Gratitude Is Good Business
Does it make your day when someone sends you a thank-you note? Do you find yourself smiling on the inside when a co-worker compliments your solid business idea? If you’re a human being, you’re naturally reacting to a phenomenon that long predates business. People like to be affirmed for their deeds—especially when they’ve worked hard and don’t expect praise. Researchers even say gratitude has physical and psychological benefits that help us stay calm and enable us to support those around us.
As former Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter put it, “Gratitude is one of the least articulate of the emotions, especially when it is deep.” I agree with Frankfurter on one level, but suggest you put gratitude at the forefront if you want to grow your personal brand.
Gratitude is good for you
During various times of the year, businesses send customers gifts or special offers. Perhaps you are an employee who receives a holiday bonus or gift from your company. These are all signs of gratitude. Depending on the giver, each gift carries a different intent. Ask yourself if that leather-bound passport carrier from your travel agent will keep you returning to her rather than hunting for a new one. You are likely hooked; that travel agent knows the power of the gift and its connection to her brand. She realizes that between selling moments, showcasing her gratitude is a key way to keep her top-of- mind.
Gratitude is good for your clients
“You close the door on future sales if gratitude isn’t part of your process,” stresses Deb DuBois, senior marketing strategist for the Minneapolis law firm of Winthrop & Weinstine. DuBois urges you to “incorporate gratitude into your strategic marketing plan in order to bring your process full circle.” Her firm has an annual event that celebrates current and future women clients, as well as others who have had an impact on the female attorneys at the firm. Each layer of the program keeps the audience in mind; the goodwill Winthrop generates from expressing this kind of gratitude is both tangible and intangible.
Your first and last impression
We all study up on our subject before meetings or in the process of wooing potential customers. Once you hook them, how will you make them stay or come back? When your last or continuing impression takes the form of gratitude instead of sales-speak, you are ahead of your competition in building goodwill.
Words do count, so don’t feel a tangible gift is your only option. Perhaps you show gratitude during a company event at which you can recognize certain individuals for jobs well done or thank a vendor for helping you out in a pinch. The important part is not how fancy the sign of gratitude is, but that you show gratitude sincerely and authentically. Sometimes even a phone call or special note can do the trick. Written any lately?
A recent memorable story comes from a high school senior who asked me to review her college essays. I had thrown out the offer at a fall event for prospective students at my undergraduate alma mater, Boston College. I went through a couple rounds of edits with this young lady, with the intent of helping her shape an essay that will put her in the “in” pile this spring.
I was pleasantly surprised to receive a lovely email thank-you after she submitted her applications. She shared with me how my feedback made her restructure her entire approach. She went on to say that even if she didn’t get into Boston College, which was her top choice, she was grateful for the time I took to help her craft the best essay possible. This teen could never have known how her sign of gratitude would hit me. The impression she made with her eloquent and perfectly grammatical message means she will always have an advocate in me. It may not matter this year or next, but one day if she needs me again, if I’m in a position to help her, I will. And it all stems from her sign of gratitude. My guess is you have a story or two like that—whether you were the giver or the receiver. At least I hope you do.
What troubles me is the lack of gratitude in our world right now. This awareness inspired me to change what I had planned to write this month. Gratitude does matter; it will serve you well whether you are on top of the world or in a place of transition or new learning. As I celebrate the ninth anniversary of my business this month, I want to take a moment to thank you for reading this column and thank the team at Twin Cities Business for a second-to-none collegial experience. I am truly grateful.
Roshini Rajkumar is a communication coach, host of News & Views on WCCO Radio, and author of Communicate That! For additional communication tips, visit CommunicateThatBook.com.