The Mileage of Gratitude (Your mileage may vary)

How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child.– Shakespeare’s King Lear

While I’m not going to focus on the lack (or perhaps the surplus?–Hey!  I’m trying to be generous) of gratitude in today’s children, I do want to point out something that can truly make an impression on your clients.

It is something terribly simple.  You may already be doing it.

When you’ve completed work with a client, send them a handwritten thank you card.

I told you it was simple.

Why write it by hand?  Why not print something from your computer?  The mere presence of ink on a card in a hand-addressed letter with a stamp from the US Postal Service will go so much farther than an e-mail.  A phone call isn’t bad, but the card is a semi-permanent reminder of your gratitude.

The small effort you put in to a card will make the recipient’s day–or at least his or her hour.

In an age crammed with e-mails and sales letters and all other kinds of collateral, your small act will rise to the top of that noisy pile creating the kind of impression you want to make.thankful

Don’t make the mistake like I did in sending out my first thank-you card to a client: I included some of my business cards.  When you do that, you turn a polite gesture into an act about you.

Don’t be that guy or gal.  Or me.

With your name included, they’ll remember who you are and what you did for them.  The business card only clutters up the act.

So, if you’re already in the habit of thanking customers with cards–excellent.  Your parents (or someone) taught you well.  Keep it up.

If not, you know that job you just finished?  Purchase a card (better yet, make some of your own with your own photo (again not of your business or you!), write a short note of thanks and send it off.

You’ll be adding a bit of joy to a frequently joyless world and getting a very high MPGA (Miles Per Grateful Act) rating.