When was the last time you received a hand-written thank you card? When was the last time you sent one? While there are some people who still send these out, they’re few and far between. And their rarity makes getting one every better. Birthday cards come and go, Christmas cards are still hugely popular, but those hand written thank you cards are really special, particularly when they include a personal, sincere message inside.
Writing a thoughtful, sincere thank you note and sending it via snail mail requires more time and effort than a quick email. This makes them so much more valuable – it tells the recipient that the writer values them enough to take the time to scratch out something on paper rather than pounding it out on a keyboard. That they are worth the bother of putting the note into an envelope, the (*gasp*) cost of the stamp, and effort of finding the increasingly elusive mailbox to send it.
Hand-written notes have personality. They boast greater sincerity (whether real or no) then something printed out in perfect computer-based font. As the quality of our handwriting deteriorates, our hand becomes less perfect and more packed with personality and quirk. There may be scratched-out words and spelling mistakes galore. These are things that would be unforgivable when written in a program with spell-check but strangely charming in this context.
One of the best business relationship tools I have in my box are my packs of Thank You cards. There are always occasions where you can send someone such a card. Thank people who have taken you for coffee or lunch. Thank professionals who have gifted you with time in one way or another. Has someone gone above and beyond what they promised you? Send them a thank-you card. Did you receive a referral? That’s another thank-you card occasion. Send them out with abandon. They feel great to send and wonderful to receive. But the rub is that they must be an actual card, with a hand-written note, mailed to the intended recipient.
If you are concerned that sending out such cards seems too familiar, too grannyish, or too feminine, despair not! There are so many varieties of these cards out there that you can easily find ones that suit your personality, the character of your recipient, or even the specific reason for the thanks. For my business-related thank you cards, I prefer to go for a more neutral colour scheme, font, and graphic style. Personal thank you cards run the gamut from elegant and feminine to bold and a little hyper. It’s fun picking out the most appropriate card from the pile.
Including postage, each thank-you card ends up costing me about $2 and takes about ten minutes to write. They invariably have more impact than any thank-you note sent over email. They are really well received – I’ve gotten emails and phone calls from people thanking me for the thank you card! It’s cheaper and faster than taking someone out for coffee, and the warm feeling lasts much longer.