Did I really have to write this post? You bet!
The common courtesy most of us learned at age 5 is often the most neglected part of sales etiquette. I have seen many folks, after being hired, enter into an entitlement relationship with the customer. Some believe that saying thank you, somehow weakens your position or puts you at a disadvantage in some way physically or psychologically with the customer. It does not.
I start my “Thank You”s very early on in the process. I was taught to handwrite a Thank You card after important meetings, even before an agreement has been reached. I typically make this out the day of, so that within 2 days a card arrives at the prospect or clients desk (Thanks Bobby Russo- see I’m thanking the person who told me to thank people :)).
It is amazing how powerful a small handwritten card can be. A great example of this is the “Connector” Roger Horchow in Gladwell’s The Tipping Point (which if you haven’t read, go get it). He sent birthday cards to everyone he ever sat next to on an airplane, and as he traveled a lot, this was a daunting task. It gave him a distinct advantage though, in that if he ever needed anything, these fleeting moments on a plane were set in concrete by the unexpected, and frankly, quite unusual cards that the folks would get every year. When it was time to call upon them for a piece of advice, a favor, and introduction, etc they remembered him. “You’re the guy who sends me a birthday card every year!”
Again, I will skip the full book report and state that if you want to see the power of a card, send one.
The take away is that you need to make a special effort to thank the customer. If you have done everything in the other four pieces of the Etiquette posts, I guarantee that this last act will ensure the customer will be a loyal one for years to come.