In Dale Carnegie’s ultra best-seller (multi-millions of copies have been sold), How To Win Friends and Influence People, he pinpointed what he calls, “The Biggest Secret of Dealing with People”. It is Chapter Two of the book. He identifies that the “deepest urge in human nature is the desire to feel important” and “the craving to be appreciated”. If you have this book, re-read this chapter. It is full of real stories, that include among others, John D. Rockefeller and Charles Schwab, that illustrate the power of appreciation.
When we honestly and sincerely appreciate someone it makes us feel good. It also makes the other person feel good. All those good emotions attract more good feelings and good things to us and those we make feel good.
So, how do you get Appreciation working for you? First off, you must start with yourself. One of the ways I practice appreciation is by keeping a journal of all the things I am grateful for. Sometimes I am grateful for big things like new clients and sometimes it may be little things I typically take for granted like the delicious cup of coffee in the morning or my ability to exercise at the gym. All this gratitude reflection makes me feel good as I begin my day and downplays any not so good things that may be going on in my life.
To extend this gratitude practice into your business, focus on your employees or co-workers and your clients. Often times with employees, we do not show them enough appreciation. We are quick to point out when something is done wrong and slow to show praise when things are done right. If what Dale Carnegie found to be the deepest urge among humans to be true, showing appreciation to your employees on a regular basis will make a huge impact on your business. The same goes for your clients. After all, they are people too. Imagine how a much a gratitude strategy (like gifts for referrals) could change your business!
Here are some inexpensive and relatively easy ways you can show your appreciation whether it be an employee, team member or client:
1. Personal Notes
These notes should be thoughtful and unexpected. There are a variety of reasons for which you could send a personal note. My suggestion is that when you are truly pleased or enjoy something someone does, send them a note and let them know. You will make their day and make them feel good, important, and appreciated.
2. Greeting Cards
Don’t forget to remember special occasions-birthdays, anniversaries, holidays. Even events that aren’t so pleasant should be acknowledged. This let’s them know you really do care.
Who doesn’t love food? It is always a welcome gift no matter what it is. Cookies, candy, cupcakes, specialty coffees. I remember a client bringing us banana splits one hot summer day. How thoughtful that was! I still have a special place in my heart for this person even though she no longer is at the same company and I haven’t heard from her in years.
4. Small Gifts of Meaning
When you see something that reminds you of someone and know they would appreciate it, buy it and give it to them. It doesn’t have to be expensive. It just has to have meaning to them.
Showing appreciation can do so much more than make you and the other person feel good. It will set you apart from your competitors, it will increase retention, it will increase loyalty, it will increase your sales, it will bring you referrals. Most importantly it will build wonderful, long-lasting relationships to be treasured for your lifetime.