Making the connection
I attended a networking lunch the other day, and sat at a table where two people were discovering they have a common target market. They were making arrangements to meet next week and explore how they might work together.
My mind immediately put together how the one who specializes in financial services for seniors could use the other (a concierge car service for older people who can no longer drive themselves) for client appreciation. Not one to keep such a good idea to myself, I spoke up.
“Hey, Mr. Financial Services, do you realize you could use Concierge Car Service as a thank you to your clients after they close a deal with you? Maybe give them five hours of service if it’s appropriate.”
He said he hadn’t even thought of that, and he liked the concept.
From referral to cross-promotion
How often have you gotten together with a new contact to learn about what each other does and see if you can send each other referrals? Happens all the time, right? Maybe you share a few business cards from your database or the date of the next industry association meeting.
I challenge you to think more imaginatively. Is there another way you can work together or promote each others’ businesses?
Show your appreciation for business success
As you may have heard me rant about before, showing appreciation for your clients is critical to your business success. (Up to 68% of clients will stop doing business with you simply because they don’t think you appreciate their patronage.)
And if you’re not be in a position to hand out Kindles or Apple iPads as thank you gifts, all the more reason to get creative.
You can always afford… something
Think about who you know, or as you’re meeting new contacts, and how you can perhaps give their products or services to your customers in gratitude of their business.
Know someone who runs a car wash or a gardening store or a pet sitting service? Maybe you wouldn’t typically think you could help promote their business, but you can. Give your client a 10-pack of car washes, a nice plant or 3-days of pet sitting time. (Whatever you do, don’t give them $$ off coupons for these services! Tacky!)
Everyone benefits here. You get all the benefits of happy, loyal clients. Your contact gets your business, as well as introductions to new potential customers. And your clients get acknowledgment that you value them.
Added bonus for you, your contacts and your clients will feel more indebted to you, because you did something nice, and will be more likely to send you additional business or referrals.
Got you thinking? Here’s more:
- … of Lori’s writings on customer service at Women Grow Business
- Eco & Budget-Friendly Client Appreciation Gifts from Biznik
- 12 Ways to Thank Your Customers from BusinessInfoGuide.com
Image: Charlie Nguyen, Creative Commons
Regular contributor Lori Saitz is founder of Zen Rabbit Baking Company. She helps people show appreciation for and give recognition to others. The main (delicious!) tool her team uses to help accomplish this important feat is through The Gratitude Cookie(tm). A thin, crunchy cross between a butter and a sugar cookie, The Gratitude Cookie is so named because if you’re eating the cookies, you’re encouraged to think about something you are grateful for as you munch on each one. Connect with her on Twitter.