The most important tool in sales

07.02.11 | Posted in General Networking

I’ve got a confession to make. I like mowing. Yep, mowing the lawn. Maybe it’s the fact that I think it’s grown up that we even have a lawn to mow; maybe it’s the fact that it gets me outdoors and I get to zone out for a bit, or maybe it’s because no one can talk to me over the noise of the lawnmower. It’s nice to be unreachable for a bit.

Ah .... mowing

On the weekend I mowed our backyard, then our front lawn and then ‘the bit’ (technical term) out the front, by the street. Just as I was finishing up, I had a thought to do our neighbour’s ‘front bit’ too. It was really overgrown and probably hadn’t been touched in months. So over I went (in the 37 degree heat, pregnant belly and all) and mowed their lawn. I just did it to help out – I don’t know that neighbour but I did know her husband (before he moved out and left her) so I suppose I felt a bit sorry for the family too. While I was mowing her kids stuck her head over the fence to say hi.

Tonight I saw my neighbour, and she didn’t say thanks.

Now, that’s cool. I didn’t do it to be thanked, in the same way as when you refer business to someone, you don’t do it to be thanked. But, positive encouragement and gratitude can go such a long way. People are more likely to repeat their behaviour if you really show your thanks. So, next time my neighbour’s lawn looks unkempt, am I now likely to rush for my lawnmower?

Just before Christmas last year a friend of mine set up a lunch with a potential partner (for Business Chicks). She also made the effort to be at the lunch and she was spot on with her prediction – we hit it off with the partner and we’re now working together. Who was the first person I rang when my sales and marketing director got the news? It was the lady who had set the meeting up. We then followed up with a card and flowers. Point is, she didn’t have to make the intro, nor set up the lunch, but she did and we so appreciated it.

Considering myself somewhat of a networker, I’m constantly referring business to different suppliers and companies. I get a kick out of it, and again, I don’t do it for the thanks, but it’s nice to be acknowledged if deals come off that I’ve initiated. Just recently I introduced a contact to a company and they ended up winning a big tender from it (that they didn’t even know about before I’d mentioned it) but I heard nothing from that contact afterwards. Will I be likely to go out of my way again for that company? Hmm, no, not out of my way.

There lies the most important tool you can pick up in sales. No, it’s not a lawnmower, it’s just the simple art of saying thanks. It need not be a bunch of flowers or a card, but just a phone call with a genuine thank you can go a long way.

How have you thanked others that have helped you get ahead?


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  1. Jodie Benveniste

    Emma – this is a great article. And so very true. It does take effort for someone to think of your business and make connections for you. But it takes very little effort to thank that person for their efforts. Amazing that people don’t do this more.

  2. Debbie

    Firstly, congrats on being preggas again! Look out for double trouble. It’s fab but oh so busy, especially when trying to run a business too!

    Anyway, so true about saying thank you.

    For my own Coaching Business I’ve gone with the same ethos as you. Even though I’m just building it up again I try not to forgot those who help along the way. I wrote a similar blog to you pre-Xmas,

    Love that you love the lawn mowing, I call the bit out the front a “Nature Strip” and my British Hubby thinks that’s quite hilarious given we live in Inner city Melbourne!!!

    Thank you for writing great blog articles, take care

  3. Emma

    The nature strip! That’s it Debbie. Will be sure to check out your similar article and thanks so much for your comment.

  4. Suzy

    I felt really let down when a friend asked me to mind her 2 girls while she went to overseas for a wedding. It really was a pleasure to have them – but when they returned the girls got a Kindle, and American doll and clothes. I got precisely nothing except a vague mention they would reciprocate if ever we wanted to go away….As mother’s one of our biggest gifts we can give our children gracious manners. And that starts with leading by example.

  5. Stacey Sullaphen

    Great article and I am with Jodie, I am surprised more people don’t do this. In my one short year of business, I am learning that far too many operate from a position of fear and lack. There is room for all of us and collaboration, not competition is what truly propels business and individuals, to greater heights! Thanks for sharing. Stace x PS I have never mowed in my life :)

  6. Jeanie

    Your absolutely right, a small thank you means a lot !!
    PS I wish I knew who brings our bins in and lawns our ‘bit’ out the front. If I knew, I’d say thanks! Maybe I need to put Christmas cards in all the nearby letterboxes to make sure I cover it. Now why didn’t I think of that a few months ago.