Thank you! How many times have you said these two simple, but wonderful words to the clients who have supported your business? Are they repeat clients? Do they continue to support your business when they're in need of your product or service? Or, have you been so caught up in making money that you've forgotten to tell your clients thank you? If so, shame on you.
It seems amazing, but it's true: Sending a simple thank-you note to a client who has just solicited your business for the first time can wield considerable power and influence, and reflect very favorably on your company for future purchases. Why? Several reasons:
By sending a thank-you note, you show your clients common courtesy and respect. Unfortunately, in our information-overloaded, busy and often impolite world, we simply don't acknowledge each other's time, efforts and patronage. So in sending a thank-you note, you tell your client in no uncertain terms that you appreciate and value the time he/she has taken to patronize your company. After all, they (your client) had to give up all or part of their day to learn about your business and the products or services you have to offer.
So few new business owners send thank-you notes that you automatically stand out if you do. It's shocking, but many new business owners fail to send thank-you notes particularily to new clients who are patronizing their business for the very first time. Why? Who knows? But the bottom line is that you wind up in a position to shine (above your competitors) simply by putting forth the effort of sending a thank-you note. It's strange, but true.
A thank-you note gives you (the virtual business owner) an opportunity to speak to your client directly and even more important personally. Have you ever wished you'd more strongly emphasized a particular product or service your client seemed to be looking for? A thank-you note gives you the chance to do just that. After using the first paragraph of your note to thank your client, you can use a brief second paragraph to touch upon key points of which are of interest to your client (example: discount sales, special holiday sales, etc.).
A thank-you note demonstrates your written communication skills. In receiving and reading your thank-you note, your client will see firsthand how you handle yourself on paper. Clients also get to see firsthand that customer service is an important aspect of your business practices and that there are real people (behind the scenes) who understand the importance of building long-term relationships.
Writing thank-you notes isn't terribly difficult or time-consuming. If you'd like some ideas on how to write a thank you note, I recommend investing in the wonderful book titled:
"How to Say it" by Rosalie Maggio, a must have in your virtual office library. Then, be sure to follow through, preferably the same day a client patronizes your business. It can have a much bigger impact than you might think -- perhaps even the difference between that client becoming a repeat customer or soliciting the products or services of your competitor.
About the writer: Victoria Parham is a military spouse and the president and chief technology officer for VSSCyberOffice.com, a forerunner in the virtual support services industry, and an advocate of portable careers for trailing spouses and family members. Its web-based Virtual Business Owners Training Program, the first virtual careers program for Department of Defense and Military ID cardholders, is available online