As marketers, we talk a lot – almost every day – about building brand relationships.
But here’s the plain and simple truth: The average buyer doesn’t want a relationship with the average brand. If you’re lucky, they want what you have to sell. For most, that’s the end of it.
When B2C customers in particular think of “relationships,” they think of friends and family.
That’s it. And that’s okay!
Although this is a bitter pill to swallow, marketers still have two advantages here:
- B2B buyers sincerely do need the relationship, since it feeds into their business goals.
- You can motivate buyers to maintain a relationship with you via positive reinforcement.
Buyers realize every brand they encounter is trying to win their loyalty in one way or another. That is why they tune out so much of the marketing communication they get – or try to.
But you can still create a strong connection by showing genuine interest in them.
In 1936, Dale Carnegie laid this foundational principle – taking a genuine interest in others – at the very heart of his bestseller How to Win Friends and Influence People.
Today, 42,878,880 minutes later, everything inbound marketers do is intended to demonstrate that interest to a skeptical public.
And there may be no better way than by saying “Thank You For Your Business.”
When you take time to express that thought you are showing a real, live human being on the other end that you value the time and effort invested in you.
It is so powerful because it shows you aren’t taking the other person for granted. That’s one fundamental element that turns a transaction into a real relationship.
15 Best Ways to Say “Thank You for Your Business”
1. Write a Thank You Note
A simple card or letter is a very effective way to say thank you. A handwritten message is much more powerful than an email: It is more personal and simply takes more effort. Using a photo or a postcard can add extra flair.
2. Offer Special Discounts
Depending on the size and turnover of your average customer, discounts can make a difference. Be sure to couch this with a sentiment of real appreciation or else it may seem like just another upsell.
Dial down the sales pressure and explain why the product or service would be a great fit.
3. Launch a Reward Program
A reward program is a structured, strategic way to reinforce relationships by offering customers greater incentives the more they do business with you.
These don’t have to be discounts per se. Depending on your business, you could offer trips or other perks.
4. Give Recognition
Providing customers with prominent recognition in some enduring way can make a great impression on them.
Anything from a dedication page on an upcoming publication to a small plaque or monument that will stand for years can put real feeling behind your relationship.
5. Share “Behind the Scenes” Materials
Everyone wants to feel like an insider, and this is even true of savvy B2B decision-makers.
Your most valued customers should have the chance to see what you‘re up to and even sample your latest offerings before anyone else.
6. Create Opportunities to Provide Feedback
If you want to go one step further with the idea above, why not put your customers’ well-being front and center by asking for their feedback?
For B2B in particular, collecting and applying feedback can highlight your core customers – the ones you want for the long haul.
7. Hold Annual Customer Meetings
Larger enterprises show appreciation in part by ensuring they can reconnect with customers each year. This isn’t feasible for everyone, of course, but it works like nothing else.
There’s just no replacement for face-to-face meetings for building rapport and loyalty!
8. Make Phone Calls
Most of the time, saying “thank you for your business” should stand on its own. If you’re making a call, though, it’s a good idea to have a secondary purpose so the conversation doesn’t stall out.
For example, you can check in to be sure the solution is working as planned.
9. Anniversary Dates
The biggest date in your customer relationship is the day the agreement was signed, so why not celebrate?
If that seems stodgy, consider dates like birthdays or holidays – the New Year is a great time to reflect and let others know you’re thinking about them.
10. Schedule a “Lunch and Listen”
If you have the opportunity to visit a customer site, it’s a great time to listen to their needs. Schedule a lunch meeting with your customer and order in for everybody who’ll join the conversation.
Then, simply listen to their concerns, take those on board, and take action.
11. Provide a Meaningful Gift
Knowledge is power, and continuous learning has never been more important for business than it is today.
If you’re not quite sure what small gift will work for a customer, try sending your favorite business book. Bonus points when you include the audio version for those on the go!
12. Meet Up for Coffee
Many sales pros deal with customers from all over the United States and even the world. If you find yourself in the neighborhood, it’s always a good idea to set up a half hour lunch meeting.
This shows you are always thinking about your customers, even if you don’t see them often.
13. Set Up a “Customer Spotlight”
Here’s a secret: Customers love to have their egos stroked. So, if you’ve had great success with a particular customer, you could say “thank you for your business” by offering to include them in a case study.
This reflects well on them, boosts your marketing, and brings you closer together.
14. Send a Small Treat
Sure, everyone’s tastes are different. In general, though, a small tin of cookies will not go amiss – especially if you take the time to choose something personal.
An exquisite gourmet delicacy will not go to waste even if the customer doesn’t like it, but always try to align with their preferences!
15. Give a Charitable Gift
When features and price point no longer serve as real differentiators, buyers of all backgrounds look toward shared values to make a decision.
A charitable donation in the name of a business associate can highlight the ways in which you strive together to make the world a better place.
In today’s fast-paced, technology-mediated world, all of marketing is simply this: Moving all the distractions out of the way and putting the human element at the center.
Even the most brilliant, beautifully-designed landing page remains limited in how well it can do this. But when you take it upon yourself, then the possibilities are endless.
Making the commitment to say “thank you for your business” restores a much-needed personal dimension. Doing it regularly will foster a true brand relationship that can survive the ups and downs of occasional missteps or market shifts.
Published on May 23, 2018