"Attitude of Gratitude"

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No Thank You
by Joe Bonura, CSP

 

Iona Kupiec was my high school English teacher who introduced me to opera, poetry, Greek mythology, the arts, and The Reader's Digest® (School Edition). The students thought she was a very strange English teacher. We were supposed to be learning grammar, sentence structure, punctuation, and verb conjugations. Yet, when I look back, the teacher who had the most influence in my high school years was Ms. Kupiec. Later in my life, because of her positive influence and ardent love for the arts, I served on the Board of Directors of The Kentucky Opera, I delight in poetry and Greek mythology, and I continue to enjoy The Reader's Digest.

There is only one problem: I did not thank Ms. Kupiec for her influence in my life.

 

Power Words
Thank You are two powerful words in the English language, especially in selling and serving customers, and yet, few sales people take advantage of the power of appreciation.
 
Don't Call Us - We Will Call You
When a sales rep and I called on a large printing company, we discovered that the purchasing director had left the company, so we asked to see the president of the company. The president was gracious to visit with us, and he told us that the new director would be in place in four weeks.
 
Note This
When we completed the sales call, I asked the sales rep if he had thank-you cards in the car. He didn't so we drove to the nearest store to purchase some thank-you cards. He had no stamps, so we went to the post office. We immediately sent the company president a thank-you note for taking the time to visit with us. Four weeks later, the president called and wanted our sales representative to stop by to meet the new purchasing director. When asked what made him call us, he said that it was the thank-you note that we sent four weeks earlier.
 
North To Alaska
When my wife Carol and I were on vacation in Alaska several years ago, we shopped at a Nordstrom store, and she bought a nice robe in the lingerie department. As she paid for the merchandise, the sales lady handed Carol a coupon to be redeemed in four weeks for a complimentary pair of stockings. Carol sadly responded that we would be home in Louisville in four weeks. The girl smiled, finished writing up our order, and thanked us for shopping at Nordstrom.
 
What's In Your Mailbox?
Five weeks later, back in Louisville, I found a small box in the mailbox. The return address was Nordstrom, Alaska. I brought the package inside and asked Carol what other purchases she made at Nordstrom. She was as confused as I was until she opened the box. There inside the box was a complimentary pair of stockings with a lovely thank-you note from the sales clerk. It read, "Dear Mrs. Bonura, Thank you so much for shopping at Nordstrom on your visit to Alaska. I knew you would not have an opportunity to return to get your stockings, so I am sending them to you. Thanks again, and if ever you are in the neighborhood, please stop in and say hello." WOW! Did she make a friend for Nordstrom for Life? Yes, she did! Carol and I seek out Nordstrom whenever we are traveling.
 
Thank You For The Thank You
Many people in my training programs tell me stories of how they sent thank-you notes and received thank-you notes from the clients, thanking them for the thank-you notes. People are so unaccustomed to being thanked that they thank us for thanking them.
 
It's A Heart Thing
Thank-you's have to come from the heart, not from the cash register. A friend of mine was standing in line at a convenience store watching the clerk ignore customers. He said that he was so upset that when his turn came, he asked the clerk, "Aren't you going to say thank you?" The clerk pulled the receipt out of his hand and replied, "It says it right here on the receipt." Do not let high-tech take the place of high-touch.
 
The Extra Mile
Recently, I went to Highland Cleaners to pick up my clothes for an extended business trip. Because of their excellent attitude and customer service, Carol and I have been taking our clothes to Highland for 20 years. I was late in leaving my clothes before the holiday weekend, and when I arrived to get them, the clothes had not arrived from the downtown processing plant. I told them that I needed the clothes, especially the suits, for a convention that I would be attending. The store manager Becky said that she would go downtown, pick up the clothes, and deliver them to my house. One hour later, she was at my doorstep with the clothes that I needed for my trip. When I opened the door, she thanked me for my business and apologized for the mix-up. She was thanking me for my mistake in getting the clothes in late!
 
Little Things Mean A Lot
I once mentioned to Becky how much I like the little clips that the cleaners put on the shirtsleeves to hold them in place. The clips are great for holding my tie down by clipping to the underside of my tie. The next time Carol went to pick up the dry-cleaned clothes, Becky had an envelope full of the shirt clips for me.
This is the kind of service and appreciation that we expect and hope for from those who serve us. Here are some simple, but powerful, actions to stand out in a world of poor customer appreciation:
 
  1. Always say thank you at the point of sale.
  2. Send a thank-you note as soon as you leave their place of business.
  3. Leave a thank-you message on voice mail.
  4. Develop an attitude of gratitude.

    Where, Oh Where, Has Ms. Kupiec Gone?
For many years, I thought about seeking out Ms. Kupiec to say thank you. I put it off with excuses like: I will never be able to find her; she has probably left the world by now; I don't know where to look. Well, a few months ago, I typed her name in my computer search engine, and I found her! Sadly, she had passed away in 1999, which meant that I could have said thank you on many occasions. She had left New Orleans to live in a small town in Mexico called Ajijic. I passed the information on to a fellow classmate Cecil Dobbs who subsequently traveled to Ajijic and visited with several of Ms. Kupiec's friends. He discovered that she founded a theater group in the town and gave generously what little money she had to help establish a home for the deaf. She became a philanthropist with the few dollars she had to her name. The townspeople loved her and named the theater after her when she died.
 
Never Too Late

Thank You, Ms. Kupiec, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!

 

© 1997 Joe Bonura & Associates, Inc.


To see Joe and hear one of his favorite selling tips, follow this link to a video he created to share with folks who are interested in making more sales, or finding a job:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9AyPsDMu0I

 

REPRINT info:
Joe Bonura would be pleased for you to reprint the article text free of charge (non-exclusively), but asks that you include his name and contact information:

Joe Bonura
Joe Bonura & Associates, Inc.
Website: www.bonura.com
407 Landis Lakes Court
Louisville, KY  40245

(502) 553-1746 phone

E-mail: joe@bonura.com


About Joe Bonura

His background is unique. Joe owned and operated a highly successful advertising agency for 18 years. During that time, he found his advertising campaigns were more effective when he educated his clients in the areas of sales and service. He conducted training seminars for his clients as added value. Word spread that Joe was a quality speaker and more and more people asked him to speak. The demand became so high that he sold the agency to three of his associates to start his own speaking and consulting company, Joe Bonura & Associates, Inc.

Joe is past President of the Kentucky Speakers Association and a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), a prestigious designation earned by only 8% of the 3,600 member National Speakers Association. Joe presently serves on the board of directors of NSA.

He is author of the audio learning systems "Three-Dimensional Selling®" and "Turning Customer Satisfaction Into Customer Excitement®." He is author of the book Throw the Rabbit—The Ultimate Approach to Three-Dimensional Selling.

Click here TO ENGAGE JOE BONURA FOR A TRAINING SEMINAR AT YOUR COMPANY

 

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