Giving Thanks: 5 Ways to Grow Your Business with Gratitude
Giving Thanks: What to Expect
After reading this guide, you’ll think differently about how you are giving thanks to your customers and prospective clients.
If you’re an entrepreneur, business owner, or sales rep, you’ll recognize the value of treating every day like it’s customer appreciation day.
Better yet, you’ll see how to practice gratitude daily and make it a habit.
In an interview with Brendan Kamm (a leading gratitude expert and founder at Thnks), we learned about the many benefits of gratitude and the importance of customer appreciation. During his days as a sales executive, Kamm was frustrated with the lack of gratitude he saw in business and how relationships suffered as a result.
It’s not that these business executives didn’t mean well. Rather, they didn’t approach it correctly. There was also a misconception that saying ‘thank you for your business’ required an elaborate gift or expensive meal.
Quite the opposite.
Kamm explains that strong relationships are critical to business success and growth. However, it requires practicing genuine acts of gratitude consistently and frequently.
Giving thanks in a manner that cultivates loyalty and trust is the glue to a rewarding relationship. It shows that your business genuinely cares about the relationship. And it’s not something that requires a large budget.
We will show you how you can grow your business with gratitude by offering simple and cost-effective gestures of appreciation while interacting with your customers and prospects.
Instead of spending $300 on a dinner to please one client in the short run, we’ll show you how to spend $0-$50 and get customers for life.
Here’s what’s covered:
- Giving Thanks: What to Expect
- The Why: Benefits of Gratitude in Business
- The Problem: Why Businesses Struggle with Giving Thanks
- The Solution: Essential Ingredients of Gratitude
- The How: 5 Ways to Practice Gratitude and Grow Your Business on a Budget
- Conclusion: Every Day is Customer Appreciation Day
- Frequently Asked Questions
The Why: Benefits of Gratitude in Business
Besides offering significant personal benefits, such as health and happiness, gratitude has comprehensive and long-lasting effects on business relationships.
Research shows that 65% of buyers find positive experiences with brands to be more influential than advertising campaigns.
In fact, 83% of customers state that their loyalty to a business is inspired by trust and likeability.
The key to strong relationships lies in how you make people feel. That’s why gratitude is so powerful.
Here’s a deeper look at the short-run and long-run benefits of gratitude in business:
SHORT-TERM BENEFITS OF GRATITUDE
Shorter sales cycles
Small acts of gratitude have been proven to increase response rates in both new and existing clients. As a result, you can lower your probability of being ‘ghosted’ and reduce the time it takes to begin working with a client.
Converting more leads
Genuine gestures of appreciation elevate your brand awareness and reputation. A strong brand image helps you to stand out from the crowd and remain ‘front of mind’ with potential clients. This makes it easier to attract and secure business.
By incorporating personalized and continual gestures of gratitude into your communications with your clients, you can build a stronger, more meaningful connection. Not only does this incentivize them to stay with you, but it can encourage them to be advocates who evangelize your brand.
LONG-TERM BENEFITS OF GRATITUDE
At the end of the day, business is about people. The ultimate goal is to form a meaningful bond through time, attention, and care.
If you consistently practice gratitude and appreciation in a manner where your customer feels personally cared about, it will foster a more substantial business relationship.
A rewarding and fruitful relationship focused on loyalty and trust is a relationship that lasts — and can withstand times of uncertainty.
The Problem: Why Businesses Struggle with Giving Thanks
People and businesses alike recognize the importance and value of showing gratitude.
However, research shows that 64% of customers still don’t feel well-known and appreciated by their business partners. And a whopping 68% end a business relationship when they don’t believe their partner is grateful for their business.
So what’s the disconnect?
Gratitude works differently in a business context.
1. PERCEIVED INTENTION
Saying thanks and giving thanks are not always the same.
If the recipient doesn’t feel that the gesture is genuine, the act of being grateful may be discredited or carry less weight.
Gratitude is about expressing appreciation and being thankful.
It is centered around returning a favor or showing appreciation for a specific action, event, or feeling. Genuine gratitude often requires a previous interaction or knowing something meaningful about a person.
Therefore, in a business setting if you have not had a meaningful interaction with someone or do not know them well – which is often the case for new and potential customers — a different approach is needed.
Even a sincere and well-intended gesture of gratitude may go unnoticed (or ignored) if the intention is perceived as disingenuous or does not provide value.
In today’s world, countless businesses with similar services compete for attention from the same customers.
People receive emails, voicemails, social media messages, and texts daily.
The population has become immune to depersonalized solicitations, and the majority of these communications go unanswered.
Even in situations where there is an existing dialogue with a current or potential client, the extent of communication channels have increased the number of touchpoints required to close a sale or begin work.
The bottom line is that it’s harder than ever to reach a desired connection and deliver gratitude in a sincere way that leads to a genuine professional relationship.
However, there’s good news:
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
Gratitude is one of the most powerful and effective business tools we have. It just requires practice to get it right. Those that practice gratitude correctly are the ones that win and keep clients. — Tweet This
Here’s what you need to know:
The Solution: Essential Ingredients of Gratitude
Gratitude is an art and science. It can change the way you develop relationships and the way others perceive you.
The practice of gratitude requires attention to five key elements (all of which are interconnected and tap into human nature):
Get personal. Your gesture should demonstrate that you took the time to learn about the recipient. Are you familiar with their interests and hobbies? Do you know what’s important to them? What makes them feel good?
When expressing appreciation, the intention is to show them that you see them and that you care. At their core, people want to feel valued, special, and understood. This is the basis of forming a meaningful relationship.
Be specific about what you are expressing gratitude for. Better yet, tell them the impact it had on you. Whether they offered you time, money, a connection, or a business opportunity, cite the reason and impact in as much detail as you can.
A thoughtful gesture goes a long way. It shows that you truly value the relationship and appreciate what they bring to the table.
Be different. Go for a gift or gesture that stands out and piques interest. What can you send that will make a lasting positive impression? What do you think will surprise and delight them?
Try your best to show your appreciation in an unconventional way. Not only will this make the recipient feel more special, but they will remember you for having put in the thought and effort.
Offer something that you know will be useful or helpful to the recipient. What is something they can enjoy or use? How can you evoke a positive emotion or feeling? Is there something that can enhance their personal and/or professional life?
Consider the recipient’s personal interests, needs, tastes and business goals.
If you are able to provide value, the impact of your gesture will be stronger. This doesn’t mean you need to spend a lot of money. Human nature is to value thought and care over price.
A timely and relevant gesture of appreciation has a strong impact. This is particularly true for special occasions, accomplishments or if you are thanking someone for something they did for you.
That’s not to say that random acts of kindness and surprise gestures don’t carry value. However, if you are acknowledging a particular date, event, or anniversary, then timing is important.
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
If you are able to practice gratitude by incorporating all (or most) of the considerations above, then you have a robust foundation for a successful business relationship. Your gestures will be exponentially more effective and will have a greater impact.
Now on to specific gratitude examples that you can start using today:
The How: 5 Ways to Practice Gratitude and Grow Your Business on a Budget
Read on to see five super-effective examples of how to practice gratitude and nurture relationships while keeping expenses low.
Whatever method you choose, it’s important to refer back to the key ingredients of gratitude to deliver impactful and genuine gestures of appreciation.
Whether you’re sending a gift, writing a note or delivering something you created, check back on these five things and make it a habit to incorporate them into your gestures.
1. HANDWRITTEN GRATEFUL NOTES
An old fashioned heartfelt handwritten letter is a fail-safe way to make an impact without spending money. It’s rare, takes time, and forces you to think about each word.
It’s the essence of a thoughtful gift.
Don’t have a mailing address? No problem – Handwrite the note anyway, take a photo of it using your camera phone and attach it to an email. Not only is this creative, but it’s personal. How often do you see someone’s handwriting?
If you’re not comfortable with writing a letter, a personal and thoughtful email is still extremely effective.
In fact, it’s received more positively than you think. In a study by the University of Texas at Austin, it was found that the recipients of an emailed expression of gratitude felt much more “ecstatic” than writers expected.
When drafting your note of gratitude, remember to “give thanks” and not just say it. Follow the five essential ingredients of gratitude to craft a thoughtful, specific, and personalized note.
2. CHARITABLE DONATIONS & SOCIAL GOOD LOANS
Can you think of a better way to express gratitude than by giving someone the gift of making a positive impact on the world?
Making a charitable donation or loan in someone else’s name is a great way to form a connection with someone because you are gifting them a feeling and sharing a mutual appreciation for making a difference.
Research what causes are important and relevant to the recipient. Be sure to include a note that highlights and explains why you made your selection.
Most organizations will allow you to provide a donation on behalf of someone else. When you do this, you can typically specify the name of the person you are honoring and the organization will send a notification to let them know about the donation. However, you should first reach out to them directly to work out the details.
Additionally, some organizations offer charitable gift cards that allow you to make a donation on someone else’s behalf. The recipient can then use the gift card to make a donation to a cause of their choice.
Alternatively, an easier and faster path is to use websites like CharityChoice Gift Cards and Thnks which allow you to choose from a directory of charities. If you go this route, you can manage the end to end process using one platform.
Another heartfelt gesture is to give your client the gift of supporting economic and social good through a loan.
Platforms such as Kiva allow you to play a special part in someone else’s life by helping them to grow a business and create opportunities for themselves.
These types of loans allow you to shape the future of a specific individual, family or community — and see the impact first-hand.
3. FREE VALUE THAT LEVERAGES YOUR STRENGTHS
One of the most effective ways to please a current or potential client while also earning future work is to remind them of what you can do for them.
If you can demonstrate your own value while showing that you understand and care about their needs, it is a win-win.
Use what you have at your disposal to address a pain point.
Whether it’s your knowledge, network, or access to tools, you have something that can help.
Can they use a business connection? Social media attention? A Testimonial? More website traffic? Could they use help strengthening their branding or digital marketing efforts?
One of the easiest things you can do is support them on social media by following their social channels and posting a thoughtful reply to one of their posts.
An endorsement on LinkedIn or even an introduction to a business contact does not take much time but goes a long way.
Want to take things to the next level?
Perhaps, you can co-author a blog post or write an article that mentions your client. Giving them brand recognition and exposure is a tried-and-true way to add value. Additionally, if you can team up and work together, you can get to know each other in a meaningful way.
Collaborations build relationships.
Do you have the ability to post a business interview for them on your website? Can you share their content with your audience, such as on a blog, newsletter, or social media? Can you co-host an event or webinar?
If you want to go the extra mile, try designing or curating something that is tailored to their needs. If they are struggling with a particular issue, put together an email, deck or presentation that provides them with helpful information and resources.
Whatever you choose, find a way to create or do something to help them, while also applying your area of expertise and offering something of business value.
4. SPECIAL ACCESS TO YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE
The benefit of offering special access or pricing to your product is a no-brainer.
For existing clients, it provides incentive to stay with you and builds loyalty. For potential clients, it provides first-hand experience using your product and makes it a worthwhile investment.
However, the offer needs to be really attractive. Exceed expectations.
Go above and beyond the standard 30-day free trial or a free consultation. Don’t do what everyone else is doing. Skip the branded pen, and give them an insane deal that they can’t refuse.
Consider, a permanent discount or lifetime access to a specific part of your business for a one-time fee. Look at what AppSumo does. They offer unbelievably low pricing and discounted deals on top of lifetime access.
If that sounds like too much, then make your customer feel special in other ways. Consider providing financial value through a loyalty/rewards program or by packaging your product or service in a way that allows them to save money.
Alternatively, grant them access to more advanced features or services. Take a hard look at your business offerings and see what you can do to make your client feel like they are flying first-class.
5. LOW-COST THOUGHTFUL GIFTS THAT OFFER JOY
Gift-giving is a large part of showing appreciation.
The challenge lies in finding gifts that the recipient will enjoy while perceiving them as thoughtful and relevant (without you having to overspend).
Fortunately, there are many platforms and corporate gifting companies that specialize in making the gift-giving process easier and more efficient.
The key is to pick the right one and stick with it.
If something is simple, convenient, and enjoyable then you can more effectively make it into a habit.
Therefore, at a minimum, look for a gifting platform that has a strong and diverse selection of low-cost high-value offerings that allows you to easily personalize, send, and track your gifts.
It’s important to go with a platform that is not overwhelming and prioritizes customization and ‘ease of use’ over high-end luxury gifts.
Having these features, as well as the ability to monitor and manage your gift-giving will save you time and money.
Start by testing out a few corporate gifting companies and similar gifting platforms, and then sign up with the top 1-2 services that you enjoy using the most.
Check out the free features offered by the gratitude platform, Thnks:
Thnks has a collection of gift ideas from over 100 vendors across categories, such as charitable donations, experiences, shopping, entertainment, snacks, subscriptions and more. It’s easy to find gifts because they organize and bundle their offerings by helpful categories and allow you to filter and sort by price.
One creative feature is that for every gift you send, the recipient has the option to give the value of the gift to a charity of their choice.
How can you go wrong with that?
Conclusion: Every Day is Customer Appreciation Day
It’s not difficult and it’s not expensive to show gratitude in business.
But remember this:
To deliver the greatest impact with your gesture, you need to consider whether it comes across as personal, sincere, unique, and timely – while also offering value to the recipient.
If you are truly committed to making gratitude a habit, then you will need to offer gestures of appreciation consistently. Like any other habit, it requires practice, diligence, and a repeatable system.
There is no shortage of reasons to express gratitude.
There is always something to acknowledge or celebrate – no matter how small.
With this guide, you have everything you need to build better business relationships by becoming a guru at giving thanks.
Pick five people who have helped you in some way, and practice gratitude using these tips.