If You Want 1,000 True Fans, Give 1,000 Thank-You’s

A short reminder that attention is given to those who give it

In his book, “Influence,” author Robert Cialdini tells the story of Joe Girard: a car salesman who on average sold five cars a day during his career landing him the top spot in the “Guinness Book of World Records.”

Eager to learn how Joe was able to stand out, Cialdini studied Joe’s process and what he found was a simple man with an even simpler system.

First of all, Cialdini learned that Joe was fair. He never tried to hit anyone over the head with a purchase. Nor did he try to push someone into a decision they weren’t comfortable making.

Secondly, Cialdini observed that every month, no matter what he had going on and no matter how much his network grew, Joe would sit down and write a personalized handwritten letter to each one of his clients.

He addressed his client’s children by name.
He congratulated them on any successes they achieved.
He followed-up regarding any hardship they encountered.
He never stopped thanking them for allowing him to be part of their lives.

In short, Joe made his business personal. As a result, his clients not only came back to him time and time again. But whenever anyone they knew needed a new car, they’d say — “You gotta go down and talk to my friend Joe! He’s a good guy! He’ll treat you well!”

That’s influence.
That’s persuasion.
That’s how you grow your audience.

You find your little piece of the land, plant your flag, and consistently put in the work to ensure every single person that comes grazing leaves well-fed.

Attention.
Little gestures of thoughtfulness.
Consistency.

We’ve all been encouraged to find our “1,000 true fans” — the phrase made famous by Kevin Kelly that marks the number of supporters we need to turn our dreams into gorgeous income streams.

“Pump out content!” We’re told. “Be everywhere!”

But maybe reaching that number isn’t all that complicated. Maybe it’s quite simple. The “Joe’s” of the world make a pretty convincing argument that the road to gaining 1,000 true fans looks a helluva lot like consistently saying thank-you.

When you sit down to map out your plans for the upcoming month, quarter, and year, of course, dream big and set clear targets. But before you do, think of Joe. Remind yourself that the best way to not have to always go to the market is by tending to your own garden first.

Reserve five minutes a day to say thank you to people who support you.

Steal a line from my friend Jake Daghe and send out 100 postcards in 2021 to the people you appreciate.

Ask people who support you to get on a phone call from time to time so you can learn more about them.

We’re talking about an hour or two a week. You’ll still have plenty of time for yourself. But you may find these “little-big” things are so effective you begin to do them more often.

My friend Niklas Göke recently warned us to never let chasing new people take precedence over taking care of the people you already know you want in your life. He may have been talking about how to successfully maintain your friendships. But the same rule applies when it comes to growing your audience.

People love to say content is king. But it’s not. It’s always been caring and it always will be.

One conversation at a time.
One “Thank You” at a time.
One “I see you” at a time.

Attention is given to those who give it.
Nothing compounds faster than consistent acts of kindness.

The future belongs to those who focus on the people in front of them instead of chasing everyone around them.

Co-creator of 2 boys with my dream girl • Observer • Catalunya • Career coach • Business Insider, Fast Co., Forge • Join 40K+ others for weekly stories

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