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There are reams and reams of paper on which experts expound the basic concepts of networking and whilst all that is important, there is little doubt that networking's two most important words are "Thank You."
Networking is basically an active pursuit. We spend most of our networking time developing and maintaining our net work. We actively "work" our network by person-to-person contacts, by mail, by telephone, through newsletters, publicity and other techniques. Yet, even though we actively pursue the individual in our network when a particular need arises, we tend to put him or her in the past and move on to the next issue at hand - we forget the basic concept of expressing our gratitude and saying thank you.
This often overlooked function of networking is a passive function. Think about it. When was the last time a business or professional person sent you a 'Thank You" message?
We buy houses, cars, jewelry, major appliances, stereo equipment and a host of other things with big price tags...but we seldom receive "Thank You" notes or letters for our purchases. Even though the seller probably understands that in the interest of developing an enduring customer, a thank you note would go a long-long way - yet we don't and that is primarily because we do not realize it's worth and significance.
How about all of the times you have helped someone? Perhaps as a direct result of a networking situation, or the special efforts you've made in your business or profession that were really above and beyond. Were these missed opportunities for a 'Thank You?" Don't you miss the opportunity to express appreciation for special services or favors?
The Customer Is King
The first thing that they teach in business is provide "service, service, and more service! The Customer is King!" He merits it. Without him we are zilch. He is the reason for our survival and we are not doing him a favor by serving. In fact it is the other way round; he is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity of doing so. If that's really true, why not honor the king or queen? Why not say 'Thanks" to those in your network?
The fact that so few people send them, the impact of "Thank You" letters, notes, or cards is even more fantastic.
A pastor spent several hours preparing a speech for a church service, left his wife at home alone for dinner, and drove 60 miles round-trip to make the presentation. Although the speech was well received, there was no "Thank You" phone call or letter - no follow up at all. But no thank you notes were written - next time you will need his services, his enthusiasm will not be the same. On the contrary if a simple message of gratitude had been sent, he would be looking forward to the trip again.
Here's another example, to further elucidate the value of saying "Thank-You." Two old and faithful customers, opened an additional bank account, but it seems that the bank took their patronage for granted and did not receive any kind of "Thank You." They were pretty upset at the Bank's attitude and their opinion of the bank, which they had been thinking of as part of their own, declined considerably - by neglecting a simple thing, the bank ushered in feelings of alienation and betrayal where familiarity and fidelity existed.
"Thank You" As A Networking Tool
These two letters are great networking tools. They send a message to the people, that their work and gestures have been appreciated and that you look forward to their support in the future - it gives them worth and significance. Two people joined a new church. They were thrilled to receive a note expressing the minister's appreciation of their attendance at the occasion - with an added message, asking them to visit the church again. They did. A month later their two grandchildren were baptized in the same church. And again, they received a personal letter about their attending that very special celebration. For a second time, the minister didn't miss the opportunity to extend yet another invitation to come to a service...and to again say "Thank You." Can you just imagine how good that must have made them feel?
Advantages And Examples
You can begin to see the advantages of "Thank You" networking. It has impact, it's very personal, it helps build a continuing relationship with your network and it can be a form of subtle salesmanship.
Phones are perhaps the quickest and most convenient way to say 'Thank You." For important "Thank You" mail with high impact, the letter is your best bet. If you want to make your message highly personal, the note is the answer. If you're pressed for time, a "Thank You" greeting card is quick and appropriate. A cheaper and simpler way to say 'Thank You," is with a postcard, however, it is something that is now going out of vogue. In some cases, where there has been a substantial favor given, a small gift or a memento is in order.
Concept Versus Copy
The really important aspect of using the words "Thank You" is the sincerity of the writer. If after reading this article but get into a "Thank You" mode only as a copy style, you may be missing the point. The words "Thank You" reflect appreciation. For these magic words to work the writer or caller must sincerely convey a sense of appreciation.
Please understand that you may be the master of your network, but the real kings and queens are the people who dwell therein and they merit a sincere and heartfelt word of gratitude.
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