Love is in the air, isn’t it? I can barely make a trip to the grocery store without being reminded of that very special holiday coming up on Feb. 14! While all that red and pink can become overwhelming, it can also serve as a good reminder to take a deep breath and think about whom we love.
Now, there’s the obvious answers — spouses, family, and friends. But as sales leaders, there are some people who we really, really love but rarely think to reach out to on Valentine’s Day— our clients!
You may be thinking “But I already sent out cards and goodies during the holidays.” But in sales, we always want to differentiate ourselves. Almost everyone sends out a holiday gift or note. But, very few people take time throughout the year to show appreciation and love. Asking clients about their level of satisfaction and thanking them for their business should be part of any great sales team’s routine. I believe in thanking people throughout the year in different ways, which also gives me an opportunity to ask them for a referral.
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, you and your sales team have an excellent opportunity to reach out to your favorite clients and customers. I suggest gathering your team for a brainstorming session to figure out how to say thanks to each person who helps make your business successful. Here are nine ideas of how to do so:
1. Call and Say Thank You
You can do this anytime, and it doesn’t cost much, just a bit of someone’s time. Plan what you are going to say and then pick up the phone and call. “I called to say thank you for your business. We really appreciate you.” If you get their voicemail, you can leave a nice message.
2. Send a Note
Again, you can do this anytime, and it doesn’t cost much. I purchase beautiful note cards from a local artist. They have seasonal photographs of the area and some of our famous local events. I write a personal note on each card and send it off. I do it all year long and send to different customers, past customers and prospects. I send about five a week.
3. Deliver a Gift
This is the one we all seem to be stuck on doing during the holiday season. Valentine’s Day is a very good time to deliver a gift. You can send candy, chocolates, cupcakes or flowers! One year I bought heart cookies from one of my clients to give to my other customers with a note that said, “Alice Heiman, LLC loves its clients.” But, don’t get stuck on typical holidays. For example, send a basket of goodies for munching while watching the fireworks on Fourth of July. You could deliver a gift to a different client each month of the year, which might be easier on your budget. Choose which customers you will give to and skip December. Don’t forget about promotional products as gifts. According to the American Business Solutions, promotional bags are kept up to nine months which gives your brand plenty of impressions.
4. Hold an Event
I usually hold a customer appreciation event once a year and invite all my current and past clients. This can be done in conjunction with a trade show or conference or anytime, except around the holidays when there are already too many events. I usually hold mine in the late summer or early fall, when the weather is still nice, so we can celebrate outdoors. You could also offer promotional items in conjunction with your event. For example, if you’re throwing a barbecue for your clients, why not get some reusable promotional to-go cups?
5. Offer Specials or Discounts
Often companies offer their prospects deals to get them to purchase, but what about loyal customers? Think about creating a customer loyalty program or an annual customer special. Another idea would be to have a client appreciation month and offer a discount for orders placed during that month.
6. Send Them Referrals
Your clients will love to get referrals from you and it’s the nicest gift of all. It may not be possible to refer to all your clients or to do it all the time but think about it. Is there a way you can refer people to any of your clients?
7. Give a Great Read
Look at the books that you’ve read that have made a significant impact in your life or business. Give one as a gift to your clients. This offers your clients insights about your company culture and gives you the opportunity to open the line of communication for future discussion about the book. Don’t forget to write a personalized note that goes inside or with the book so your clients know it’s a thank you meant just for them!
8. Spotlight Clients
Give your clients a shout out on social media. You can send them a tweet and tag them and their company. This gives them publicity and lets them know how much they mean to you! You can also feature clients on your website. This makes them feel valued and gives them a sense of pride in being your client.
9. Give a Charitable Gift
You could reach out to your clients and let them know you’d like to make a contribution to their favorite charity in their honor.
You could do any or all of the above to show your appreciation and say thank you. It’s best to sit down with your team and discuss your customer appreciation plan. Choose from the ideas above or come up with your own. Customer appreciation is important but it doesn’t have to be expensive, time-consuming or only during the holidays.