As Valentine’s Day approaches it reminds me that it’s good to show appreciation – not just once a year! I just love all those phrases – ‘develop an attitude of gratitude‘, ‘what you truly appreciate, you get more of‘ and even the old chestnut ‘manners cost nothing‘. (That’s a great one you may have heard from your parents when you were a kid . . . and it’s just as relevant now you’re a grown up. You are a grown up now, aren’t you?)
The thing about gratitude is that a little bit goes a long way. It only takes a few moments to thank someone or let them know that you appreciate them but it tends to be remembered for a long time. Let’s never be too busy to take a few minutes to look someone in the eye and thank them. Put yourself in your team’s shoes . . . do they feel loved and appreciated? OK, if you really want to be brave – put yourself in your nearest and dearest’s shoes . . . or your family, your friends. How appreciated and valued do they feel?
We have used some really simple ways of showing our appreciation and had some great experiences as a result. Let me give you some examples of two types – appreciation/gratitude and CNEs (read on and all will become clear!)
A simple ‘thank you’, or ‘I really appreciate that’ can go a long way. Notice when someone thanks you, what’s your reaction?; notice when you thank someone else – what’s their reaction?
We often keep cards handy so that we write them and send them out to people. It’s about making it personal. We’ve used ‘thank you’ cards that we’ve bought from the shop; we’ve used blank cards we’ve bought; we’ve also bought ‘Successories’ cards from Nightingale-Conant and we’ve used pre-printed branded cards that we’ve had created.
Tip: If you use pre-printed cards with your logo – keep it simple so that you can use them for all sorts of messages – e.g. ‘A message from (your business name)’ on the front and your contact details on the back works well. That way the ‘inside’ of the card is blank for your message.
Here is a brilliant idea that we got from some great friends of ours – Tony Burgess and Julie French of the Academy of High Achievers. We found that when we had been out for a dinner somewhere and had a great experience, they would leave a little card on the table. It’s such a lovely idea that we copied it and have shared it with lots of people who have also shared it and passed it on. Feel free to do this yourself and pass it on.
Here are two versions (front on the left, back on the right) of cards we have printed and used over several years. We use them all over the place and love to let people know that we’ve had great service, a great experience or have appreciated them in some way. Just write their name and your personalised message on the back!
Tip: We always like to find out the person’s name if we don’t already know it (e.g. in bars, restaurants, hotels and shops) so that we can hand write their name on the back of the card and add a personalised message. It’s much more meaningful.
This can work well too – a nicely timed, appropriate and genuine thank you for something takes just a few short moments to write and send.
Reviews & Testimonials:
Whether you use Linkedin; Trip Advisor; thebestof or some other way to give reviews and testimonials – JUST DO IT!!! It’s great to let people know what you love about them. When you give a review or a testimonial be specific about WHAT you loved and WHY. This is not just good manners, it’s helpful to the person you are reviewing.
Give reviews showing your appreciation and get reviews so that people can see what’s great about you!
2. Critical Non-Essentials – CNEs
If you’ve not heard of ‘see-nees’ before then let me quote their creator: ‘The non-essentials in business are of critical importance to your overall success”. If you are too busy to do ‘the little things’ and pay attention to the details of how you make your customers and clients feel then they will be easily tempted to go elsewhere.
The CNEs are the little things that make a BIG difference. When you do the things that most people can’t be bothered to do, or don’t make time for, you will be remembered. One thing is for sure – don’t go the extra mile and you won’t be remembered.
You can find out much more about them in this great book - “The Absolutely Critical Non-Essentials” by Dr Paddi Lund. Click here for more info on Paddi’s site. Paddi is an amazing Australian dentist who uses CNEs to create a hugely successful ‘by invitation only’ business which is talked about all over the world!
These things work – and they feel great to do as well! We have had some amazing experiences with lots of people – including clients, suppliers and colleagues as well as hotels, venues, restaurants. Showing your appreciation verbally, in writing or with CNEs, gifts, emails – whatever! – just makes life and business much more pleasurable and builds great relationships.
Oh – and did I mention the fantastic upgrade in a hotel to an amazing suite because they remembered the card I gave them the year before? That was a bonus ;-)
Let us know how you share your appreciation . . .