For a Great 2019, Consider These 4 Business Resolutions

When we think about “New Year’s Resolutions” the things that most come to mind are personal resolutions like eating healthy, joining a gym, or learning a new hobby. The start of a new year is the perfect time for a clean slate. What most people don’t realize is that it is also an ideal time to make some resolutions that will help professional growth.

Now is an ideal time to reflect on the year with all its ups and downs, successes and failures (yes, we all need to admit to mistakes) and strategize for the coming year with those learning’s in mind. Below you will find four resolutions that can help you make 2019 a successful year:

1. Listen More Than You Talk
When prospecting or working with customers let them do most of the talking. The more your customers speak, the more pertinent information you gain. This may include insight about their challenges, goals, operations, budget and decision- making process. It may even include something important that the customer initially did not plan to share. Regardless, the more information you have about a customer, the more unique value you can deliver.

2. Be Comfortable with Failing
Failure permits you to re-evaluate your priorities. It causes some potential pivoting in how you might approach your business and reshape your goals. Failure enhances your inner strength, and the ability to look at things with a different perspective. It is just as important to be candid about failures as it is our successes so be confident in sharing both. Failure can lead to stronger more successful businesses.

3. Take time for Professional Development
We are often so busy with the day to day business at hand that we forget to take a step back and evaluate where we are on a professional level. Take the opportunity to invest in yourself this year. Create a plan for how you will focus on you. Some ideas to consider are:

  • Seek out a mentor
  • Take a class to learn a new skill
  • Take time to network, plan it in your calendar
  • Cultivate peer relationship

4. Practice Gratitude Daily
Gratitude is one of the core vital principles needed for effective personal and business growth. Gratitude is scientifically proven to promote happiness, improve mental and physical health, cultivate positive relationships, and increase productivity, all of which will enable you to achieve success. Here a few tips to incorporate gratitude with employees and customers.

  • Schedule time on your calendar to send an email or text to acknowledge the work of a peer or client.
  • Take time to write handwritten notes. Since this is a lost art, it is more valued than ever.
  • Send small personal gifts throughout the year to peers, prospects, or clients that tells them you are thinking about what is important to them.

The key is to set reasonable and attainable goals, so you have a better chance at sticking with them.  How does our list of resolutions compare to yours? Here’s to a successful 2019!

Thnks has made it easy to incorporate gratitude in your daily workflow. In just a few swipes you can search for the perfect gift, personalize a note, and send it off via SMS or email. If you are interested in learning more, sign up for a demo today!

Expressing Gratitude in Business Will Pay Off in Spades

Adopting a gratitude practice in business doesn’t come naturally for most people – it’s a lifestyle and mindset choice that drastically changes the way you develop relationships and the way others perceive you. You will be amazed at what small changes in your approach can do.

For something to change in your life you have to make a conscious decision to make changes.  These don’t require monumental changes, just small little adjustments in your daily way of doing business.


Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Make gratitude part of your daily routine
    • Spend a few moments on your way into work thinking about what things you could do to express gratitude
    • Add those thoughts as action steps to your calendar
  • Be thoughtful – show that you are thinking about others
    • Get to know co-workers and clients on a personal level, don’t just keep it all business all the time.
    • If you are in business development, leverage social media or someone’s assistant to find out more about the person you are prospecting. Send them a gift that supports their interests or helps make their day easier.
    • Recognize a co-worker for a job well done
    • Send a customer a thoughtful gift acknowledging them for being a champion of your product or service


Here are immediate benefits you will see with this change in mindset:

  • Increased Customer Loyalty and Engagement
    Customers who feel appreciated are more likely to recommend your business to others, write positive reviews, buy from you again, and even pay more for your services down the road. Loyalty programs, notes or phone calls, customer appreciation events and customer spotlights are just a few ways you can show gratitude.


  • Increased Productivity
    The business benefits of gratitude extend beyond customer loyalty. Like customers, employees also respond when they feel appreciated. In fact, a Glassdoor survey indicated that 81% of employees will work harder when their boss shows appreciation.
    Not only do employees who feel appreciated work harder, but in some instances that work is more successful.


  • Stronger Business Relationships
    Every business owner knows that relationship-building is essential to success. From customers to investors, employees, business partners and even vendors, human connections form the framework for growth. Gratitude, expressed sincerely and frequently, builds trust, a critical element of achieving productive and lasting relationships.


Thnks has made it easy to incorporate gratitude in your daily workflow. In just a few swipes you can search for the perfect gift, personalize a note, and send it off via SMS or email. If you are interested in learning more request a demo today!

Patience in the Workplace

Patience is not a simple virtue to come by; it’s a skill that must be diligently and consciously worked on every day.  In today’s day and age, we are used to the constant hustle and bustle of life, never taking a second to breathe. However, learning to be patient is well worth the challenge as it not only benefits you in everyday life, but significantly in the workplace as well.

Why is Patience Important in the Workplace?

Not everyone you meet is going to be your cup of tea.  People who bother you are likely to be the ones who push your buttons in every way they know how.  At the end of the day, only you are in control of the reactions that occur when each button is pushed.  The people you are surrounded by, though, are not always going to be your crowd by choice, especially in the workplace.

Patience requires managing tough situations in a confident and effective manner.  Like the old saying goes, there is no “I” in “TEAM”. You need to learn how to work in a patient and understanding manner amongst the people you work with on a daily basis, especially those on your direct team.

Patience is a huge contributing factor to achievement and creating a trusting bond.  There is always that one teammate who refuses to go by the rules and suggestions of everyone else, getting frustrated when things don’t go their way.  Imagine how much more fluidly tasks would get completed if every single person was patient and trusting in what their coworkers had to say.

Although it’s not obvious, patience in the workplace is a great distinction between proficient and inefficient employees.  The worker who gets aggravated in the process of completing a task easily comes across as a quitter, someone who gives up easily on a challenging task.  Odds are they won’t be successful or last very long in their position if they can’t prove that they can work through unexpected situations with a calm and positive outlook to get the job done.

How Leaders Develop Patience in the Workplace

When you find yourself beginning to feel short fused and impatient when dealing with certain work situations, use it as an opportunity to develop patience.  Take a step back and admire the situation from the outside looking in. The workplace is intense these days and organizations are constantly on the mend to find the best way to operate effectively.  A great leader has great patience.  The first step in creating a great organization is creating a culture which starts from the bottom of the triangle: the employees.

See through the eyes of others.

Contrary to what may be popular belief, the world doesn’t actually revolve around you.  Be objective enough to step back and remove any personal opinions that might arise in the heat of a workplace conflict.  Take a look at the bigger picture and attempt to understand the root of the problem . Be strong enough to not crack under pressure and lose your cool, but be wise enough to hold yourself accountable for something that you may be at fault for.

Listen and question with a positive attitude.

Practicing patience requires active and attentive listening and putting your frustration aside to help solve a problem that you may or may not be directly related to.  Showing someone that you respect what they have to say is the biggest compliment you can give. Don’t be in a hurry to get everything done as quickly as possible and show that you respect the problem at hand.

Don’t run away from personal responsibility.

We naturally get impatient with people who don’t listen, don’t take direction well, and constantly make excuses.  It’s frustrating for anybody to have to listen to the same song and dance over and over again when there are more important objectives to be completed.  With disregard to the fact that the same person may always make things difficult, remember to take them seriously at the same time. What they have to say may involve something you are responsible for and it is important you stay accountable.

Seek perspective from a trusted resource.

Before you are ready to throw in the towel and have had it up to your head with aggravation, remind yourself of the end goal and seek out guidance from someone you trust.  This trusted resource could help find a valuable solution and provide you with a much-needed change in perspective. It will ease your nerves and decrease stress.

Remain unbiased.

Taking sides is a killer of comradery and trust.  How employees are managed may revel tension points and causes of an ongoing problem.  You must be extremely open minded and patient to use a situation as an opportunity for growth and development.  Taking sides will only hinder your view of others and inhibit you from seeing the value that others add to the organization.

The Role of Empathy in Sales

Nothing kills a deal faster than not giving your client time and space to make a well thought out decision.  Being impatient and constantly nagging them in regards to where they are in their decision will only give them the impression that you are desperate, or even worse, inconsiderate.  Be kind and hardworking during your interactions with them, but most importantly, be patient.

Eliminate All (or most) Social Distractions

There are more than a handful, maybe two hands full, of social networks that are in existence and more easily accessible than ever.  Picking up your phone 20 times an hour to check Snapchat will get you nowhere but into a state of panic when you are trying to focus on work.  Stress is greatly increased and impatience will be at it’s all time high.  Save the social stuff for social hour, that is, for when you are not at work.


A great way to calm your nerves is to exercise regularly.  It will get your blood flowing and feet planted firmly on the ground.  Not only is it helpful to your physical health, it is good for the mind and rational decision making.


This one is a toughie and definitely does not come easily.  Begin to get into the routine of meditating, a practice that will teach you to focus starting with the smallest task of breathing.  In time, meditation will teach you the skills you need to focus on growing your patience caliber.

Set and Plan Your Goals

Moving forward to a place unknown is unsettling and anxiety provoking.  How are you supposed to successfully complete a task, especially when you are accountable for the ultimate decision someone else is making, when you don’t have a roadmap of where the work is moving? Taking time and being patient with physically setting and planning your goals will help you travel down the right sales path, not just the easiest one.

How Increased Patience Increases Success

Patience is not something we all have; it’s something we must actively do.  It’s like creating a habit, the more often we practice something, the more likely it becomes second nature to our daily actions.  Patience is a virtue, and a virtue that can greatly increase success.

Positive Rewards

When you are impatient, you are unable to delay gratification for more than a moment, seeking it out instantly.  It leads to frustration and quitting, and doesn’t lead you anywhere but down a circle of doubt and failure. Patience can result in reward of recognition, greater sales, increased customer satisfaction, and ultimately stronger profits or promotion.

Smart Decision-Making

Patience helps us avoid situations that can potentially cloud our judgment.  By remaining in the moment, we are able to make better and more well thought out decisions.  A sharp business plan and great talent isn’t enough when it comes to beating out competition.

Builds Reputation

Achieving goals is crucial to personal and organizational success.  Developing patience allows us to reach goals consistently. When we consistently and constantly reach goals, we are building a reputation for ourselves, which is more likely to spread a positive word about the business we conduct.

Positive Team Culture

Most importantly, being patient leads to a positive team culture.  If business culture is flourishing, so will all other elements for success in the organization.  Being patient means treating others with a sense of decency to increase the possibility of reciprocation.

Written by: Ariella Sharf, Editor and Founder of Heart and Vogue

Customer Retention Strategies

What is Customer Retention?

For a business to stay up and running, it is necessary they have one thing – one crucial thing – and that is a customer, even more importantly, a high rate of customer retention.  Without customers, there is no business. Leading a customer to your business is a job in and of itself. Once that step is checked off the to-do list, the focus becomes keeping that person as a customer.

Customer retention is the ability of a business to create customer and brand loyalty in order to retain customers.  It is the measure of customer loyalty and capacity of business to keep customers satisfied with good service and quality products.  It begins with the first contact a customer has with a company and continues throughout the lifetime of the relationship. Although reaching and maintaining a solid customer retention rate is no easy task, it comes with many benefits.

Benefits of Improving Customer Retention

Seeing an increase in profit is an exciting time when you are first open for business, but keeping up the same stamina throughout the lifetime of a business is important.  It’s not easy work, but keeping customers returning is well worth it. Here are five benefits of improving customer retention.

1. It is cheaper than acquisition.

A returning customer is cheaper for business. It serves as a more cost-effective way to keep a loyal consumer around rather than bringing in a new one.  There is less spending on advertising or inducements, like price-cutting and giveaways, because they are already hooked. Research shows retention to be more economically favored than acquisition.  Even though it may not be the easier of the two, it is most definitely the cheaper and more worthwhile.

2. Loyal customers are more profitable.

A loyal customer spends 60% more per transaction and is 5 times more likely to indicate that it is the only brand they would purchase from in the future.  That said, on average, they deliver 23% more revenue and profitability over the everyday customer.  It’s important to keep in mind that the end goal is lifetime revenue, not just daily revenue.

3. Your brand will stand out.

How many brands do you interact with that genuinely and visibly value your patronage?  You can probably name less than a handful. Most companies only focus on acquiring their customer.  When a company dually focuses on acquisition and retention, they will stand out even more. The best brands have unique retention propositions.

4. You will earn more word of mouth business.

People are most strongly influenced by referrals from family and friends, according to the heavily researched principle of social proof.  Guess how many marketing dollars it will cost you to create a “word of mouth” marketing campaign? Zero!  Your loyal customers are your greatest walking advertisements. Don’t forget about millennials and the power of social networks.  90% will share their brand preferences online.

5. Customers will be more open to your marketing.

Let’s be honest, there really is no better feeling than receiving a special offer because of your continued involvement with a brand.  Consumers greatly appreciate when a brand that they are loyal to reaches out, and 7 times more likely to respond to that brand’s promotional offers.    

How Do You Improve Customer Retention?

Building a strong relationship with a customer is important, and a cornerstone of a strong relationship is longevity.  With good customer service, education, and engagement, you will be doing more than just the right thing; you will be doing good business.

Customer Retention Strategies

Customer retention strategies work as a great foundation for creating a successful business relationship.  Keep in mind they may take more work than first hooking a customer in through acquisition, but it is well worth the time and investment.

Product And Service Integrity

Consistency is key when it comes to what you say, do, and the experience you provide to your customer.  They want to be confident and comfortable with the way you carry out business and know that you take care of them in the most genuine way, regardless of whether it is a large or small act.  Practice what you preach, because if you don’t, they will up and leave to find a company that will treat them well enough to keep them coming back.

Create Value

Create value that you and your customer can share.  Having a similar outlook will entice your customer to be loyal to you since they will innately trust your opinions.  The Corporate Executive Board found that 64% of 7,000 U.S. consumers surveyed shared that the primary reason behind having a strong relationship with a brand was similarity in values.  Stand for something.

Awaken The Ego

Customers remain loyal to a brand that they find have commonalities with them on a personal level.  When researching your target audience, doing so to the finest details will be favorable for you in the long run. Knowing what goes on in the brain of your ideal customer will help you in creation and execution.  Marketing to teenagers who attend school during the Fall and Winter months is not ideal if your target market is retirees who live in warm climates during those months. Get deep into your customer’s ego.

Position Around The Before And After

Imagine you have a daily challenge you can’t imagine will be solved.  You find an advertisement for the product of your dreams that shows exactly how it will rid you of your daily challenge.  Of course, you are going to follow through and give it a try. That is exactly what you want to do with your customers. Position the problem or challenge your business aims to solve in a way that bridges your customer’s life before and after working with you.  Convincing your customer that your product or service will help them live their best life is a sure way to have them coming back.

Make Use Of Surprise Reciprocity

Research shows that surprise reciprocity works extremely well, even though reciprocity on its own is a powerful tool.  An expected gesture is not as memorable as an unexpected one. A kind gesture is more likely to leave a lasting impression when it arrives out of the blue.

Don’t Underestimate The Power Of ‘Thank You’

It seems like common sense to say thank in return for something kind, whether through kind words or a kind gesture.  We sometimes forget that something so simple can mean so much, especially in creating and maintaining a relationship.  Customers like Nordstrom and Zappos are known for thanking their customers via good old Snail Mail. They know how to add that personal touch of value to a genuine act of kindness.  To a company so large, it is such a small investment of both their time and money. But to a customer, it could mean the difference between staying loyal and moving their business to a different company altogether.

Remembering to show thanks is not always an immediate reaction, especially in today’s world where we are always onto the next thing before finishing the current one.  There are many ways to tell someone you are thankful, and Thnks makes it easy and efficient. Keep business rolling and customers coming back with the click of a button and personal note.

“As a sales rep that covers a vast territory, you guys saved me when I forgot my to acknowledge one of my largest customers bdays. Thankfully I was able to send her a sweet treat which she loved! Will def share with my colleagues!”

“Sent out three coffees to three different clients…all have been opened and redeemed and so far have written me back saying thnks. Awesome!”

Written by: Ariella Sharf, Editor and Founder of Heart and Vogue

Hacks for Writing Thank You Letters

It’s no secret that people love to feel appreciated, so never underestimate the power of a thoughtful and personalized thank you note.  Taking time to send a sincere thank you note/gift shows your appreciation and strengthens relationships with colleagues, clients, and customers.  Studies have repeatedly proven that people work harder and are more loyal when they feel appreciated within their workplace. Similarly, your clients will be significantly more likely to continue using your product/service if they feel valued.  

Whether you’re saying thanks for an interview, a referral, or their business, it’s hard to go wrong with a sincere thank you; however, it can be difficult to come up with the perfect way to say thank you in a professional setting.  Scroll down for some easy tips & tricks for writing the perfect ‘thank you’ note. Remember, there’s always a reason to say Thank You

Writing the Perfect Thank You Note

Keep it Simple!

Include a simple yet genuine message of appreciation and wish them well.  Depending on the situation, end with a mention of seeing them in the future.

Be Timely!

Thank you notes are most impactful when you send them immediately; however, a late thank you is better than none!

Be Personalized!

Include a note about something you have talked about to show your recipient that you listened closely and thoughtfully.  If your client mentioned that they are a caffeine fanatic and can’t get their day started without it, send them a cup of coffee from their favorite shop!  The unique and thoughtful gift is sure to make a lasting impression.

Be Specific!  

Give specific examples demonstrating why you are thankful; don’t be afraid to spell it out for them!  If your employee worked through the weekend to close a deal, thank them for that specifically.

Do the Unexpected!  

In an era where almost all communication occurs online (via email, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.), it has become increasingly difficult to stand out.  Send a unique gift along with your thank you note to pleasantly surprise your recipient. Send your top prospect an Uber ride to thank them for coming in on a rainy day, they will definitely be thanking you the whole ride home!

Recognize and Acknowledge Hard Work!

Pay attention to the process, not just the outcomes.  If your employee handled a difficult client with grace and patience, acknowledge their hard work.  This type of positive reinforcement will spread positivity throughout your workplace like wildfire.

If you’re still feeling stuck, take a look at some of our favorite and most successful thnks message + gift examples for inspiration…

Thnks Examples

“Thanks so much for connecting with me this afternoon.  As you are on your road to recovery, I thought that this candle might help you relax.  It somehow always does the trick for me!  Get better Soon!” A Balance and Harmony Candle

“While this isn’t quite the same as a natural smorgasburg acai bowl you mentioned, thought you’d enjoy a couple refreshing drinks as the temperature rises.  Thanks again for your help with our meeting today!” A ‘Berry Nice to Meet You’ Treat

“I know you have a busy week up ahead so I wanted to make sure you stay properly caffeinated.  Thanks for fitting our meeting in on Thursday.  I really appreciate it!”  Starbucks Coffee for the Week

“Happy Friday!  I know you guys have been working around the clock so I wanted to send a little something.  Ride in style to the weekend :)” An Uber Ride

“Thanks for being a big help on all of my requests!  You’re probably not thanked ENOUGH for all your hard work, so have some wine on me!!! :)” A White Wine Bundle

Written by: Camille Lopez-Silvero, Marketing at Thnks

Building Trust in Business

A mis-trusting relationship is not much of a relationship at all.  Trust in a relationship, especially a business one, is more important today than ever before. Creating a trusting bond with customers, employees, stakeholders, and prospective clients alike can be the difference between success and failure.  In the long term, the success of a business is dependent on a network of positive relationships.

Importance of Building Trust in the Workplace

Since building a rapport is such a valuable aspect of business, working relationships built on trust posses a competitive advantage.  It is a fragile commodity that requires attentiveness and genuine disposition. If someone broke your trust once, how quick would you be to forgive them and believe they would help you solve problems and find solutions to your challenges?  You probably wouldn’t act quickly to build trust again.

A study showed that trust is greatly correlated with sales, profits, and turnover.  The more trust an employee has in their manager, the more likely they are to work diligently and enjoy their job.  The ability of a leader to earn more trust from their employees provides a business advantage when it comes to competition with rivals.  Conversely, when trust is broken in the workplace, workers will be less focused on their work and general unhappiness will lead to a higher turnover rate.  A survey done by The World Economic Forum revealed that less than 50% of employees trust the company they work for.  What does that mean? A decrease in trust equals a decrease in speed and an increase in cost.

Workers want to know that their employers are able to create a solid, authentic, and trustworthy foundation.  It is something that can take a long time to build, but a split second to destroy. The process is incomprehensible and cannot be fake, it must be 100% genuine 100% of the time.

Importance of Building Trust Externally with Leads and Inbound Customers

The first step in the sales process is thought to be lead generation.  While that is not completely false, it is also not totally true. A prospective client is generated once a lead makes it to the point of being just that, a prospective client.  In order to transform a lead to a prospective client, you must entice them to continue through the journey with you. How does one do that you ask? The answer is simple – by building trust.

Prospective clients and inbound customers have many options of from who and where they can get just about any good or service.  You want to be the differentiator in their choice so that they ultimately pursue what your business has to offer. It doesn’t necessarily mean your product or services have to be the best of the best, but it does mean the value you place on trusting relationships is high on the list of your priorities.   Don’t try to fool them – it’s obvious when someone is more focused on selling than creating an amazing experience for the customer.

When a client who may eventually become a prospect approaches you, they are more concerned with the problems and challenges they have, and greater more, their success.  It comes down to one question, how can you connect your business/product to their needs? You can’t assume that you have a solution for them.

What you have to offer will only be valuable to those who find value in it and in order for them to find value in it, they need to trust you and be confident that you will provide a solution.  That means you have some work to do in addition to increasing revenue and that is increasing your trustworthiness.

Tips on How to Build Trust

Forming a trusting bond takes work, but is an invaluable asset to any relationship.  Below are some tips on how to build trust.

Listen Attentively

Others want to be comforted by the fact that you care about and take to heart what they have to say.  It creates an open and comfortable space for communication to occur. To demonstrate that you are actively listening and engaging in conversation, wait your turn to speak.  Let the other person finish what they have to say and reciprocate with a related response to demonstrate you were not only listening, but also relating to what was said. Taking notes is never a bad idea either.  Empathy is a key component in trust.

Be Patient and Flexible

Take into account that mistakes happen.  Refrain from being quick to judge when one is made and provide the benefit of the doubt.  Reacting to negative actions to a greater degree than positive actions will only hurt your ability to form a trusting relationship in the long run.  Meet the other person in the middle keeping in mind that trust is something that is built over time and unfortunately, not everybody has experienced a plethora of it throughout their lives.

Show You Trust Others

Be forgiving when someone lets you down or disappoints you.  Being negative and bitter depletes trust, not create it.  Obviously, you shouldn’t be accepting of being let down over and over again, but by giving a second chance, you are demonstrating that you trust the person to do the right thing the next time around.  It will not only benefit your relationship with that person but with others as well as they will be learning from your actions of how you treat others in any relationship.

Respect Their Time

Society today has taught us to be in a constant hustle and bustle, always grinding.  We often forget that while we are moving at a quick pace, not everybody else is. At the same time, when we delay responses to emails and phone calls, show up late to meetings, and expect others to move to the beat of our drum, we are exhibiting the fact that we don’t care so much about their time.  They have taken time out of their day to treat you a certain way and the least you could do is pay it forward. Nothing says trust more than respect.

Deliver the Unexpected

Giving the expected to your employee, client, stakeholder, or business partner is an important aspect of trust.  But delivering the unexpected is the ultimate bonus to creating a strong bond.  Going above and beyond by giving more than what is expected goes a long way.  Not to mention, your act of kindness will not go unnoticed when the receiver feels the need to share the story of your kind gesture with others.

How to use Thnks to Build Trust

As the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words.  Thnks has made it easier than ever for you to deliver the unexpected.  Not sure of exactly how you can utilize Thnks in building the bond of trust?  We make it easy.

Had a rainy day meeting with a prospective client?  Send them An Uber ride.

“It’s brutal out there today! Hope this keeps you dry.”

What about your employee who stayed in the office well past office hours working their butt off?  Maybe send them a week of Starbucks Coffee to thank them for staying late and working so hard.

“I know your schedule has been packed so I figured some coffee would help you power through the week.  Looking forward to connecting again soon.”

Your client just closed a deal?  Amazing news! Send them a mixed wine bundle as a congratulatory gift of appreciation.

“It’s been amazing working with you thus far!  I know you are swamped, so kick your feet up and enjoy a glass (or bottle … no judgments) of wine.”

As George MacDonald, the nineteenth-century Scottish author and poet, once said, “To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.”

Written by: Ariella Sharf, Editor and Founder of Heart and Vogue

Following Up With Lapsed Leads

A lapsed lead is not necessarily a lost lead!  Following up with lapsed leads can feel like a fruitless effort; however, there are certain steps you can take to re-engage leads and transition from losing a potential client to closing the deal.

What is a Lead?

A lead is a qualified prospect that exhibits buying behavior and expresses interest in your goods/service.  Leads are established through customer referrals or directly through advertising. Marketing and sales departments typically work to establish qualified leads.

Classifying Leads

A prospect is someone who could become a potential customer, while a lead is someone who could become a prospect.  It is important to qualify leads to determine if they have the potential to become prospects and eventually customers.

While establishing leads, it is important for your company to establish a clear definition of what would be considered a “valuable” lead worth pursuing.  Once your team is on the same page, it is vital to be persistent and personalized with each lead. It is also important to note that some leads are established in the short-term, while others are cultivated over weeks or even months, so don’t lose hope!  A clear service level agreement (SLA) should be established to outline exactly how leads should be treated by everyone on your sales team.  One way to do this is to classify leads based on these four components:

  1. Type of product/service that you are providing
  • Are you selling something of value to solve a problem?
  1. The source of the lead (referral, ads, etc.)
  • Online leads require much quicker response-time: ideally within 5 minutes
  • Offline leads may require long-term cultivation
  1. Quality of the lead
  • The higher the lead quality, the faster you want to respond
  1. The buyer’s journey
  • Put yourself in your lead’s mindset; which of your buyer personas do they represent?
  • The lower the prospect is in the funnel (closer to a final decision), the faster you should respond

The way in which you follow up with a lead should depend on these categories and how your company classifies leads.

Be Persistent

When following up with leads, timing is everything.  According to a study done by the Harvard Business Review, the majority of firms are slow to respond to leads; the study showed an average of firms responded to online-generated leads in about 42 hours.  However, this study also found that firms that responded to leads within an hour were 60 times as likely to qualify the lead than those who contacted the customer within 24 hours.  Furthermore, it was discovered that 71% of qualified leads are never followed up with.  This presents an enormous opportunity for firms to re-engage lapsed leads.  Simply responding to a lead in a timely manner puts you in the top quartile of organizations.  Additionally, reaching out to a lead 6 times increases your likelihood of making contact by 70%, so don’t be afraid to keep reaching out until you get the result you’re looking for!  

How and When to Reach Out

Once you’ve established the quality of leads you are pursuing, it’s time to start reaching out.  It is crucial to optimize the initial stages of the sales funnel when you are making first impressions.  Most leads are being contacted by multiple people at the same time; therefore, you should send personalized, timely messages to prove that you will go above and beyond in order to win the deal.  According to data collected by the Society for Marketing Professional Services, almost half of salespeople give up after 1st contact, and by 3rd contact, 80% of salespeople have given up.  By the 5th and 6th contact with a lead, you have begun to develop a relationship and you are likely to be the only contender.

The Thnks Edge

With the sheer quantity of people reaching out to leads, it can be difficult for you and your company to stand out and make a lasting impression; however, with Thnks you can send unexpected gestures of appreciation that will undoubtedly impress your leads and make you a top contender.  After all, it’s no secret that everyone likes someone who appreciates them, and one of the core tenets of selling is that people choose to do business with people that they like! Simple unexpected gestures that demonstrate you value someone’s time and respect your relationship have the power to completely change another person’s perspective. Thnks gives you an edge in the sales process by simplifying the act of showing gratitude. Here’s what some Thnks clients had to say about using Thnks to follow up with a lapsed lead:


“Thnks has already had a strong impact.  I had a client who canceled a meeting with me so I sent him a gift hoping to reschedule.  He responded immediately saying he really appreciated the thought and I ended up winning the meeting back!”- Susanne R.

Gift: A Power Breakfast

I believe Thnks could easily be the tipping point that leads to my clients landing new engagements. Beyond that, it’s clearly a quick and easy way for them to keep current clients happy.”- Terry R.

Gift: Dunkin’ Munchkins 

“I’ve found using the app to send gifts to prospects that I’ve built a relationship later in the sales cycle has been beneficial so I’m rolling with that for now and enjoying all of the updates you guys are pushing to the app!”- Ally C.

Gift: An Uber Ride

“I used it as a follow up to a cold meeting in person.  I asked them to broker an intro to the right person within the company and followed up with a coffee the next day.  4 hours later we got a great intro. To me that is a win and a great use of the Thnks platform.” – Peter L.

Gift: A Starbucks Coffee

Written by: Camille Lopez-Silvero, Marketing at Thnks

The Importance of Client Feedback

Why should you ask for client feedback?

Customer feedback is information provided by clients regarding their level of satisfaction with your product or services and their general experience with your company. Their opinion is an invaluable tool for improving your customer experience and adjusting your product or service to fit their needs. Your business depends on the opinions of your customers and if they are dissatisfied, they will surely let their friends and co-workers know! Word of mouth is one of the most powerful marketing tools and it is essential that your customers have positive sentiments to relay to others. With customers satisfaction constantly changing, it is important to ask for continuous feedback and then improve upon your product/service to keep a satisfied customer base. Spoiler alert, you can never keep every customer happy!

There is no scale that can measure the importance of client feedback. Without it, what is your company? Your customers have the ability to create or destroy your business. The power is in their hands, so make sure to listen closely to them. And if you don’t know what they think, ask!

Gaining the following information through client feedback will help you improve your products or services, measure customer satisfaction, and ultimately grow your business:

Improving Products and Services

Your product has to provide value to your clients. Giving them the opportunity to express their opinions, whether it’s solicited after a purchase or asked over the phone, will both benefit your company and show your clients that you value their opinions. When you’re at an early stage  in your business, sometimes you have to guess what your clients will want out of your product or service. If you interact with your customers throughout your day-to-day business, you learn a lot about them – who they are, what they like, what they do in their spare time, etc. You can’t determine the advantages and disadvantages of your products and services until your customers have spent time interacting with it and have developed an opinion.

For businesses that have enough data to make statistically-significant business insights, keep in mind the data is only one lense to view your customers through. Your backend data might report all the numbers you are looking for, but it will never be as valuable as speaking with your customer one-on-one. Their opinions help you ensure that the end product will solve the problems at hand, and make their customer experience better.

Customer Retention

Customer feedback will help you understand exactly how your customers experience your service or product and fixing their concerns will lead to an improved client experience. Customer satisfaction leads to customer retention. Instantly giving a customer a solution to their less-than-perfect experience is an opportunity to win a client back. By increasing customer retention just five percent, a company’s profitability will increase by an average of 75 percent. Loyal clients are a benefit to any company for many reasons. Repeat customers are easier to sell to, will spend more money, and promote new business.


Best Ways to Approach Client Feedback

There are a multitude of ways to gain client feedback. Whether you use a survey, email, usability test, interview, or on-site activity, you want your customers to feel valued and appreciated for the time they have given to help you out.

Start a Conversation

Be the first to reach out; everyone has an opinion and there’s nothing people love more than letting you know what they think.

Give in order to receive

The law of reciprocation says when we give we shall receive.

Ask Questions

Keep the conversation light and upbeat. Flow within the conversation will provide your customers with the comfort to answer your questions with specific examples and honest feedback. Open-ended questions will give your clients free reign in expressing their opinions. It is essential to get the customers engaged, ask enticing questions and include metrics that are easy to use. For instance, the most accurate parameter used is a 1-10 sliding scale on how likely you would recommend our product to a friend. Simple and easy questions will ease your clients into giving you the most helpful feedback possible!

How to Use Feedback as Data

Posting Customer Reviews

With recent events leading to skepticism surrounding advertising and media, customers are less likely to trust what marketers are promoting. Your informative advertising might be seen as exaggerated or over-the-top or even unbelievable. People want real opinions and reviews from real people like them. This is where customer reviews come in. It is crucial that current and new clients have easy and quick access to your product reviews.

Make Informed Decisions

Use customer feedback data to help create future strategies in a fast-moving, competitive market. Make decisions based on what customers want and need or better yet, will need. Customer feedback is a quick and easy way to sort and prioritize product or service changes. Insights from your customers will help you decide where to allocate your money. Translate the data from your client’s feedback into making immediate tactical adjustments, revenue changes for the next quarter, and implementing long-term ideas.

Written by: Lauren Reimer, Marketing at Thnks

9 Ways to Win Deals During Your Client’s Summer Travels

Summer is officially here! The sun is out, and so are the “Out of Office” emails. One by one, they flood your inbox, slowing down business. Although your clients AND potential clients may be “Out of Office,” this doesn’t mean your business has to suffer. Here is how we recommend staying top of mind even when your clients are jet-setting off on their summer travels. Send them a THNKS and let them know you are thinking of them all the time, not just when you need their business.

Summer Sunset Tea for Two

The perfect summer drink to keep your client hydrated wherever they might be heading! These two grande iced teas will keep them and their travel companion feeling refreshed and energized.

Suggested message: “I hope you and your wife have a great trip! Stay cool and enjoy the sun.”

A Carry On Cocktail Kit Moscow Mule

Your client will have no com-planes with this boozy travel kit. Don’t forget to schedule a proper drink with them after their trip!

Suggested message: “Enjoy your vacation! Let’s grab a drink when you are back in town.”

An Airplane Travel Kit

Keep your client relaxing on Cloud 9 with this cozy travel kit. Perfect for all travels, especially when they have a long flight ahead!

Suggested message: “I know your flight to Australia is going to be a long one. Thought you could use this! Look forward to hearing all about your trip.”

An Uber Ride

Has your lead gone radio silent this summer? Send them an Uber ride to or from the airport. You bet you’ll get a response back!

Suggested message: “Safe travels! Enjoy a ride to the airport on me. Let’s chat when you are back in the office.”

A Giant Watermelon Pool Float

Some clients are really one in a melon! Keep them floating through your sales funnel even during the quiet summer months.

Suggested message: “I hear you’re going to have sunny skies all week in Miami. Enjoy the beach!”

A YETI Insulated Tumbler

Keep your prospect hydrated and refreshed wherever their travels might take them. Whether the YETI sits in their cupholder on a road trip or in first-class heading to Paris, your prospect will be thinking of you with every sip they take. Not to mention all the times they use it after that!

Suggested message: “Have a safe trip! Thought you would enjoy a travel mug to keep your coffee hot. Let me know when you are back so we can finally get a time on the calendar!”

Bonavita Terre Siciliane Rosato

Wine flies when your clients are having fun! Make sure they have YOU to thank for that fun. Send them a bottle of Bonavita Terre Siciliane Rosato to make their summer rooftop nights a little more special.

Suggested message: “Have a great Friday night! You deserve the break. Thank you for all your hard work pushing the deal through this week.”

Portable Cornhole Game Set

Everyone loves a game of cornhole on the beach. Send your client traveling with their family a cornhole set for some family fun on the beach. They’ll be honored you not only thought of them but their family too!

Suggested message: “Have a blast at the beach! Thought your family might enjoy a fun beach game – it’s one of my kid’s favorites!”

Omaha Steaks Absolute Feast

“I’ll bring the steaks!” Surprise your client with steaks for their summer cookout. They’ll be thankful all weekend long and have a full and grateful stomach. Pair it with the Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill for an added flare.

Suggested message: “Enjoy your summer cookout! Here are some steaks to get you started. Let’s grab a Steak dinner when you’re back in the office.”

No matter what you send, make sure to send it with gratitude. For more suggestions, reach out to our Thnks gift concierge.

Written by: Jillian Klinvex, Business Development at Thnks

The Art of the Follow Up

The interview process can be a stressful one. The prep. The nerves. The waiting. One of the best ways to make it a little less stressful is to know that you’ve done all you can to stand out and impress your potential employer. That’s where follow up comes in.

Why Follow Up?

Many people worry that following up after an interview will make them seem “desperate” or “pushy”, but in reality a follow up is a way to show that you are determined and proactive about your career, as well as thoughtful. While you may be worrying about the etiquette of sending or not sending that follow up email, your potential employer may be be actively looking to see who does and does not follow up. Many employers can even consider the lack of a follow up to be a sign that you are disinterested, so if you want the job, you’ve got to make it known. Be your own PR person, put your best foot forward, and follow up!

Ways To Follow Up

There are several different ways you can go about following up after an interview. You may decide to email, call, send a letter, or give a thank you gift. Plan ahead and make sure you ask for a business card before you leave, that way you will know how your potential employer can be contacted, and perhaps how they would prefer to be contacted, depending on what information the card provides.

Follow Up Email

A quick email to thank your interviewer for having you, reminding them of why you are a great pick for the job, and asking any questions you may have forgotten to ask is a great way to follow up after an interview. The speed of an email also makes it ideal because you aren’t letting too much time pass after you’ve spoken.

Follow Up Call

A call can be an effective and personal follow up, especially if this is not your first interview. Be sure that in a follow up call you taken time to think about what you would like to say. If you are worried about misspeaking jot down some notes to keep on hand while you make the call. That way you can check in and make sure you are staying on point.

Follow Up Letter

Because a letter will take a bit to arrive, they are best saved for following up down the line. Sometimes developing a working relationship takes time, and that’s when a letter follow up works best. A follow up by mail can also be a great way to keep those you’ve met up to date with what new projects you are working on.

Follow Up Gifts

While something extravagant can make it seem like you are trying to buy a job, or something inconvenient (like a plant) can be annoying, a small, easy to accept gift can be a great way to make your follow up stand out. Keep it simple. Think of how you would feel in the position of the person who interviewed you. Try something convenient and thoughtful, like our Thnks-A-Latte gift! A Venti cafe latte with a double chocolate chunk brownie is a delicious way to say thank you for your time, and include a quick personalized note to make yourself stand out. Plus with Thnks, if a company has a policy about accepting gifts or they feel uncomfortable doing so, anyone on the receiving end of a Thnks gift can opt to donate the value of their gift to any charitable cause they choose.
Check out “Thnks a Latte” here!

Follow Up Do’s

Continue the Conversation

Try to match the tone of your interview in the tone of your follow up. If you had a somewhat familiar and casual conversation, don’t respond with an overly formal follow up email. On the other hand, if you felt your interview was particularly serious and to the point, a follow up shouldn’t be used as a chance to suddenly get chummy. You are following up in order to continue the conversation, not change it.

Double Check

It may sound like a no-brainer, but you’ve got to proof read! The last thing you want to do is hit send and miss any easy mistake that might undermine all your hard work. Run spell check, read it over a few times. It can also be helpful to send a draft to someone whose option you trust to get feedback.

If You Don’t Know, Ask!

Following up after an interview is also a great opportunity to ask any questions you may have forgotten to ask to thought of since the interview ended. During a phone interview it’s helpful to keep notes as you speak, that way you can draw from those specifics when you go to follow up.

Follow Up Don’ts

No Apologies

Steer clear of apologies, even if you feel you messed up during your initial interview. The point of the follow up is to highlight your qualifications and interest, not remind them of something you regret saying that for all you know they may have already forgotten about. Play the odds that their memory of you is already a positive one. No matter how the interview itself went, a follow up is an opportunity to leave a quick, positive impression.

Don’t Wait

Don’t make the mistake of waiting too long. Make sure to follow up within the first 24 hours after an interview so that you are fresh in their minds. Think of follow ups as a polite and professional version of popping your head back in the door and saying “Remember me?”.

Keep it Quick

Don’t write a book in your follow up email. It’s important to keep any follow up concise. It’s a quick thank you, a short recap: not a second interview.

Why Follow Up After a Phone Interview?

Following up after a phone interview is particularly important because many employers use phone interviews early on in the hiring process, and you may be one of a very large pool of potential employees. Because you haven’t had a chance to meet face to face, a follow-up email post-phone interview can help to solidify you as a real, tangible person, not just a voice on the phone.

Following Up When You Haven’t Heard Back

Haven’t heard back? Sometimes it can take longer than you expected to get feedback from an interview, and while it is important to be patient, it’s also acceptable to check in. Be sure to ask around how long they expect to take to make their decisions, and when you should look to hear from them by. That way you don’t have to stress about how long to wait. Once that date has come and gone it is totally ok to check in. Sometimes a company may just have underestimated the time their interview process would take. Other times you may just not be right for the job. But either way it will show that your interest in the job is real, and while hopefully giving you some closure, may also leave an impression that leads to something else in the future.

Following Up When There Isn’t a Job on the Line

We’ve mostly talked about following up after an interview for a new position, but don’t forget the importance of following up with a business associate you may already work with. Any meeting or conversation that enhances your professional life can be worthy of a thank you. Letting people know that you appreciate their time and expertise is just as valuable as impressing someone new. When your follow up is more of a thank you than an additional sign of interest it’s an especially great time to share a token of your appreciation. And if someone you know set up an interview or made an introduction? They definitely deserve a thank you gift!
No matter how you feel most comfortable following up after an interview, it’s important to do. By following up you are making it clear to your potential employer that you are determined, dedicated, thoughtful, and professional. You aren’t just making it clear that you want a job, you are setting a positive precedent for your business relationship in the future. And don’t stress too much about being perfect. Best case scenario you solidify yourself as the front-runner for a new job. Worst case scenario, you didn’t get it, but you’ve left the impression of a quality person who could be worth bringing back in for a future position.