Mother’s Day and Father’s Day brings back a lot of memories for parents of teens and grown children, and sometimes those memories can be lessons for business relationships as well—namely, don’t wait for holidays!
A friend told me recently that her eldest daughter bought her a beautiful live orchid for Mother’s Day and a bunch of seeds to plant in her garden. Her youngest daughter (who has no money), picked a big bouquet of flowers from the garden for the table. Both were highly appreciated, and gave the mom warm fuzzies—but she pointed out that they would have given her the same feelings anytime, not just Mother’s Day. So the lesson here is to always be thinking up ways to make your customers and/or individuals in your networks feel special. What can you do for them “just because?”
As my friend’s example illustrates, you don’t have to spend lots of money to generate warm feelings—it’s the thought that counts!
Can you send a gift? A coupon? A free e-book? Some of your time? Sure you can—you just have to decide it is important and make the effort to do so. The important thing to remember when you’re actually sending something, however, is that it should seem to be spontaneous; out of the blue.
For instance, you could develop a practice of sending thank-you cards to your mailing list when seasons change. We don’t often receive cards in the mail these days, so they get our attention. A nice card that says, “Thank-you for being such a great [friend, customer, client, etc.], we hope you’re enjoying the Spring weather!” is sure to give the recipient a lift.
Birthday cards are another example. Everyone likes receiving birthday cards. If you can hand-write them and stamp them, so much the better. In fact, personally acknowledging any kind of life event with a card is a good practice, whether it’s a positive event or sympathy for a loss. It helps us feel more connected.
What else can you do? Here are some socially-oriented ideas for individuals:
- Give shout-outs: Tag the person in a public update with a short statement of why you value them
- Send them a picture or helpful article: Post a picture or article link on the person’s personal profile or email it to them and say something like: “I saw this and thought of you, [give their name]”
- Give a recommendation or testimonial: If your customer has a LinkedIn profile and you’re connected, send them a spontaneous recommendation (without asking for one in return)
- Klout influence: If you know people in the Klout.com network, add them as influencers or give them +Ks in their area of expertise to help their Klout scores
These are just a few ideas of how to make your clients, customers and those in your networks feel appreciated. Can you think of more examples? Feel free to share!
Remember, giving out warm fuzzies should never be a chore—it should become a habit. The more you do it, the more natural it becomes, and the more fun you’ll have with it. Plus, the relationships you nourish with this attention will grow to be priceless and add significantly to your Return on Relationship.
Brands, don’t be routine with your interactions, be remarkable.