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Vendor Relations Tip: Say Thanks

November is the gratitude month in the U.S.

A little over a week into it comes Veterans Day, when we remember and thank those who have served or are serving in the military for their service and sacrifice on our behalf. Then towards the end, of course, comes Thanksgiving, when we take time off to reflect on the good things in life we enjoy.

Psychologists and doctors tell us that gratitude is good for our physical and psychological health. In terms of body chemistry, acknowledging and expressing gratitude has the opposite effect that stress has on us, and who couldn’t benefit from countering that once in a while! It’s also good for relationships. And that applies not only to individual and personal relationships but business relationships as well.

Before doctors started studying the virtues of gratitude, poets told us gratitude is a virtue. “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others,” wrote Cicero. Closer to our own time, G.K. Chesterton wrote, “I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”

Being grateful is good. Expressing that gratitude is better. It’s the next logical step, though it is sometimes a more difficult one to take. “Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.” So said Henry Van Dyke.

Speaking in a context of business, Dr. Randy Kamen says, “Gratitude is a pro-social behavior.” It promotes connection. Expressing gratitude strengthens relationships, whether with employees, customers or suppliers.

And while some businesses are good at thanking customers, how many give due to suppliers? The question is how important is your supply chain to the success of your business? In particular, consider strategic suppliers that are more like partners. Those relationships are vital. When a supplier does something well, it benefits your company. Recognition and acknowledgement of that enhances your relationship.

But even with less critical vendors, if you are grateful for something, what does it cost to say “thanks?” Watch what happens when you do. People appreciate being appreciated, and studies show that people who feel appreciated are more likely to repeat the behaviors for which they’re thanked.

The end of the year approaches. As you take stock, take time to be grateful. And don’t miss the opportunity to express it, whether to managers, or staff, to customers or to suppliers.

Thank you for reading!

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