjoyable or do you see it as another work requirement, involving time and effort not expected at any other time of the year?

First, there is not a mandatory requirement that you send holiday cards to anyone, or provide holiday gifts to the level of breaking your budget or checkbook.  I personally prefer that I receive a personal, and sincere, note from people that really care to send something to me.  (I felt the same way about my birthday recently.)  If you are not sincere, or don’t want to be personal in your effort, don’t send me anything.

I have always believed that sincerely saying thank you to someone is more personal and meaningful than dumping an insincere and impersonal note on anyone.  Why send the pre-printed card or an email without any personal salutation to people with whom you have not communicated at any other time during the year?  Shouldn’t you thank them for their business and/or friendship at some other time of the year rather than when it is “expected”?

How about customizing your message and adding a personal touch that means something special to the recipient?  I have always believed that this is better than some generic message, and I always prefer the message that is not “politically correct”.  In addition, a personal salutation goes much further than no such notation or an all encompassing one such as “Our friends at”, “Our customers at”, or “My friends”.  Use their names and try to be personal and creative.

I always like those who think outside the box or are real creative.  Maybe the fact that I like others who are somewhat different means that I am the same.  So what; if you can bring a smile to someone or a pleasant thought about your relationship with another person, then you have sent a meaningful message.  Reach out and touch someone and mean it when you do.

Do you have to send a holiday gift to everyone that you know?  Why not just send them a sincere greeting?  Do you even have to send them a holiday greeting?  Why not contact them when it isn’t expected?  If you want to build a relationship with your networking partners, you should contact them when it is not expected, during the year before the holidays.

Consider sending a Thanksgiving card instead of a Christmas one.  Consider sending a New Years card after New Years Day.  Tell the recipient that was delayed in order to not get lost in the many cards that you know that they will receive.  Consider sending a card to someone “for no reason”, just to tell them that you value their relationship and to brighten their day.

You have choices this holiday season.  You can send a creative, considerate, and customized message to your partners.  Or you can send an impersonal, boring, mundane greeting to someone with whom you have not maintained a real relationship.  Your New Years resolution might be to build relationships with others so that you actually recognize their names when you draw up your holiday list.

Please leave me your thoughts and stories for me to share.  You can email me at, or call me at 360-314-8691.  Build your relationships from mutual respect and caring, not from feeling that you should do something because you are expected to do so.