Current Issue
Published on September 17, 2002

Customers like to hear 'thank you'



What is the first thing your mother taught you to say after “Ma Ma” and “Da Da?”

Of course it was “Thank you.”

Have you noticed people do not say thank you much anymore? And most of the time when they do, you feel they are only going through the motions. You don't get the feeling they really mean it.

Retailers cannot say thank you too many times. I am sure most salespeople say thank you at the time of a sale. But if you really want to make an impression on your customer (and who doesn't?), say thank you when they don't expect it. They will be delighted, and their delight will turn into future sales.

Always send a thank-you card, no matter how small the sale in dollar value. Many additional large-value sales were made in my retail stores (furniture, appliance, electronics, jewelry) because we sent thank-you notes to our video rental customers.

Try it. Test your market, and you will be amazed at the response. When we first started sending thank-you notes we were amazed.

We got thank-you notes back from the customers thanking us for the thank-you notes. When our employees delivered items to customers to whom we had previously sent thank-you notes they sometimes would see those notes posted on their refrigerators. And, of course, those very satisfied customers told many of their friends about us.

Send a thank-you note within 24 hours after:

* making the sale;

* signing an agreement;

* holding a meeting,

* agreeing to hold a meeting.

Four rules of thank-you notes:

1) Hand write your thank-you notes whenever possible. I say when possible, because some of us have such bad handwriting we must type our thank-you notes.

Sure, store-bought thank-you notes look expensive and nice, but I think you lose the opportunity to build a relationship with your customer or prospect if they don't believe you really put yourself into the creation of the note.

2) Make the note about your customer. Never start with thank you. Start with something about the customer, their business or people. The easiest way to make your note about the customer is to start with the word you or your. (eg. “You were very nice to—,” “Your people are —,” “You have a company that—,” or “Your people show—.”)

3) Always personally sign the note. I always sense the lack of thought the person put into the effort when I receive a pre-printed thank-you note with the company name, message and many times the sender's name preprinted and they do not take the time to personally sign it.

As your mother always told you, “You can't say thank you too many times.”


Dear Reader,

You are very kind to read my column each month. Thank you for your interest and feedback on sales and marketing subjects that affect business today and your sales and profits. If I can ever be of help to you, contact me.

Thanks again,

Bob Janet

Sales Growth Now

Bob Janet is a professional marketing consultant and conference speaker living in Matthews, N.C.


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