Why Gratitude is a Powerful Business Tool

It’s Monday morning, and you’re at work. It’s almost noon, but the day has already been beyond hectic. 

Your coworker, whom you’re close with, asks if you’d like to get lunch. But you’re booked with back-to-back meetings. You check your calendar to see if you can grab a quick bite and realize… your next free block of time is at… 2:30pm. Your stomach growls at the thought of waiting two and a half hours to eat. 

Since you can’t move your meetings, you explain your situation and decline the invite. For now, your hunger will have to hold off.

By the time 2:30pm rolls around, you’re feeling famished. After your final meeting wraps up, you arrive back at your desk and see that your coworker bought you your favorite Mexican Caesar  salad from Chop’t.

You’re delighted that they thought of you. Not only are you thankful for the gesture, but now, you’re even more appreciative of your relationship. As you begin chewing your lettuce leaves, you start to strategize about how you can pay them back. 

Creating this feeling of reciprocity goes beyond personal relationships and coworker collaboration: it’s applicable for your professional partnerships too. The key to spawning similar sentiments with your prospects and clients? Try practicing gratitude. 

Why Do We Give?

Why do we give to begin with? 

In the anecdote above, your coworker got you lunch not only after sympathizing (or empathizing) with your situation, but also because he or she has a positive regard for your relationship, and felt inclined to express it.

However, in general, it’s no secret that people like receiving complimentary items. Whether it’s absorbing ungated answers to our questions via Google or Tweeting a complaint to a company in hopes of receiving a free product or reimbursement, we’ve become conditioned to expect concessions, especially from companies that we buy from or partner with. 

According to GetCRM, 70% of email readers open emails from a brand or company in search of a deal, discount, or coupon. And this doesn’t differ generationally. 39% of millennials and 38% of Gen Xers like receiving freebies. Even 25% of Baby Boomers like it when businesses give them an occasional free offering. 

So what value do businesses gain from this form of giving? For B2C companies, the primary goal behind the giveaways is to turn consumers into brand loyalists with the hope that they’ll purchase to the point of becoming company advocates. 

But how does this differ in the B2B space?

Well, research conducted by ASI highlights that the main reasons businesses give to clients and prospects are to:  

  1. Express their appreciation (76%)
  2. Help develop their relationships (62%)
  3. Generate company goodwill (55%)
  4. Increase company awareness (43%) 
  5. Obtain referrals (23%)
  6. Generate leads (23%)
  7. Procure sales (29%)

In general, 89% of C-Suite executives believe grateful expressions bring people closer together. So, paralleling how you value your relationship with your coworker more now that they’ve gone out of their way to comp your salad, practicing similar gestures of appreciation with your professional contacts will allow you to grow your partnerships and will help these individuals become inherently predisposed to doing business with your company. 

These types of contributions don’t just produce positivity for receivers: they also affect those who conduct the giving. 

How Giving Affects Givers

If you’re wondering how giving affects both givers and receivers, it comes down to psychology. Specifically, the psychological principle of reciprocity, or the human need and tendency to want to give something back when something is received

For example, in his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Dr. Robert Cialdini lists reciprocity amongst six principles that contribute to one’s ability to influence others

In one of his case studies on reciprocity, Cialdini divulges that a waiter’s tips increased by 3% when diners were given a mint with their check. Tips were raised by 14% when they received two mints with their bill, and when the waiter left one mint but quickly returned to offer a second, the tips increased by 23%

After receiving a gesture of appreciation, individuals feel an intrinsic need to pay this effort forward by offering one themselves. In fact, they become 56% more likely to reciprocate in the future. Additionally, givers may even expect reciprocation for their giving, and are likely to feel hurt when they don’t get it.

Concerning businesses specifically, to ensure that your customers remain partial to your company’s brand or offerings, it’s essential to share expressions of gratitude or you could run the risk of losing the relationships you’ve established. Since 30% of consumers switch providers because they feel that there is no reward for their loyalty, your purchasers may consider partnering with or buying from one of your competitors.

How Gestures of Gratitude Can Establish Influence

By performing gratitude-filled gestures for your potential and current partners, in addition to creating strong collaborative ties, this form of giving will pave the way for greater influence

How, exactly, does this persuasive side effect occur? A Forbes article that profiles Cialdini and discusses the power of giving states that as human beings, we are innately wired to respond positively to gestures of appreciation, even if we didn’t request them or want them. This instinctive upbeat response prompts us to automatically feel beholden to the giver. 

These expressions don’t have to be extravagant: they can be as simple as saying a thoughtful “Thank You.” However, if you want to ensure that your giving is truly effective, try personalizing these gestures in accordance with recipients’ likes, interests, or needs. 

Make an Impact This Year and Beyond

With the new year comes new budgets. To ensure that your clients or leads are inclined to allocate some of their spend towards your company, it’s smart to start the new year off by sharing expressions of gratitude in order to show them that you prioritize your partnerships and are looking forward to continued conversations as the year unfolds. 

Remember, the order of operations for providing these expressions is simple:

  • Share gestures of gratitude with your prospects and clients.
  • As a result of the principle of reciprocity, they’ll be primed to pay this effort forward. 
  • Build intrinsic influence through appreciating them regularly, which will make them more prone to assisting you and your business. 
  • As these professional partnerships become strengthened, your company’s prospects and clients will innately convert more quickly. 

By putting “practicing gratitude” at the top of your New Year’s resolutions, you’re guaranteed to build your relationships further, and ultimately, cultivate more business opportunities for this new year and beyond. 

Thnks can help you and your organization gain influence by helping you share expressions of gratitude. Within seconds, you can send your prospects, clients, or customers gestures of appreciation by searching for a Thnks, personalizing a note, and sending it off via SMS or email. Interested in learning more? Sign up for a demo!