Most successful Realtors and lenders will tell you that they get far more business from their sphere of influence than any marketing ploy. You’ll also find that referred clients are more likely close a transaction, have fewer complications and are generally easier to work with than the “online lead”.
With Thanksgiving just days away, let’s talk about the art of saying Thank You.
Taking the time to make your contacts feel appreciated is a beautiful practice and a great way to nurture your best source of business. It should be done with sincerity and without expectation. Small acts of kindness will take you farther than any spammy, animated turkey e-card.
Here are some simple ways you can bring gratitude into your business…
Public Recognition. It’s ok to admit it. We all like to be acknowledged for our hard work. It’s hard not to feel a sense of pride when complimented in front of a group. If you are a manager or have the opportunity to speak at events, skip your sales pitch this week and focus instead on who has helped you come this far. Tell a “save the day” story about a colleague, share something you were taught by another professional or call attention to the hard work of others. If you aren’t in front of groups often, take the conversation online. Write a post that highlights the help you’ve received from someone else and how much it means to you.
Some time ago, a business owner wrote a letter to my parents about my exceptional work. I felt like a blushing child with a good report card on the fridge. Is there a family member you could thank for someone special in your life? Maybe a special gift for the children of an employee who stays late or a bottle of Scotch for the husband who doesn’t complain about Sunday open houses.
Handwritten Notes. I am a huge fan of technology, a texting machine and a victim to deteriorating handwriting from lack of use. The effort to get a card, write a message, address it, label it, stamp it and get it into a mailbox..ahhhhh! But alas, it is all those steps that make receiving a thoughtful card so much more meaningful. Give someone you care about a break from the bills and penny savers by sending a hand written note.
Set yourself up for success by having a system in place. I encourage my clients to order a box of custom* note cards for their office. Pre-stamp and return address a couple dozen envelops and keep a few out on your desk (or in the top drawer because truthfully I haaaaaattee clutter). Now, when gratitude hits your heart you can act quickly.
Here are some common reasons to say thank you in our industry: after a meeting or event, after a listing presentation (whether they hired you or not), for attending your open house, for writing a review about your company, for filling out alllllll the paperwork needed to get a loan approval, after a great phone conversation or for no reason at all. Ask any woman, that’s the best reason to get flowers. #justbecause
Mint on the Pillow. We all like to feel special. Often it’s the little things we do that make the biggest difference in our experiences. Studies have shown that when people believe they are getting something “extra” they are happier and more likely to respond with something extra. An easy example is the effect a waiter can have on their own tip by writing a short note and leaving a mint with the check.
What can you do to make people feel special? If you send out a print newsletter, add a post-it note with a quick hello to important contacts. Bring someone’s favorite coffee to a meeting without asking. Get creative. A lender I work with often had clients coming to the office with children. As you can imagine, it’s not easy for them to sit through all the financial paperwork and it was a stressor for their parents. His solution was thoughtful and practical. He created a romper room for the kids to play games and watch tv. By acting out of kindness and understanding for his clients, he also gave himself the opportunity to do more business.
Showing gratitude is always going to be a winning strategy. Whether you earn a new referral or not, the time will be well spent. Please enjoy your Thanksgiving and take the spirit of the holiday with you into your marketing.
* Why custom? They are nicer than generic cards but not much more expensive. Quality matters. You can also include all of your contact information on the back of the card, which makes it easier for the recipient to get in touch with you. They aren’t going to save the torn envelope and business cards will eventually be separated from the card.
Thank you for reading this post. I am eternally grateful for the support of friends, family and peers. Shine on!