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Posted: January 23, 2013

An attitude of gratitude

Go for the threefold effect

Teri Karjala

The No. 1 tip that will change your business? Implementing an "attitude of gratitude." This is a simple, yet truly effective tool. A handwritten thank you card, for instance, can create warm feelings of being appreciated and acknowledged in your clientele. It also lets them know that you see them as more than just a number or dollar sign. It signifies that they are important and valued.

I celebrate gratitude in my life every day. I share with people how important they are in my life because they matter to me. I say this, but I should mention that this is only effective if you are genuine about it; otherwise, don’t try it. People can easily detect insincerity, which, of course, will have the reverse affect.

Gratitude is one of the highest ranking emotions, right up there with love.

I am always amazed at how well-received a simple handwritten thank you card is. Think about it: When you go to the mail and spot an envelope different from the others, you usually want to open that one first to see if it is indeed a card and, if so, who it could be from. If you are anything like me, you become filled with anticipation and excitement, and if you are the mushy type, after opening and reading it you are left with a warm fuzzy feeling that touches the soul.

Can it get any better than that?

Here are some examples that illustrate how powerful gratitude has been in our business:
1) After a business meeting, I sent out thank you cards to everyone that I personally met and had a conversation with. One of the recipients called that very day to say that she had received my card and immediately scheduled an appointment with our office.
2) After sending a thank you card to one of our partnerships, we continue to see weekly referrals from them. I can’t tell you how grateful we are for their confidence in us, and they seem to appreciate that we keep letting them know. We continue to follow up with additional thank you cards, gift baskets, etc. recognizing them with gratitude.

You will find that the more gratitude you send out into the world, the more you will receive in return. I have another article in the works regarding how you can use these return messages and cards as testimonials in your business as well. We have a wall full of thank you cards, emails, gifts, etc. that serve to promote business while motivating us in our workspace!

Expressing gratitude to your clients, employees, and partnerships has a threefold effect:
1) People WILL remember you.
2) They may return the sentiment, which allows for a continuous dialogue to take place that keeps you and your business in the forefront of their mind.
3) It also allows you to create and maintain a giving mentality which will impact every aspect of your life.

Tips:
• Create a gratitude journal.
• This will allow you to get in touch with what you are grateful for, both personally and professionally!  These can be big or small things. Examples: “I am thankful for the new partnership with XYZ company,” or “I am thankful for the neighbor next door for collecting my UPS package and keeping it safe for me while I was out of the office.” Try to come up with five or more. Make a game out of it to help keep you focused on the positive throughout your day.
• Adopt a “send a thank you card a day” routine.
• This is fun and can be a process that you look forward to daily! Send a card or other message of gratitude after the following to show them that an impression was made: meeting someone for the first time, one-on-one meetings, networking events, workshops, or seminars, and upon receiving anything (e.g., referrals, gifts, information, ideas, etc.)
• Customize your cards.
• We have two different types of cards that we use depending on the situation, one of which has been modeled after national bestselling author Bob Burg’s recommendations.

Specific tips for sending handwritten cards:

• Be prompt, and don't let weeks or months pass by. Send that day or the following day.
• Add something that is unique to that person receiving the message, such as, "I was listening to you at this week’s seminar on entrepreneurship and I loved ..."
• Be genuine, because no one likes a "brown-noser" or insincere person!
• Handwrite the mailing address.
• Write in blue pen. It has been said that blue is preferred over black pen. Who knew?!
• Release your expectations around the card once it is sent. In expressing gratitude you are opening up doors to the universe, and this is positive even if you don't see the person again.
 

Teri Karjala is owner of the Creative Counseling Center, LLC, as well as Talking With Teri, LLC. Teri’s passion for the business aspects of owning and maintaining a business has made her a sought out coach by others in the helping fields. She is a regular columnist for ColoradoBiz Magazine and speaks to therapists across the nation in building their thriving practice. Recently she has released her “How to Live Deliciously” Creative Journal Series to help inspire and empower adults, teens, and children. These are available in print at www.talkingwithteri.com.

Enjoy this article? Sign up to get ColoradoBiz Exclusives. The opinions expressed in this article are solely that of the author and do not represent ColoradoBiz magazine. Comments on articles will be removed if they include personal attacks.

Readers Respond

Thank you for the comments! Absolutely...I think instilling a practice of gratitude at ANY age can have profound effects on our community as a whole! I grew up in a small town where there was just a different mentality. So for those that read this article be INFECTIOUS today and infect 5...10...20 people with your sense of gratitude. You can be the change! By Teri Karjala on 2013 01 23
Excellent article and practice. I believe wholeheartedly in expressing gratitude to all ~ family, friends, staff, leadership, peers, strangers, and well... you get the idea smile Thank you for a fantastic article, made my day. By Trish O'Connor on 2013 01 23
Thank you! Maybe positive attitude, self sustainability, and gratitude should be taught to our kids at a young age. Can you imagine how the world would change? (I'm singing John Lennon in my head at this very moment) By H Sanchez on 2013 01 23
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