By: Mark Frasco
On my first anniversary of employment and every anniversary and major event in my career for over six years, Dan Ruple, the president of Metropolitan Supply, wrote me a personal thank you or congratulatory note.
Metropolitan Supply was a multi-divisional, wholesale industrial distributor with over 200 employees.
Certainly Dan had a system, and he likely even had help, but every single note was a treasure to me. Always on his personal letterhead or in his handwriting, he would take the time to share his thoughts about me and my work. I had many offers to work for others, even competitors for more money, but the thought of leaving Dan’s company was too difficult for me to consider. His thoughtfulness stayed with me all these years.
I’m a big believer that as we become more proficient at online communication – email, Twitter, Facebook, to name a few – we are losing the elegance and meaning of the personal act of formally expressing our appreciation to others who make a difference in our lives. An email saying “thanks” has meaning and has served our modern love affair with improved efficiency. Ironically, the outlier – that one personal handwritten note – stands out as a memorable interaction above all others.
We have brought Dan Ruple’s thoughtfulness into our process at COACT. Over 35% of the conversations we have with decision makers are followed up with a handwritten card and expression of appreciation. It would be impossible to measure the good will that we’ve built by this effort, but I believe it is the catalyst to much of our success as people and salespeople.
Now, as another Thanksgiving comes upon us, take a moment to consider a new ritual, a ritual of sending thanks to those who mean the most to you. Once you develop the awareness, you will recognize scores of opportunities to send your appreciation. Keep your stationary where you will always see it and pull one a day from the stack.
I couldn’t tell you how many hundreds of handwritten cards I’ve sent over the years. Some certainly more meaningful than others, but every one of them was written with the intention of sincerely sharing my appreciation for what the addressee had done for me or what they meant to me. Many have become good friends and others barely a memory, but all for a moment felt the feeling that we get when someone says with sincerity “thank you.”
Dan, thank you for teaching me one of life’s greatest lessons – the act of showing appreciation.
Letter from Dan Ruple – June 30, 1983
*Note: This article was originally published in November 2013 and has been updated and revised for relevance.