73. How important is recognition to your customers?

Even the person who brushes it off as being unimportant has within them a natural desire to be recognized. If you sent a greeting card to 10 people you know with only one word on it - CONGRATULATIONS - at least 8 of them would believe they did something to be recognized for.

There are many ways to give a customer recognition. It can be tied in to anything that is important to your company:

"Customer of the year"

"Largest order"

"First order"

"New item purchased"

"Customer since 1902".

The important point to keep in mind is not to wait for the end of the year, or for your company to come up with a program. Be creative and do something on your own.

It doesn't take long to take business away from a sales person who foolishly take their customers for granted. Most of the time when we call on new or prospective accounts we feel like we are bothering them or causing them some type of inconvenience. Because of this feeling we sometimes convince ourselves that it is not necessary to make the call. Just the opposite is true. Most people like to be called on by sales people. Many times their current suppliers are neglecting them, taking the business for granted. By making the call and giving them the attention that may be missing, leaves the door wide open.

Whenever targeting a new account, the best approach is to contact the daylights of them. Call them for any reason at all. Write letters. Send clippings. Take an aggressive approach and rush them half to death. It works. There is a tendency for a sales person to let up once they have the business.

Animal trainers pet and reward their animals with delicacies for acts of obedience. Children respond with joy when they are given recognition. Even vegetation grows better for those who love it.

No one seems to know Just how praise and recognition releases energy. But the fact that it does is common experience. Ever notice how, when someone pays you a sincere compliment, or thanks you for a job well done, your spirits seem to get a shot in the arm?

The lift that you get from recognition is not an illusion. Neither is it just your imagination. In some way, unknown to science, actual physical energy is released.

Recognition and appreciation is even more powerful when the person does not expect it, or necessarily feel that he or she deserves it. Think back to some time when you got a nice "thank you" from someone where it never occurred to you that any "thanks" were in order and you'll see what I mean.

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