When I first started out in business for myself back in 1994, I had a habit of sending a thank you note for every call I went on. It didn’t matter if it was my first time meeting a client or my fifteenth time, I sent a follow up thank you within 48 hours. My business grew and grew. My clients actually commented on how much they enjoyed the cards as few people did that. Today even fewer do.I didn’t do it as a marketing tool. I did it because I was taught by a mother who believed in saying thank you. It was and is part of who I am.
I got busier and busier, my business doubling every year for the first five years, then leveled off to a comfortable pace. It was about year three that I started to slide on my thank you notes, email was really gaining traction and hand written notes were fast becoming a thing of the past. I still said thank you only not by handwritten notes. (Marketing Tip to Self: Write Notes not Emails)
It is the only habit I regret breaking. And one I am fast returning to. I’m returning to it because now giants like Nordstrom are using hand written thank you notes for every purchase no matter how big or how small. The tricky bit is that it relies on their people and sometimes they are slow in that follow up.
Any thank you, no matter how late, is better than none. This is particularly true of a handwritten note or typed with a signature but arrives by real old fashioned snail mail. This was brought home to me recently by a totally unexpected thank you I got from the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Century Furniture, Abel Alex Shuford, III. I had ordered a dining table from them before the holidays for client. This arrived February 5. I was stunned, stunned by a personal note from such a large company, stunned by it coming from the VP of Sales and Marketing. Oh I know chances are an assistant did this and signed it but the impact isn’t lost. And I hadn’t had a great experience with the local showroom so this more than repaired any damage and ensures that I’ll be buying Century again. Well done!
In fact, that is the first thank you I’ve ever received from a furniture vendor in my over 15 years in the design industry. Kind of shocking when you think about it. Now, I’ve gotten verbal thank yous and email thank yous but nothing that I kept on my desk and quite honestly wish I had a bulletin board to post it on. Yes, it meant that much to me. It has always amazed me that it hasn’t really caught on as a marketing tool, a sales system process to be leveraged by companies far and wide. I’ve never even gotten a hand written when I’ve made the purchase of a car or a house!
Imagine if you created a daily practice of just five handwritten thank you notes, not letters, not post its, not emails, actual notes with an envelope and address. In a very short time, you’d have created a very big impact. This is why card companies like sendoutcards exist. Ironically while that is a nice touch, I still prefer the hand touched instead of computer generated. The choice is yours but remember, it is never too late to say thank you and have it count. Start today, it will change your tomorrow.
I’d love your comments on your practice of saying thank you in business and in life. Share your stories here.