It’s tough to balance everything that goes into running a business. You’re constantly balancing sheets and looking for ways to build revenue and cut costs. Finding when and where to justify spending can feel like navigating a minefield. If there is one idea that can help you with a lot of your decisions, it is that generating a positive relationship with everyone and everything attached to your business is probably a safe bet. It is to that purpose that you are going to learn a simple technique that is sure to help you grow, and the returns will exceed your expectations.
It’s amazing how those two words can generate such a disparity of reactions. Marketers might view them from a perspective of generating return business. Employers might consider employee loyalty and effort. Cynics will scoff. Optimists will applaud. The truth is that an expression of gratitude does have a psychological and social effect on all avenues of business, and understanding them might help you find the motivation to do something you probably already believe is nice.
The first way to look at gratitude is with employees. Glassdoor did a survey that suggests 81 percent of employees work harder when they are shown appreciation. In the realm of managed IT services, this can be translated to partner businesses, vendors and the like. When you show them genuine gratitude, they will be more likely to give a little extra effort in the ways they work with your business.
As for clients and customers, expressions of gratitude are often seen as one of the best revenue generators available. Customer loyalty programs are a big example. The idea is that they present a way for a company to reward customers who regularly do business with them. Chances are that you are a member of more than one such program. Do any of the rewards ever feel like an expression of gratitude?
When it comes to managed IT services marketing, things are a little different. It wouldn’t make sense to have a punch card and get every 10th printer repair free. Instead, expressions of gratitude have to be more deliberate in order to make an impression. If you want to see the returns that can come from loyal clients and their powerful referrals, you need a plan.
Making an Impression
Hopefully, you’re at least considering the value of saying “thank you” to your clients. The next step is determining how. You can think about it again from your own perspective. If a client were to thank you, what would be the most valuable way? A simple email or text is nice, but it doesn’t carry a lot of weight. Social media expressions are more public and might feel more valuable, but you run a risk. If you thank clients, partners and other points of interactions at all unequally, this can actually foster resentment.
If a strong impression is your goal, there is understated value in writing a traditional thank you card. That includes slapping a stamp on it and sending it through snail mail. Admittedly, thank you cards and stamps are more expensive than sending an email or writing a tweet. Even worse, they take more time to craft and compose, and your time is valuable. That, of course, is the point. Working in managed service sales, you primarily interact with clients who own or operate businesses themselves. They understand the value of your time, and that is exactly why a thank you card can carry such weight. The effort, in this case, makes the impression, and it makes it more likely that they will remember you first the next time they recommend managed services to a buddy or partner.
Putting this into practice will feel awkward and cumbersome at first, but like all things, you’ll hit a stride with it. The key to success is to follow a golden rule. Right a thank you card to everyone. Whether it’s your oldest and most loyal client or a networking contact you only met once at an MSP marketing event. If you become the “thank you card business,” you will develop a marketable impression that is sure to bring you many returns.
Stuart Crawford serves as Creative Director and CEO with Sebring, FL and Fort Erie, ON-based Ulistic, a specialty MSP Marketing firm focused on information technology marketing and business development. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience pertaining to how technology business owners and IT firms can use marketing as a vehicle to obtain success.