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What if there was a simple trick to getting every new sales relationship off on the right foot? You could close a lot more deals.

Trouble is, people oftentimes don’t want to talk, or they’re too busy, or a million other factors sour your relationship before it even gets started. And despite the factors working against them, sales reps must try to get prospects to first talk to them; second, like them; and third, buy a product or service from them.

Wow. Tough one.

Or … maybe not. After diving into the research, it turns out that reps might not be that far away from making an instantly positive relationship a reality. It comes down to just one simple phrase, containing two small words:

“Thank you.”

How often do you say “thank you” to a customer before they decide to make a purchase? Not very often? This might just be the reason you’re not blowing your quota out of the water.

Saying thank you is the easiest way to show gratitude. It’s one of the first phrases we learn as a kid, and it plays a critical role in the sales process. Here’s why.

Saying “thank you” makes you more likable.

In recent years, sales has become relationship-oriented. As much as the buyer has to like the product or service they are purchasing, they have to like the person selling it to them, too.

Nowadays, the relationship goes far beyond the sale, and ideally continues for as long as the person is a customer. This means buyers and sellers work together for quite a while -- so they’d better get along.

This study from Ellen Rogin and Lisa Kueng points out that grateful people are actually more likable than their less-grateful counterparts. In sales, this is critical as you look to keep your customers on board for the long haul.

The takeaway? Simply stating "thank you" here and there and expressing gratitude for customers’ support can help keep relationships strong.

Saying “thank you” improves self-esteem.

But it isn’t just you who benefits from demonstrating gratitude -- the person you’re speaking with also receives a boost. A 2014 study found that expressions of gratitude improved athletes’ self-esteem, resulting in better performance.

In sales, showing gratitude helps a prospect get through the sometimes difficult buying process. Occasionally, prospects can get overwhelmed, and a good self-esteem bump might make all the difference.

Thank your prospects for taking the time to speak with you, for putting forth effort during the research phrase, or for simply responding to an email quickly. All of these are easy ways to express gratitude and give a quick jolt of self-esteem to your customer.

Saying “thank you” can change mindsets.

According to Melinda Beck, kids who express gratitude “get better grades, set higher goals, and feel more satisfied with their friends, families, and schools than those who don't.” In other words, being grateful can help you shoot higher and aim to get more done.

So what does this mean if you’re in sales? Saying “thank you” might actually be the key to achieving more every day. Expressing gratitude, and getting gratitude from customers and friends in return will help keep you motivated and working hard. Several studies have linked being thankful to being more optimistic, which in turns leads to greater productivity.

And don’t forget to pass the gratitude along to your customer. If your gratitude can help them aim higher and achieve more, it’ll only improve your relationship and their business.

Saying “thank you” helps you grow.

For those on a holistic self-improvement journey, it turns out that saying thank you can help here, too. Studies have shown that being grateful can make you more empathetic, boost your attitude, and improve your general happiness -- all of which are crucial to self-growth.

And personal growth is critical as reps move through their careers. Whether you’re a BDR looking to move up, or a sales rep hoping to become a manager one day, setting off the “thank you” chain reaction of gratitude can add up to significant positive character changes over time, which can set you up for a promotion.

Sales is about starting and developing relationships. And while it might be difficult for some reps to hit the ground running with their relationships, using a simple phrase like "thank you" can go a long way.

Thank you for reading this!

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Originally published Nov 24, 2015 7:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017

Topics:

Emotional Selling