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What Happened to Thank You over the generations?
Last Friday my mother hit a milestone birthday. She would kill me if I told you how old she was. Let's just say it was in the range of three quarters of a century.
My wife and I organized a birthday party for family and friends. Actually my wife did all the work and I got some of the credit. My wife spent a lot of time obsessing over the details like the menu, seating chart, etc. because she wanted to make sure everything was just right.
If you have ever planned a sit down affair for 70 people, half of who you really don't know, and three quarters of who are over 70, it is a thankless job. All in all it was a very nice affair and everyone including mom and dad had a great time.
End of story... Until Saturday!!!
On Saturday, my uncle and aunt both called to thank us for the wonderful party. My mom and dad both called to thank us for the wonderful party. Ok, that's to be expected since it was in their honor, and it was nice to be appreciated for the efforts.
On Monday we received three thank you notes from their friends which all had to be mailed on Saturday. On Tuesday we received another couple of thank you notes including one from mom again reiterating what a nice party it was. On Wednesday we received another three thank you cards that probably were mailed on Monday. A couple of these were from people I did not know all that well, like neighbors of my parents. On Thursday a few more.
All the notes were personalized, heartfelt, hand written on personal stationary. And all of them took no more than 5 -10 minutes each to write and mail.
A week ago we were just glad to get through the affair because of the extra effort required. Now we are thrilled because people have called and written to thank us and let us know what a great time they had.
A few takeaways for you today are as follows...
First, it has been a long time since I have been thanked for the extra effort, though I tend to think I provide extra in a lot of things I do. My mom and dad's generation were ingrained with common courtesies like writing thank you notes. It is a shame that some of that has been lost over the years because it feels real good to be acknowledged for the extra efforts.
Second, for me personally, I probably am the receiver of the extra effort from people. I need to remember how good it felt to receive the hand written thank you note and try and write more of them myself.
Third, my mom's of an age and a generation that does not do email. Or if they do, it has not seeped over to the fine art of thank you notes. Frankly an email thank you is nice, but not near as pleasing as receiving an actual hand written thank you note on personal stationary, with a personal stamp, addressed personally to us.
Finally, how can you apply the lost art of the personalized thank you to your business? If you are a rep, do you send thank you notes to customers for new placements or ongoing business? If you are a retailer, do your sales people all send out handwritten thank you notes on their sales?
In some cases you may say it's a lot of work. It is! On the other hand, if the thank you note is written sincerely it will make such an impression on the recipient because hardly anyone does it anymore. Consider part of the relationship building.
And remember, I'm not talking about an email, or a computer generated deal. Those are nice if you can't get them done any other way. But nothing beats a hand written thank you on personalized stationary with a real stamp on it.
One of the tips from Joe Girard, listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the "World's Greatest Salesman" was he hand wrote thank you notes to every customer he ever sold a car to. If it's good enough for him, it should be good enough for us!!!
Thank you for your continued interest. Have a great selling day.