The Art of Appreciation – by Jennie Norris, ASPM, IAHSP
“Thank you.” Two simple words that hold the power to elevate another’s attitude and validate a relationship. Why don’t we hear these words more often? When my children were little, it was one of the first things I taught them – to be appreciative and say, “Thank you,” when someone did something for them or gave them something. It is something that has to be taught as it is not an automatic, and it is something that shows good manners from childhood forward. Why then as we enter the business world, does it seem so rare to receive a “Thank you” for a job well done? Showing appreciation to our clients should be on the top of our list, but somewhere along the way, it seems that the “loyal client” is forgotten or taken for granted in the quest to add more clients to our roster. When I work with a client, of course I like to be appreciated for how hard I work, the services I provide, the extra effort I put in to a project, and how our whole team wants to make the client happy and have a success story to tell when our Staged houses sell. We make sure to appreciate our clients, and I am always shocked when I am not treated respectfully or with appreciation when I have the “client hat” on. I often say to myself, “If I treated my clients the way I have been treated by this company I would be out of business.” As an ASP I feel that it is vital that our professional standards continue to set us apart from others that have not been taught that Home Staging is a viable business, and that honoring our client, and our relationships is the foundation to our success. Showing appreciation is vitual for the longevity of any business and business owner. A saying or adage I really like is “It is easier to keep a current client happy than it is to find a new one.” How true. So how can we show appreciation for our clients? It’s as simple as 1-2-3. 1. Send thank you cards – handwritten. Never under-estimate the power of the pen! The written word is powerful – the sentiments we can share in a short amount of space when we sincerely express gratitude goes miles in locking our clients in to us for the long haul. 2. Give little appreciation gifts. This is not about spending a lot of money on things – it’s about giving little tokens of appreciation. One of my favorite things to give to my clients is a Starbucks Gift Card with a note that says, “You’re a Star in My Book.” The gift cards is usually about $5 – enough for a cup of coffee and a pastry, but the thought is what counts and I have received “Thank you cards” for my thank you cards! 3. Give Referrals. One of the best ways to show appreciation is to give a referral to your client. Remember what they do for a living and send business their way. Make sure that whoever you do refer mentions your name – so that your client knows that you want to help them succeed too. Follow these simple suggestions for showing appreciation to your clients, and you will have a loyal client base that does value your relationship, send you referrals, and is with you for many years to come.