This past week I was out working as usual when I realized I was driving on fumes. Not wanting to run out of gas, I stopped at a new gas station for the first time. It was really cold, and I was pumping I looked up to find a sign that offered a “free cup of coffee” with any purchase of a tank of gas or diesel.
This sounded great and after I filled up my tank I headed inside to take them up on the offer. The lady inside was unusually nice, and directed me over to the coffee station. I gladly filled up my cup of coffee and waived goodbye as I headed back to my vehicle.
Being that I was involved in a beverage business that sold to C-stores years ago, I knew that cup of coffee probably only cost them a nickel or so. To be truthful, it really wasn’t that great of a cup of coffee, either. This didn’t seem to matter to me, because after filling up my vehicle twice a week for more weeks than I care to remember – this was the first time that someone was giving me a small gift of appreciation for my patronage. I’m positive I will be back, especially on some of these cold days that reside in the future.
This also reminded me once again of how far small gifts of appreciation go in sales. When someone takes the time to give you a referral or a customer gives you a first order, a small gift of appreciation is certainly in order. A couple boxes of doughnuts, a lunch, or $25 gift certificate is hardly anything for what you get in return.
Keep these gifts small, however, so they will not be understood as a bribe or someone trying to buy their business. This activity is all about appreciation – from a grateful person who knows where their success comes from. Many times in sales when we do something worthwhile without expecting any sort of benefit in return, the rewards we reap are far greater than we could ever expect.