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Five Supremely Practical Ways Gratitude Benefits Your Consulting Firm

At this time of year, one word is bandied about with unusual frequency. It turns out that word can help you win more consulting business.

Each Friday I pause to consider everything I have to be grateful for. Family, friends, a thriving business, homemade banana-chocolate cream pie. Some wise folks do this exercise every day. Others limit their gratitude to a day here or there such as Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) or when they exchange gifts.

Gratitude is terrific. Warm and fluffy as a cashmere afghan. But how does that one word help your consulting firm?

 

Five Ways Gratitude Benefits Your Consulting Firm

Strengthens Your Relationships

We are in a human business. People sharing ideas, experience, advice and insights with other people. Our success rests in large measure on our facility with creating strong relationships.

Acknowledging another person strengthens your bond with them. It says, “You’ve made a positive difference in my life.” That message is the ultimate cement between two people.

Mutual appreciation nourishes mutual trust, and trust is the bedrock on which client/consulting firm partnerships are built.

Transforms Your Relationships

Often I lead training sessions for rainmakers at boutique consulting firms. At the end of these sessions, when the accolades and acknowledgements would normally flow to me, I suggest the participants thank their colleagues around the room instead. There’s invariably five heartbeats of utter stillness before folks start offering appreciation to each other with a light chuckle. Why the awkward silence and laughter?

Because giving thanks makes you vulnerable. It conveys you are human and indebted and “inferior” enough to another person that you were able to gain from them. That’s a boatload of vulnerability. But when you drop your guard, you create space for the other person to open up too.

Why is that important? Because reaching out to a consultant to ask for help is an extremely vulnerable act for a prospect. It’s an admission that they need help.

When you are vulnerable with your prospects and clients, you increase the likelihood that they will share their needs (and business) with you.

Makes Networking Painless

Reaching out to our contact list is a necessary, but sometimes excruciating, aspect of business development. If you don’t have anything to say, picking up the phone holds less appeal than being a Wal-Mart greeter on Black Friday.

But when you’re connecting to offer a Thank You, it’s easy. And fun.

No one has ever complained about being appreciated.

Builds Your Confidence

Gratitude and positive outcomes are inextricably linked. You’re thankful for a project because it bolsters your bank account and reduces financial stress. You’re thankful for advice because it helps you succeed.

When you express thanks you are acknowledging something positive in your life. Every Thank You to a colleague or client or mentor is quietly exclaiming, “My business has benefited!” Take a moment to soak up all those business benefits. What does that do for your confidence level?

Plus, when you honor your clients’ and colleagues’ contribution to your business well-being, they frequently will remind you of how you’ve helped them.

Ironically, offering thanks to others will put you in better touch with how you create value in the world.

Creates a Success Habit

Research shows that gratitude sparks happiness and happiness precedes success.

Every day you tap into your gratitude is a day that accelerates your progress.

As I update this annual gratitude article, I have much to be thankful for.

High on the list is the input, support and friendship of consultants around the world. Many I’ve never met, many are new relationships and many have become clients. All, including you, have added value in my life.

Thank you for reading my articles and books. Thank you for making a difference to me and so many others.


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34 Comments
  1. Fred
    November 25, 2015 at 12:55 pm Reply

    Even little shows of gratitude work. I once got a nice client because I was the only bidder to send a personal, handwritten thank you note after the first meeting.

  2. David A. Fields
    November 25, 2015 at 3:15 pm Reply

    Excellent point, Fred: gratitude doesn’t have to be over the top. A simple gesture can go a long way. Your example is terrific. Thanks for sharing it, Fred.

  3. Lisa Hamaker
    November 29, 2015 at 4:09 pm Reply

    I am thankful for your wise, witty and concise advice David–today as much as when we worked 18 hours days on that project over Thanksgiving lo those many years ago.

    I am also grateful that my mom can use a computer. Most days we send one another an email with few gratitudes. It has helped us thru challenging times and to learn things about one another that we would possibly not have made space for otherwise, and helped me stay grounded in the important things in life. Plus, I will have them to read long after she is gone. I have 663 messages from her so far.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

    • David A. Fields
      November 30, 2015 at 9:28 pm Reply

      Lisa, thank you so much for the kind words! Wow, what a heartwarming story about your mom.

      Modern technology has done wonders to bring scattered families back together. Video-chats with kids at college or elderly parents, or both. Email exchanges don’t have the grace or eloquence of letters our great-grandparents wrote, but their ease and quickness makes them so much more like a live conversation.

      Thank you for your hard work, for staying in touch and for proving to the world that consultants who subcontract for me survive the experience… and even thrive! (And give my best to your mom.)

  4. Ara A. Jeknavorian
    November 23, 2016 at 8:54 am Reply

    Dave,

    Excellent advice on the use of the priceless word, “Thank You.” While this expression would seem to flow naturally when expressing appreciation for something that goes well in your favor, I would stress that “thank you” has even greater impact as a response when the outcome of some proposal or endeavor is not favorable. For example, you submitted a proposal for a project, and it did not materialize. I would still “thank” the owner of the project for taking the time and making the effort to consider my plan. Or, some advice or corrective action is offered for a particular problem, and it is not found suitable. I would thank the customer for the opportunity to provide input. Of course, the universal companion word that goes with “thank you” is PLEASE, which one cannot overuse in much of our communications. Happy Thanksgiving to all your readers.

    • David A. Fields
      November 23, 2016 at 10:50 am Reply

      Truly outstanding advice, Ara. A bit of “glass half full” thinking goes a long way and helps you realize how much you have to be grateful for in any situation.

      When consultants I’m working with don’t win a project (yeah, occasionally that happens), I encourage them to recognize the feel good they had an opportunity and capture the learning for future prospects. As you point out, every time we stumble is a chance to learn, grow, and become stronger… all of which are cause for thankfulness.

      I appreciate your thoughtful comment, Ara.

  5. Christina Dyer
    November 23, 2016 at 10:43 am Reply

    I am thankful for your witty, entertaining and always sage wisdom David. Thank you for your generosity of spirit!

    • David A. Fields
      November 23, 2016 at 10:52 am Reply

      Christina, generosity has a tendency to build on itself. (Like mold, I suppose, but nicer.) It’s a pleasure for me to share when members of my community like you are so giving in return. Thank you for the warm feedback.

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