This time of year, we often reflect on all the things for which we should be grateful. As a litmus test of our effectiveness as sales professionals, maybe we should be asking a different question: Are my customers grateful for me? Have I earned their gratitude? Is their gratitude based solely on the products/services I sell, or do I also provide ancillary value as a business resource? What kind of relationship do I have with my customers? Would my customers agree that I take exceptional care of them?

An excellent year-end activity is to review each customer, and identify three reasons they should be grateful for you. Then brainstorm two or three additional things you could do to earn even more appreciation. This simple exercise is an excellent start to your growth plan for 2017!

We work hard on behalf of our customers every day, but that is not enough. We must be sure we are doing the right things for maximum benefit to our customers and their companies. We must also be sure our day-to-day rules of engagement cultivate customer gratitude:

  • Be Proactive
  • Be Available
  • Be Responsive
  • Be Accountable

It is a well-known fact that business from existing customers is far more profitable than acquiring new customers. Estimates for the cost of new customer acquisition range from 5-30 times greater than the cost of customer retention. Given this data, it is hard to imagine a better use of our energy than cultivating customer gratitude and loyalty.