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.

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