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Thanking Them … Old School


(Disclaimer:   I can’t decide if this is so simple you will think I’ve wasted your time, or that you’ve heard this so many times you simply skip it.  I hope not.  While this could be classified as very basic, I hope it’s in some way useful.)

The other day I had a discussion with someone that wants to build her referral base for her loan business.  I asked “what gesture do you make to thank your clients?”  In short, the answer was nothing.

Thank you 1.0

I pointed out the amazing success of a mutual friend (loan officer) who thanks every one of her clients by having flowers delivered to them at their office the Monday following COE.

She keeps a stock of nice thank you cards, writes a very personal note that includes highlights (… so happy we were able to reduce your monthly payment by $xx – or – … so happy to help you buy your very first home!  Financing these days is so tricky ….) and encloses 3 business cards and 3 brochures.  If she was dealing with a husband and wife (or other combo of buyers) she sends each flowers – at work.

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Genius of simplicity

Consider this:  When someone at your office gets flowers (particularly women) people swarm wanting to know who sent them and why.

The result?  Her clients proactively discussing her, most likely pointing out the highlights included in the handwritten note, plus they just happen to have her business card and brochure to hand out!

Why flowers?

Why not cookies or a gift basket or wine?  Longevity. The flowers last longer, and when delivered on a Monday will typically stay at the office the entire week.  Yummy cookies, wine or other consumables will quickly be gobbled up, or go home with your client.

The longer the flowers are visible, the more likely they are to start a conversation that could result in a referral.  Plus, for some reason flowers say “you’re special”.

According to my friend, through the years in addition to receiving referrals, she has been asked on numerous occasions to make office presentations, or stop by with more brochures.

While it takes additional time to drive to a florist and write the note by hand, she won’t sacrifice that level of personalization for the ease of ordering online.

Over the years she’s carefully cultivated a personal brand around “going the extra mile” and “highly personalized service” and this behavior demonstrates those traits even though the transaction is complete.

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In addition, when she gets a referral, whether from an agent or a previous client, what do you think she does?  Yep.  She sends flowers thus starting the referral wheel spinning all over again.

One caveat to this would be a male agent sending flowers to a male client.  Would that be awkward?  If so, I suppose it could be from your “team”.

What’s the best thank you gift you’ve received from a service provider?  And, what do you do to say thanks.

photo credit

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Written By

Brandie is an unapologetically candid marketing professional who was recently mentioned on BusinessWeek as a Top Young Female Entrepreneur. She recently co-founded consulting firm MarketingTBD. She's held senior level positions with GE and Fidelity, as well as with entrepreneurial start-ups. Raised by a real estate Broker, Brandie is passionate about real estate and is an avid investor. Follow her on Twitter.



  1. Joe Loomer

    July 30, 2009 at 6:52 am

    I’ve got a kind of weird twist to this, Brandie.

    In February, our market center held a “Thank You Agents” Open House at a very popular local restaurant. This was not for our own associates – but to thank every agent on THE OTHER SIDE of a transaction with Keller Williams Associates over the previous year.

    Our Associate Leadership Council spent a good deal of time writing personal invitations, and following up with emails and phone calls leading up to the event.

    We had tons of great food, cool door prizes, ranging from $100 Visa gift cards to free home inspections, all provided by our strategic partners. We focused on developing relationships with these agents, with a self-imposed ban on specifically asking them to come over to our firm.

    The result was our Team Leader set a ton of recruiting appointments which resulted in some immediate growth for our Brokerage. The buzz is still on the streets. We’re now known in our local area for being a positive, agent-centric operation that “takes a different kind of medication” than the rest of the local firms.

    Never underestimate the power of a good “Thank You.”

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  2. Ryan Hukill

    July 30, 2009 at 10:49 am

    Brandie, I think this is a FANTASTIC approach to thanking clients, very simply for the reasons you pointed out. It kills two birds with one stone; thanking the client and garnering some buzz around your services. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Matthew Hardy

    July 30, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    Technology will never replace the touch on a shoulder, a warm smile with sincere eye contact or the heartfelt handshake. I learned the value of the thank you note when working for Tom Hopkins and it’s stuck with me ever since. In other work, sometimes sending flowers was the *only* way to get the attention of a trusted assistant who could provide an appointment with a senior executive of a multi-billion dollar corporation. The tactile quality of paper, the expressiveness of handwriting or the sweet odor of fresh flowers speaks “human”, not “system” and people notice the difference intuitively.

    One of my sons wants to work for Apple. After his first appointment, I taught him how to write a thank you note with the instruction to get it in the mail the same day as the encounter. They followed up with him, indicated the job was virtually assured and trotted the oddity (!) of a hand-written note from a 20-something around to others in management. Everyone was stunned and pleased and they told him so.

    This is a *great* post Brandie and exactly the opposite of a waste of time. Writing a thank you note or arranging for flowers to be delivered always causes *me* to focus on the real human who will receive the gesture and connects me to them just a little bit more.

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