If there is a giant that is fast asleep in the marketing and sales world of many individuals (who need good jobs, friends, funding, publicity, etc), businesses (that need strategic partners, repeat clients and result rendering staff) and not-for-profit organizations (that need sustaining donors and dedicated staff and volunteers), it is the good old “Thank you”.

It is so fast asleep these days that in many homes, children neglect to thank their parents regularly for their inestimable love and sacrificial provisions, and spouses deem it unnecessary to say “Thank you” to each other because they believe their significant others are merely doing their duty. While the duty part is true, “Thank you” encourages a doer to do more and better. Yes, the more you thank people for the good thing they did, even when they didn’t do it as well as you would have liked, or did it as part of their routine, the more you encourage them to do more and better.

Ever helped a friend, colleague or relative with job or sales leads, transit accommodation, packing for relocation or funding for a project and did not get a “Thank you” because they felt your help was inadequate, belated or especially obligatory? You might not be inclined to help them again as readily as you did.

Attending a friend or favorite politician’s event usually involves foregoing something else that is also competing for your valuable time, energy, money and other resources. The same is true of buying from Business A or donating to Nonprofit B. You often have good options competing for your attention, interest and money. So, getting no “Thank you” could be a real door closer, which is sad especially when it is notably easier and cheaper to get existing clients and donors to keep buying and donating respectively than to get new ones. In fact, organizations with savvy marketing strategies deem it necessary to up-sell to them so they buy more or donate more.

As I had stated in an earlier chapter of this book, one of the reasons people don’t get repeat print media coverage and well rated TV and radio show invitations is they did not say “Thank you” during and after their first appearance, perhaps out of naiveté or quintessential hubris. And they keep wondering why their events, views, causes, products and services are not gaining much needed news media traction. Listen! Even the most objective news media professional is not a stone but a human being with a desire to be appreciated and recognized, a desire for your sincere “Thank you”.

I don’t mean to sound “religious” here but even Jesus had wondered why only one of the ten lepers he healed returned to say “Thank you” and it was only that “Thank you” bearing one that he made whole. And rightly so! As for the imperfect me, if someone does not thank me for a favor I did for them, they have simply told me they need no more favor from me, and I justifiably take it that way – with no exceptions. On the other hand, a “Thank you” tells me the person values my help and contributions and is open for more. Consequently, I tend not to wait for them to ask for my help. I offer to help as soon as I see they need it.

And I must tell you “Thank you” has brought me immense favors and helped in no little way to deepen some of my most valuable social and business relationships and partnerships around the world. I have always believed that “Thank you” makes every relationship more exciting and rewarding.

Or why do you think savvy politicians hardly start their stomp speeches or keynotes without thanking a litany of people? They would thank event organizers, top campaign aides, fellow political heavyweights, and, of course, the general audience, receiving applause for so doing. It really works! People so thanked feel appreciated and motivated to work tirelessly for them, knocking on more doors, spiritedly spreading their message online and through phone calls, and even hosting their own house parties that go a long way in making the savvy politicians look more compelling, more prominent and closer to victory.

Let’s look at it another way. What purpose do Mother’s Day, National Teachers Day, Father’s Day, Memorial Day, Armed Forces Day, Grandparents’ Day and International Nurses Day serve but to give us a great opportunity to say heartfelt “Thank you” to those who have done and continue to do so much for us? But we shouldn’t have to wait for those earmarked days to do so. How about thanking our mothers, fathers, grandparents, nurses, teachers, uniformed personnel often? Certainly, they deserve it.

And so do your customers, affiliates and referrers as an online or brick and mortar business, or your donors and volunteers as a nonprofit. They deserve your regular “Thank you” to keep giving you their patronage, support, collaboration and loyalty and to ultimately become your brand evangelists, helping you extend your network, revenue potentials and impact in society.

Now, I cannot tell you the best way to say “Thank you” to people in your target audience because I say it in different ways to different people based on my judgment of what will work best at any given time. Face-to-face, phone call, handwritten or printed card, automated mass email or single personalized email, bucket of flowers, party, referral, complimentary autographed copy of my books, just name it. All I am concerned about is that you say it in a timely manner and as regularly as practicable. Some have advised that instead of saying “Thank you” by email or phone, individuals, small businesses and nonprofits should send handwritten notes because recipients supposedly appreciate them better. I would rather say it is better to say “Thank you” quickly via email, phone or handshake than to wait for weeks to send a handwritten note that may arrive when the recipient has moved on to something or someone else.

Like Wal-Mart or not, there is something powerful and instructive about the greeters it places at the entrance of its stores. They greet you as you come in to spend your money and as you leave the door with loads of things you’ve bought, thus making you feel special and appreciated. Besides, the receipt you get from most big stores has a “Thank you” on it, and if you buy from big online stores like Amazon.com, you will get an instant receipt cum “Thank you” note by email and a clear explanation of what to expect. You are not kept in suspense. You are made aware of when your goods will ship, has shipped and will arrive, and I strongly believe every professional, small businesses or nonprofit can emulate them cost-effectively.

Are you making a business presentation to some corporate executives? Thank them for the opportunity to make the presentation. Contracted to keynote a conference or present a seminar? Remember to thank both the organizers and the attendees. Just received a fellowship? Thank your benefactor. Organizing an event? Send a “Thank you” note to attendees and sponsors a day after.

Simply put, whatever you do that is positive and wherever you do it, it is necessary to thank and appreciate the people helping you do it. They won’t forget. And they will reward you handsomely for it. Got it?

Widely traveled C. Paschal Eze is the go-to guy for professionals, politicians and presidents/CEO in different parts of the world who need game-change ideas and strategies. His 10 well regarded books include Prominence Power Kit, For Blacks (and others) Who Really Care, all available on www.amazon.com. Follow him now on Twitter @CPaschalEze

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