My wife and I went out to dinner last evening.
We had a gift card for the local Bonefish Grill, so we decided to try it. Neither of us had ever been there before and didn’t quite know what to expect.
After a brief wait, we were seated. Our waiter, Ryan, was pleasant and attentive. The atmosphere was polished and casual. Our food was hot and delicious. The manager even came by to see if everything was to our satisfaction (it was fantastic, we replied). The prices were reasonable. If the experience had ended there, it would have been a perfect evening.
Then something extraordinary happened. After we settled the bill, Ryan came over to thank us for dining with them. He extended his hand and we shook hands. I had never seen this before in a restaurant. It left us, as their website promised, “feeling good about the food, the people and the bill.” It was an extraordinary experience.
As we were leaving, we tried to remember the last time we felt this good about a purchase we had made. We couldn’t recall. The fact is, so few sales people ever bother to say thank you after the initial sale is made. This is especially true with big ticket purchases. Once the sale is made, it seems they move on to the next customer.
The next time you sell something, big or small, do something different. Thank your customers. Make them feel good about the product or service you sold, the people in your company, and the bill they pay. It just might mean the difference between a single transaction and a customer for life.
I read this with interest the other day because we hear so often in Toastmasters that we shouldn’t thank the audience. I let it pass, then heard again during the general evaluation at a meeting this morning that Toastmasters should never thank their audience. Here’s at least one contrary testimony to the power and effect a thank-you can have, even if the example is applied to selling, not telling.
What do you think? Is a thank you to a speaker’s audience appropriate? Can it have the kind of impact appreciated here?