At this time of year, there’s a big push to get every last prospect left in the hopper to sign on the dotted line before December 31st. While this is a logical and dutiful effort on your part, there’s another action that belongs at the top of your to-do list and it captures the essence of the holidays. Ironically, it’s widely-overlooked by eager business professionals—especially those who are laser-focused on getting ahead: Be thankful for your clients, and let them know you appreciate them.
By the end of the year, over 2 billion holiday cards and over 500 million e-cards will have been sent out in the United States, and a significant portion of those greetings will have been linked to businesses. Needless to say, this is a perfunctory ritual for most people—sorely lacking in sincerity. It stands to reason that the empty gesture does not spark warm and fuzzy feelings in the hearts of of the recipients. In that light, the custom of sending Season’s Greetings cards to your clients turns out to be a waste of time and money. The good news is—there’s another way to go! The holidays, are, in fact, an opportunity to do the very thing I’ve often urged our readers to do in so many of my articles—to take a moment to identify how you can stand out amongst the rest.
The holidays present a very real opportunity for you hit a few turkeys with one Yuletide Bullet, rockin’ both the business thing AND the human connection thing. It’s a lotta bang for your buck if you think about it. You can: 1) Make contact with active clients and let them know you appreciate the heck out of them. 2) Re-connect with some of the past clients you’ve been out of touch with for a while—possibly for the whole year. 3) Check in with a few prospects and let them know you are thinking about them as well.
As we’re always on the lookout for ways to optimize our time and effort, it makes all the sense in the world to do something productive for our business while conveying a genuine sense of connection and appreciation for our clients. All you have to do is take your brain off automatic pilot for a minute, SLOW DOWN, and get creative (and specific) with your clients.
Here are 3 real-life examples:
A sales rep in the home health care industry decided to invite her top referring physicians to lunch. While that might seem like an obvious thing to do, but the fact is, the gesture is rarely offered due to the common assumption that doctors are way too busy during the day, and wouldn’t have enough time to enjoy an extended lunch break. For this reason, sales reps tend to be single-minded when it comes to contacting medical professionals: they’re either seeking to host an upcoming informational event at the doctor’s office, or soliciting patient referrals. Rarely, if ever, will a sales rep simply invite a doctor (or a group of doctors) out for lunch just as a way of saying thank you.
A life coach decided to send out personal greeting cards to all her clients from 2017. Rather than send a generic message, she hand-wrote a note for each client, recalling how they’d met, and highlighting a few landmark moments of success they’d achieved together during the year. In signing off, she told them: “I’m a better person for having you in my life.”
A direct hire recruiter who also happens to be an amazing cook made a point of doing something special for the hiring managers who frequently use his services. Every year, at holiday time, he buys 10-15 small turkey breasts, cranks up his smoker and makes some of the most mouthwatering smoked turkey you’ve ever tasted. He meticulously wraps each one of them in colorful foil and hand-delivers them to his clients throughout the month of December.
These are 3 examples of heartfelt, creative ways to express appreciation for clients. People can’t help but think fondly of you, of course, and you are likely to receive repeat business, glowing reviews, and referrals as a result. But that’s not really the point; it’s about moving beyond the realm of business, and connecting with your clients on personal level, and valuing them as human beings.
Wishing you a warm, delicious, rejuvenating Thanksgiving with your friends and loved ones!