Ah Valentine’s day.  There’s nothing like a made-up holiday to remind us that we should be nice to people at least once a year.  When was the last time you showed your customers a little love?  And I’m not talking heart-shaped box of Godiva love here either, I mean when was the last time you lavished carat-sized love on the people that pay your salary? Does Hallmark really have to tell you to do everything?  Seize the moment and plant a big squishy one on your customers in one of the following ways:

1/ Give them an Award – Awards are a great way to recognize customers and unlike Godiva chocolates, absolutely everyone loves to get an award.  The folks that get the award will probably brag about it to their friends and you get to brag about having them as a customer (heck, why not put out a press release about it?).  You’ve only got a couple of customers?  Well it won’t be hard to pick who gets the award then, will it?

2/ An Unexpected Little Somethin’ Somethin’ – Godiva chocolates aside, sometimes it really is the thought that counts.  It doesn’t hurt to send your customers a little something that shows that you appreciate them.  I’m a big fan of unusual gifts for customers that get them talking about you.  Last year when Google launched sidewiki they sent me a book of poetry.  The book had a bookmark in a passage where the poet described a library book from that had some notes written in the margins and how interesting it was to see what other people had thought of the book (just like sidewiki – get it?).  It was a smart and interesting giveaway and I’ve probably told that story at least a dozen times (and now I’m blogging about it).

3/  Stop Selling – OK, not forever but maybe for 30 minutes.  Give your customers a call and ask them what you can do for them.  Sometimes we get so focused on selling customers we forget to just stop and talk to them once in a while.  They tend to say the darnedest things when you stop selling and start listening to them.

4/  Make them a star – When it comes to case studies, customers fall into two camps – those that love the spotlight and those that don’t.  Those that don’t are like a bad boyfriend/girlfriend – they like you but they really don’t want to be seen in public with you.  The spotlight lovers on the other hand want to get their name out there and you shouldn’t be shy about helping them do that.  Don’t let a good thing go to waste – do a case study, pitch the customer story to the media, shoot some video, and get some approved quotes that you can use in your marketing materials.  Hopefully they will remember you (and maybe even buy your stuff again) when they land their next job because of all the press you generated about them.

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