The trend in recent years has been to send clients and potential clients Thanksgiving greetings vs. Holiday cards, in whatever form – digital or print. Why? Thanksgiving is non-denominational. Just about everyone celebrates it. You aren’t going to offend anyone by saying Happy Thanksgiving vs. Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Kwanza or Happy Holidays. It’s easy. And it feels good and seems right to say thanks. Isn’t that good manners?
The problem is, if you’re just sending the Thanksgiving card to check the box of marketing outreach this year, you’re not moving the client relationship forward. You wouldn’t thank those in your personal life just once a year. So, why are you only saying Thanks to your clients once a year? It’s inauthentic. And in the end, it’s all about you, how you feel for doing the ‘right’ thing, and not how your client feels. And, it’s certainly not about your relationship with your client. Lizzie Post, Emily Post’s great great daughter, says in this digital age, good manners it not about using the right fork, it’s about how you make others feel.
Sending a Thanksgiving card made you feel good. You feel like you’re doing the right thing. Unfortunately, in building client relationships you’ve forgotten the #1 rule: It’s about them not you!
Saying thank you for a client’s business seem right. It’s polite. Are you, however, thankful or grateful for their business? For their friendship? For the relationship you personally have with them?
Is thankful the same as grateful? Or, has saying ‘thanks’ for everything from someone passing you the salt at dinner to the Thanksgiving greeting made it so common, it’s lost the true meaning? Is ‘thanks’ a throw away phrase? Has ‘thanks’ become a filler word? Is it almost what you say when what you expected to happen, actually happens? Someone held the door for you in a store. ‘Thanks’
Thankful is a feeling that you have. It’s about you and what you expected to happen all along. The Oxford dictionary says thankfulness is about being pleased and relieved. Relieved? Are you glad whatever happened is over? Are you ready to move beyond the relationship? Thankfulness is almost passive, and it’s definitely all about how you feel.
Grateful, however, is an attitude. To be grateful is to take action and show your true appreciation for what has happened. Gratitude, therefore, moves a client relationship forward, builds upon it, and improves it. In order to be grateful, you have to be truly aware of what’s happening for you and around you.
Ask yourself, did saying thanks just move my relationship forward? Or are the words ‘thank you’ so common, they’ve lost all meaning?
Kroger Grant Consultants (KGC) challenges you this holiday season to move your relationships authentically forward. Have an attitude of gratitude with and for your clients.
Here’s 5 ways to have an attitude of gratitude:
1. Send Thank You notes all the time, not just at Thanksgiving. Make it hand written. In this techy world, where we are all so quick to send out a text or an email, the art of letter writing is lost. But, it’s not forgotten. Send someone a hand-written note, and they’ll remember it and you for a long time. They may even save the note! Keep the point of your message to what you’re grateful for. What did they do for you? How much do you appreciate them? Don’t ask for more business at this time. Don’t muddy the message. Just tell them why you’re grateful.
2. Live a life of gratitude to the point where it becomes second nature to be grateful. Instead of just being thankful for what you have, show it. If you’re thankful that you are financially comfortable, share it. This can even be in little ways, such as buying someone’s coffee the next time you’re at Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks. This is a very simple way to share your gratitude with others.
3. Be grateful and you’ll end up living a happier life. We all want to work with happy people. Clients will want to work with you instead of the scrooge complaining about everything. We know clients want to work with people they like. That’s who gets hired – the team that connects at the interview. They connect because they seem like they’ll be fun to work with for months or years to come. Be happy and you’ll discover deeper relationships you’re your clients and your friends.
4. Be generous with your kindness and understanding. Consider situations from another’s point of view. No matter who is correct. This will move conversations forward faster, give everyone a deeper understanding of the issues, and ultimately improve your relationships.
5. Keep a gratitude journal. Each day jot down 3 things that happened that day that you are truly grateful for. Focus on people and experiences. When you focus on people and experiences, you’ll find yourself thanking others and telling them what they mean to you.
KGC is very grateful for our clients and the friendships we have with them. We wish all of you a very grateful and happy Thanksgiving!