Positive Strokes and Nice Notes
By Jeff Davidson
An effective method for staying at the forefront of key customers’ minds is to practice the art of positive stroking. Positive stroking involves making extended efforts to let the customer or client know that he/she is important to you. Positive stroking can help to build additional sales volume, generate excellent word of mouth, and get customers talking about you so they serve as ambassadors for your business to others.
Some techniques of positive stroking are simple and obvious but would require an inordinate amount of time or resources to maintain. For example, if you run a retail store, you could personally greet all customers, send everyone thank you notes or take other measures to have direct or indirect contact with a minority of your customers.
Independent of your line of business, it is best to focus positive stroking efforts on the “upper 20 percent.” If you have the time or resources, or if your business is more conducive to it, then positive stroking techniques can be undertaking for more than just the “upper 20 percent.”
The key to effective positive stroking is taking novel approaches for maximum advantage. Many companies have initiated a policy of having the President or other appropriate officials send a personal letter to customers or clients who have made a purchase above a certain size. This is a nice positive stroke and keeps down the number of letters that have to be sent out.
Saying Thanks All the Time
Your goal is to use every weapon at your disposal to make sure that your company is positioned properly in the minds of those you wish to serve. Therefore, the “thank you” note in this electronic age is important and a strategic element of positioning.
How long should the note be? Not long: be brief and to the point. It is advisable to prepare stationary simply for this purpose. Any printer can provide any size inexpensive 4 1/2 x 5 1/2 sheets folded once. With this size, there is room only for two or three sentences which is all you wish to send anyway.
There is no harm in having a key staff assistant take charge of note sending responsibility, even signing for you. The customer is not collecting signatures, nor is the note likely to be saved for any reason. What matters is that you send it; and it is likely that you are the only company president or manager that they have heard from in the last month, last year or in their consumer life time.