Posts Tagged ‘thank you notes’

Gratitude Is a Two Way Street in Business and Life

Is it just me or has gratitude become a less traveled street than in years gone by?  What happened to personal thank you cards or even small gifts to acknowledge the work efforts of others?

Have we become so conditioned to he or she “is getting paid to do” whatever that we have forgotten this simple, human gesture of gratitude?

The reason for this question is because of some recent interactions with a local health care facility and its staff.  Words could not express my personal gratitude for the care a loved one received.  So I bought a couple of cards and some candy and presented these sincere gifts of appreciation to the healthcare staff.

When I presented the gifts, I could see the staff members were quite shocked and pleasantly surprised by this action. My sense was my action was not typical of other customers to this health care facility.

Then I spoke with a close friend whose husband is a neurologist.  She confirmed that such gifts of gratitude are indeed rare because people believe the people are being paid to do a job and a simple verbal thank you is enough.

Actions of Appreciation Abound

Social media provides both a marketing channel and incredible opportunities to express one’s gratitude.  These expressions can be sharing the posts of others to actually commenting and thanking anyone who shares your social media postings. By taking these actions of appreciation, you are demonstrating you are an authentic, caring human being who appreciates the efforts of others.

Writing thank you notes or even just a “thinking of you” note can bring a smile to someone else’s day.  Our email IN boxes are full with a lot of buy this or buy that sales pitches. Receiving the handwritten note or card delivered by the USPS makes it stand out away from all the other clutter we receive.

One of my colleagues, Dan Waldschmidt, attempts to write at least two thank you notes a day to stay grounded and connected to others.  He totally understands that gratitude is a two way street both in business and in life.


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The Simple Power of a Handwritten Thank You Note

Do you remember as a child writing a thank you note for a Christmas or birthday gift?  I certainly do.

thank-you-noteMy mother would write out what to say and then I would copy it onto a note card or a piece of stationary. Of course being a child, my participation wasn’t without some complaining and reluctance.  When I became older, I would compose each thank you note individually to express my gratitude for the gift.  Yes Mom still asked me even as a young adult “Did you remember to write your thank you notes?”

Today writing thank you notes appears to have become a lost art.  People are too busy or maybe they did not have parents guiding them in this particular behavior of expressing gratitude.

Yesterday I received a written note from a social media colleague. We spoke over the phone just to get to know each other.  I would have sent him one, but I could not find his address.  On Monday, I will send him a note.

With technology especially through social media appearing to overrun the communication process, receiving a handwritten thank you note is very powerful for both parties.  First, the person writing the note acknowledges his or her gratitude or appreciation.  Second, the person receiving the note is genuinely pleased. Third, both of them have strengthened their relationship and keeps them grounded as real human beings.

Personally, I do attempt to send at least one hand written note a day just to keep my own humanity in check.  Life is so much more than fingers dancing over a keyboard.

To isolate ourselves through social media and other technologies such texting I believe is one of the current downfalls.  People no longer know how to authentically communicate. Reading body language to actively listening is also a diminishing soft skill set.

Just think how you feel when you receive something in the mail beyond the business size envelope or endless marketing flyers.  You may wonder who is this note or card from? Why is he or she writing to me?  Then when you open it, you may be pleasantly surprised by the few words thanking you for just being you.

Yes the simple handwritten thank you note is indeed very powerful.  And my thanks to my mother for instilling in me the power of this form of communication.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver for leaders who desire a Forward Thinking Sales Culture. She supports executive leadership in bridging the sales culture gap of people and processes that restricts SMB sales results. If you want to increase sales, then call Leanne at central time USA to solve your disengaged employees and ultimately your disengaged sales culture as well as improve your own sales results. Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.


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Take a Few Minutes to Dramatically Increase Sales Opportunities

“You won’t believe this, I couldn’t wait to tell you,” excitedly exclaimed my executive coaching client in a recent phone call.  She did not even allow me the opportunity to ask how she was before she started sharing how a few minutes provided a dramatic opportunity to increase sales.

increase-salesShe continued “We just had a meeting with an ideal customer who has the potential to become our largest client. He met with my boss and myself.  In that meeting he told my boss, the only reason I am meeting with you is because your salesperson sent me a handwritten note.  When I received that note, I immediately showed it to my sales manager and told him this is how business is done, with personalized gratitude.”

Even though my executive coaching client knew about writing thank you notes as part of the process to increase sales, she had stopped that behavior.  During our executive coaching sessions when she shared she had met with a new and qualified sales lead, I always asked “Did you send a thank you note?”  After several months, she then began many of our conversations with “I had six meetings last week and sent every one a personalized, handwritten,  thank you note.”

Now I know there are some services that offer cards with handwriting that looks like the senders’. These are nice. Yet my sense is a personalized, handwritten note with just a few lines can be far more effective to increase sales and costs a whole lot less.

What salespeople sometimes forget is people buy from people they know and trust. Personalized, handwritten notes achieve both of those objectives and provide a much needed springboard to increase sales.

I remember writing thank you notes back in grade school usually after my birthday or Christmas.  My mother sat me down at the kitchen table and I had to print, then later in cursive write a thank you to everyone who sent me a gift. Writing thank you notes is an ingrained habit.  Not to write one for me is just rude.

What I encourage my executive coaching clients to do is to go to the local dollar store and purchase packages containing anywhere from 6 to 10 cards. These are overruns from the much larger stores and where they sell for $3 to $7. Over the weekend when I was out running errands, I purchased several packages totaling $3.21 tax included as I had to write 3 thank yous for meetings I had the previous week.

increase-salesMy advice is if you want to increase sales opportunities, remember the personal touch is always best. If you have a few minutes to write an email to say thank you, you have the same amount of time to write a personal, handwritten thank you note.

Learn some other tips in how to Be the Red Jacket in the sea of gray suits if you truly want to stand out and differentiate yourself from all those other small businesses.

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Too Busy To Be Grateful?


Small business owners to sales professional are indeed very busy people. Between rushing to this meeting and that, making those ongoing and necessary business to business connections, completing all the paperwork, staying connected through their mobile devices or smart phones and not to mention balancing family and social commitments, their lives more often than not appears to resemble Tasmanian Devil from Looney Tunes. Yet how busy is too busy to be grateful?

What random acts of kindness and gratitude are being left in the dust under this excuse of “I’m too busy.”

What does being too busy suggest to others?

  • Uncaring?
  • Arrogant?
  • Unaware?
  • Poor business ethics?
  • Clueless?

In a free PR opportunity through my daily digest of HARO, I became aware of a column written by Maureen Dowd specific to gratitude and the behavior of sending thank you cards or notes. She wrote about Paul Newman who in spite of his very busy schedule and his natural cynicism sent personal thank you cards. Now one might think that someone of Mr. Newman’s statue and schedule would just be too busy to be grateful. However given his business ethics as reflected through his behaviors toward others such as his charitable works, I was not surprised by her comment.

To stand out in the busy now global marketplace is difficult. However by being authentic in one’s business ethics and demonstrating a consistent attitude of gratitude, you can Be that Red Jacket among all the other gray suits.

President Theodore Roosevelt said it the best “no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” Handwritten thank you notes show you care and are not too busy to be grateful. In small business to big business people buy on emotions first. Caring is the first step to developing those emotions as well as building trust.
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