Sales are based on relationships. In this increasing impersonal world we all crave personalized attention. Your buyers are no different. Where there’s a choice, and there usually is, your customer buys you more than your product.
A personal note from you, or even better, a short, real-time word of thanks makes them feel appreciated. This alone can be a big factor in customer loyalty. You suddenly become more than a vendor, now you are a supporter. That impression is stronger than your product, and creates a lasting bond.
After all, you should be thankful for their business. It’s ultimately how your brand is valued by your industry, creditors, and ultimately, acquirers. Some call it “good will” and that’s an appropriate name for the value of continuing business.
Your brand’s value is based on the continuing and increasing performance of everyone who makes your business a success. So why not insure your brand value with some timely words of appreciation to all those you rely on?
Staff. Your people are your greatest asset. Their know-how, relationships and loyalty save you the expense of turnover with all of its attendant costs. Find something they did recently and tell them how much you appreciate it.
Vendors. They are a critical part of your team. If they like the way they are treated, they are more likely to provide the best prices, close outs, and other opportunities to you first. Tell them how much you appreciate them and you will get even better service.
Suppliers. You are dependent on various companies to provide you with materials for your products. Their continuing supply, quality and price are critical to your success, so thank them for it. When you show them you are a true partner, they will be more likely to increase your credit and terms.
Customers. Don’t take them for granted. Give them additional reasons to buy your brand. Acknowledge them for their continuing loyalty, and recognize that they have a choice. Treat them with personalized attention.
Investors. If you are a start-up or experiencing growing pains, your investors have been worried. They stuck with you through thick and thin. Many wound up investing more than they planned. Thank them for sticking it out, and let them know that you appreciate what they have at stake.
Family. You depend on your family for stability on the home front while you tackle the instabilities of the marketplace. If you’re anything like we were, you put in long hours and often travel away from your home and family. Let them know you are aware of the price they pay for your success and how much you appreciate their sacrifice.
When you give a sincere, personalized thank you, you are viewed as a real person, not just a company, not just a product, and not just a brand. You’re saying you know your income is dependent on others, and that you are grateful for their choice. By giving others respect and making them feel important, you create a human bond that helps secure loyalty.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and thank you for reading our blogs. We love to share our experiences and lessons learned, and hope you find them helpful in your brand-building adventures.
Who Are We.
Having built and sold a bestselling national brand, we appreciate the value of brands and everything it takes to make them successful. Companies are valued by their brand equity. Achieving and maximizing brand equity requires tremendous respect for all your customers, from your wholesaler to your end user.
Starting in our laundry room with no money and no knowledge of the industry, we built the famous Barefoot Wine brand. We learned a lot they don’t teach in school and much of it the hard way. Although our success was in consumer products, our real world experience will be helpful to anyone looking for information and advice about brands.
We have written the New York Times Bestselling Business Book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand, which chronicles the history of the famous brand from its inception through its acquisition. Our book is now required reading in schools of entrepreneurship across the country. We hope this book will provide inspiration and encouragement for all those contemplating starting a brand or wanting to improve their existing brand.
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey
-Barefoot Wine Founders