How Do You Say “Happy Birthday”… Or Just “Thank You”?

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A couple of days ago, it was my birthday and I took the day off and spent it doing some fun things that I wanted to do for myself… largely because my friend, Marlene Greene (a supurb marketer) bugged me and made me feel guilty if I didn’t.

The doorbell rang and I got a surprise visit at my home from a lady I didn’t know and had never seen before. She stood there with a gift and balloon in her hands and wished me “Happy Birthday.” I thanked her and took the gift into the kitchen to see what it was and who it was from.

I was thrilled when I found it was from my dear friend, Joe Polish and his gang at Piranha Marketing. These guys are SO special to me and are like a second family. They always treat me as though I am someone special… the only friend or client they have. I know that’s not the case, and I’m sure they treat everyone that way.

In a previous post I mentioned that Robert Cialdini, author of “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” and (my favorite) “YES!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive”, said that gifts should be:

  • Personal
  • Meaningful or Relevant
  • Unexpected

That is, they should be personal to the receiver. It’s not about you. It never is. It’s about the other person, and the more personal you can make your gift to someone else, the more appreciated it will be and the more impact it will have. Joe and his staff know that I am very conscious of my health, what I put in my body, and that I am a gym rat as well as race bicycles, and compete in 5 and 10k running races and triathlons. So his gift of fresh fruit was especially personal and relevant to me.

Finally, Cialdini says the gift should be unexpected. And for sure, Joe’s gift was that! I had no idea it was coming, and was totally (and pleasantly) surprised when it arrived.

Joe is good friends with Dr. Cialdini, and has interviewed him for Joe’s “Genius Network” and had him speak at the recent “I Love Marketing” seminar that Joe and his partner, Dean Jackson put on last month. (By the way, if you don’t know Dean, visit his website, sign for everything you can get from him, and do the same at the I Love Marketing website… it’ll be well worth your while.

I’ve known Joe for a long time, and I know he was modeling Cialdini’s three gift-giving points long before he knew Dr. Cialdini. That’s just how Joe is. Being the brilliant marketer that he is, he knows what works and implements it without question or hesitation.

Now, personally, I’ve seen how this works first hand. Over the years, I’ve gotten several gifts such as this. My friend, Adam Urbanski, once sent me a gift of brownies from Fairytale Brownies, and I always remember him for his kindness and thoughtfulness. And like Joe, Adam is one whom I’d go out of my way to do anything for.

Some people give gifts of training, books, or time. Joel Bauer, for instance, showers me with training videos and phone calls to exchange ideas. David Frey traveled from Houston to Phoenix to visit me in the hospital just before some major surgery I was about to have. Joe Polish visited me twice and Joel Bauer traveled from L.A. to Phoenix twice, and even brought a friend from Australia with him one time.

Melanie Benson Strick came with Erika, her assistant, from Los Angeles, as did Ann DeVere and Daven Michaels. Daven’s partner, Beejal Parmer, came from India.

A lot of others visited, called, sent emails, posted on Facebook, and otherwise expressed love and concern, and offered prayers on my behalf. Those things are all very much appreciated, but this message isn’t so much about critical or life-threatening times as it is about expressing thanks and showing appreciation for  what might appear to be “everyday” things.

My question to you is… what do you do to show your appreciation to your clients and/or prospects for giving you a sale, for the opportunity for you to make a presentation, for them spending time with you, or for any other kindness they may have shown you?

Your expression doesn’t have to be big, costly, or impressive. Oftentimes, a hand-written thank-you card or note goes a long way. It’s not so much what you do as it is that you do it. So start today thinking of ways to let people you know (family, friends, coaches, mentors, clients, prospects, etc.) hear from you and how much you appreciate whatever it is that’s on your mind.

Then let me know what happens. As always, I’m very interested in your successs. Please let me know what I can do to help you achieve more of it.

Martin Howey, CEO
TopLine Business Solutions

Oh, and one more thing… I had dinner with one of my best friends last night… top copywriter, Ray Edwards. I can’t wait to tell you what we talked about and how it can impact you and your business in a big way. I’m very excited about it! More to come!



4 Comments for this entry

  • David Frey says:


    I love this message.

    Th old saying, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” is more true today than ever before.

    Thanks for sharing this with us!


    • Martin Howey says:

      Thank you, David… your comments and insights are ALWAYS appreciated! In large part, you were a major inspiration for this article. You’re always there when I need you or when I least expect it… always ready with counsel, advice, and inspiration. If more people had the vision and the genuiune “caring gene” that you have, we’d all be better off. I am so honored and blessed to have you as a trusted and treasured friend, mentor, and inspiration!

  • Miguel says:

    Belated birthday greetings Martin.
    Nice touch from Joe and the Piranha team.
    I studied with Dr. Cialdini in June, and his
    work is groundbreaking, and more importantly
    accurate and duplicatable. Thanks for this
    update, and again Happy Birthday Martin.

    I wholeheartedly concur with David’s remarks.

  • Martin Howey says:

    You’re right, Miguel… Dr. Cialdini’s info is both accurate, duplicatable, and groundbreaking… and it’s easy to apply to any business or personal situation. His “YES! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive book is my favorite. Fifty different methods that are easy to understand and apply, and they are fun to read. Cialdini injects a little humor at the end of some of the chapters that make him a “real” person and demonstrates that outside the classroom and the lecture halls, he knows what’s going on. This is a highly recommend book, as are his other works.

    And thank you, Miguel, for your always insightful comments, birthday wishes, and your friendship… all very much appreciated!


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