Two little words that can make or break business beyond the sale

Saying thank you is an effective way to express customer appreciation

As children, we’re taught that it’s good manners to say thank you. In fact we say thank you all the time: when we’re given a gift; when a favour is done for us; when we’re provided assistance; or simply when someone passes the salt. But, how often do we say thank you in business…beyond the sale? 

By 2020, customer experience will surpass price and product as the key differentiator

Customer appreciation events and user-group conferences are tremendous opportunities for customers—both new and longstanding—to learn about new products, share ideas, and network with their peers. It’s a great way for a company to say thank you and further strengthen the customer relationship.  

The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60% to 70%, while the probability of selling to a new prospect is 5% to 20% 

While an event that meets the caliber of a user group conference might not seem feasible for your business, there are many other events that you can hold to express your thanks. They range in size and scope, depending, of course, on the size of your customer base, and they can take the shape of golf tournaments, open houses, holiday parties, sporting events, celebrations, and others. 

A company can increase profits by 25% to 95% by raising retention rates by as little as 5%

State of Customer Success: 2016 

Ways to say thank you

But what if holding events just isn’t your thing. What other opportunities are there to say thank you? 

Use your CRM  Your CRM system is a goldmine of information. In addition to storing contact and job information, you can use it to record things like the anniversary date of the first job produced, or perhaps the last. Set up alerts that remind your sales team to say thank you, whether it’s by email, snail mail, or a good old-fashioned phone call. 

Tradeshows  The number-one question I get after attending a tradeshow is how many leads did we get? While lead generation is typically a show’s primary objective, don’t lose sight of the tremendous opportunity it provides to (re)connect with your customers. Say thank you with a nice dinner, or perhaps a private reception. 

Existing customers are 50% more likely to try new products and spend 31% more, when compared to new customers

Thank you/greeting cards (aka snail mail) In a digital world, receiving a hand-written thank you is no longer common practice. As printers you are at a distinct advantage, with access to designers, paper choices, unique finishes, and more. What a great way to showcase your shop’s capabilities – simply by saying thank you for your business. 

Announcements  Did you recently get some new equipment? Are you expanding your services? While press releases are a great way to get the word out to the masses, personalizing the message to your loyal customer base is sure to get the machines humming. Don’t be shy, let them know what’s new and what’s coming. Better yet, invite them to an exclusive preview, before you announce it to the public and/or post it to your website. 

86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience

– State of Customer Success: 2016 

Loyalty/Referral program  It’s common practice to offer discounts for new business. However, if you publicize special discounts to new customers only—ie. 10% off your first order—you risk alienating your existing customers. The solution? Why not say thank you publicly to your loyal customers by giving them incentives as well. For example, receive 10% off your next order with any new referral (insert caveats, of course). Or draw inspiration from the plethora of loyalty programs out there: for every X amount of dollars spent, earn points/dollars towards future purchases. 

Introductions  Referrals work both ways. Perhaps you have a customer who is in real estate and another who provides landscaping. Making an introduction costs little, but the value of a newly forged, profitable relationship is not soon forgotten. Pretty soon, they’ll be saying thank you to you… with even more repeat business.

Remember: It is six to seven times more expensive to attract a new customer than it is to retain an existing one

– ThinkJar 

Thank you. Two little words that can make or break business beyond the sale.


Joanne Gore

Joanne Gore is a B2B marketer who’s passionate about print and has spent the last three decades helping companies maximize their marketing and communications efforts. Founder of Joanne Gore Communications, she helps companies tell their story to a new generation of print and business buyers. Email: Follow her on Twitter: @joannegore121