Gratitude is the quality of being thankful and a readiness to show appreciation and return the kindness. It stems from considering what you’re grateful for in your life.
It is easy to focus on negative aspects and, in turn, complain and criticize, yet it doesn’t have to be like this. If you change your thoughts and focus on what’s good in your life, you’ll remove yourself from this hole.
Gratitude, when expressed sincerely and genuinely, presents significant benefits to both the speaker and the listener. However, mouthing “thank you” is not enough. Gratitude is a condition of the heart. If, under challenging circumstances, you can reach down and think about what you have, you can experience peace and joy in the process of the struggle.
The Inbound Call
In the context of the inbound call, gratitude brings benefits to the speaker and the listener, and it troubles me how infrequently many of my clients express gratitude to their customers.
Expressing gratitude enables the sales process to thrive. The first step in this process in the HVAC industry is answering the telephone. The inbound call is an opportunity to express gratitude to your prospect, client, or customer, and this opportunity is sadly missed in too many call centers.
Fixing the Incoming Call Process
A client approached me to “fix” his incoming call process. He was recording the calls that came from internet searches, and he was not pleased with the process.
With the help of his customer service representatives (CSRs), we created an e-course called “How to Book the Inbound Call.” The course included a script and how to implement it on the phone.
Our script starts like this:
Internet Prospect: How much is a service call? (In our industry, that’s the typical question and could just as well be, Do you deliver pizza? The response works across many sectors.)
CSR: Thank you for calling, I can certainly help you. Have we been to your home before? (Look closely at that first sentence; we expressed gratitude and affirmed the caller. In other words, You’ve reached the right person, and we appreciate you reaching out to us.)
While I can’t listen to every call, my associate keeps a scorecard on each call. In most calls, the CSR neglected gratitude — even when gratitude was clearly on the script.
It was clear: The CSRs didn’t understand the value of gratitude, so I set the top offenders a project to research the benefits that appreciation can bring.
What Do These Benefits Mean?
How many of us could use a prospect who is more forgiving, more relaxed, less stressed, and more outgoing? Any sales trainer will say how important it is to build a trusting relationship, but how do we achieve that? One simple way is through expressing gratitude.
Gratitude creates positive emotions, blocking negative emotions and demonstrating appreciation so the listener feels valued. From my experience, genuine gratitude brings joy. Sincere gratitude is a tool that can do all of this. All you have to do is take it out of your toolbox and use it.
What Does Gratitude Bring to the Speaker?
- Empathy: Empathy is an understanding of the prospect’s situation; it joins people together and creates a bond. This validates and affirms the caller, which is crucial to connect the speaker and listener, ultimately establishing a relationship that says, “I understand you.” People want to be understood.
- Reduced egoistic behavior: Gratitude makes the speaker less self-centered. After all, we are there to serve the customer and not ourselves. While we do have profit targets, we must balance the customer’s best interests with our financial goals. If the customer ever senses egoism at play, and that money is more important to your company than their interests, they will leave and go elsewhere.
- The feel-good factor: Gratitude makes the speaker feel good about his/herself, enhances self-esteem, and helps the speaker relax during the call. All of these emotional responses to gratitude improve performance. In turn, the feel-good factor reduces the negative emotions that are toxic to performance.
Lessons from Coaching
Recently, I have taught these principles with more focus — and people are changing. During an online group session with some technicians, we shared success stories from the previous week. One of the newer, less experienced technicians on the team shared this: “I really appreciate and am grateful to have this opportunity to learn this trade and so thankful for the opportunity. I just wanted to thank everyone for being patient with me and helping me learn.”
We’ve focused on gratitude in recent sessions, and I asked the group, “What are you feeling inside?” Another, quieter technician responded, “Man, it feels good.”
We are building unity on this team by expressing gratitude to our team — sincere, genuine gratitude.
When you are feeling bad, stressed, and negative about something, try to change your thoughts. When you focus on something that you are genuinely grateful for, your mood will alter. You’ll find peace, even when surrounded by unfavorable circumstances.
While we cannot control events and circumstances in our lives, we can control our response. It’s a good rule to live by, and I believe the following experience illustrates it well. I was driving from Manhattan to Madison, New Jersey, to work with a client. The route to the Lincoln Tunnel was packed. Traffic on the I-95 was at a standstill; I was stressed and complaining, which lead me to a bad place emotionally. I couldn’t do anything about the line of cars in front of me, but I could choose what to think about.
I started to think about how grateful I was for this consulting opportunity and thankful for the check it would bring. In just a few minutes, the traffic became a minor inconvenience to a great day.
Salespeople Who Control Their Outlook Become Better
One of the differences between top producers, campers, and quitters is this: Top producers are like Teflon. The bad events don’t stick to them. They rarely complain about leads or make excuses. They have an attitude about the lead known as “we’ll see.”
Campers and quitters complain and blame others. The leads are no good; this neighborhood is terrible; nothing good comes out of these types of leads; I don’t know why they send me here; this is going to be another terrible call. In sum, no gratitude. As a result, they fret, which leads to poor results.
Always Express Gratitude
Whether during the first call or canvassing, we should always express gratitude to the customer. Uttering the words “thank you” isn’t enough. Gratitude is an emotion of the heart and therefore is expressed from the heart. You should initiate gratitude — if you don’t, your words carry no weight.
Communicating Gratitude at the Door
While on a service agreement fulfillment call or in-person visit, here are some ways to initiate gratitude.
Tech: Mrs. Jones, I am Roger with 123 Heating & Cooling. Thanks for having us out. I saw in the history file that you have been a client for a long time. I just wanted to say we really appreciate your business. (Pause and listen.)
Salesperson: Mrs. Jones, I am Roger with 123 Heating & Cooling. Thanks for having us out. I can see that you found us online and I know there are a lot of choices out there. I really appreciate you picking us and giving us an opportunity to earn your business. Thank you.
As influential personal development consultant Jim Rohn said many times: easy to do, easy not to do.
What Is the Bottom Line?
Expressing gratitude facilitates a feeling of peace and joy. How many of us could use a dose of this? It is my belief that most Americans are driven by a need to perform and achieve. What’s more, I believe that this drive is financial gain.
Please don’t misunderstand me. There is nothing wrong with money, but wealth is not going to bring peace. Gratitude brings peace. You can be as broke as a church mouse and have peace. You can be wealthy and be afraid of losing it all. Cultivate gratitude because it is like medicine to your mind, your will, and your emotions.