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The Financial Art of Saying “Thank You”

Did you know that those who make it a point to practice saying ‘thank you’ also sleep better, exercise more, feel optimistic about Philadelphia sports teams, are less materialistic, more prone to be financially secure, smile relentlessly, and can even have greater mental clarity?

Actually, there is absolutely zero scientific evidence to support any of those statements. But what I can tell you, from my own experiences, is that a simple thank you sometimes translates into a financially advantageous opportunity.

I’m not talking about selling out by purchasing one of those cookie-cutter Hallmark cards that help you say “Thank you for not firing me after I photocopied my naked bum and passed around the office as your annual Christmas card.

I am referring to genuine, warm and sincere thank you’s, whether written or verbalized, can lead to better relationships and engagement with one another.  The three real life examples that have always stuck with me are:

First Job.  Every spring semester, Big 4 accounting firms would visit my college campus to recruit for their summer internship programs.  Only the crème de la crème were selected and although not guaranteed, interns were notorious for receiving full-time offers.  Having a job, in-hand, heading into senior year could not have been more coveted. 

Wanting to pen a proper thank you for each recruiter I met with, I volunteered a couple of office hours to the business school in exchange for stationary.  Two weeks later, my #1 choice of Big 4 firms phoned, asking if I would accept a summer position.  The recruiter even went out of her way to comment on my personal touch.

For me, the interview didn’t end until each person received a thank you for their time. Sadly, most view this as nothing more than an obligatory follow up.  The 15 minutes, of my life, it took to write a few quick words opened up the doorway to a very prosperous career.   

Rental Property.  Shortly after graduation, two buddies and I dove into the – never a dull moment – world of rental properties.  I was tasked with marketing the properties to prospective tenants.  After walking numerous interested people through a particular unit, I wrote a ‘thank you’ to the one person who was least intrigued.  

The note accomplished three things – it thanked the tenant for their time and honest feedback, emphasized my enthusiasm to be a fair and supportive landlord, and reinforced a personal connection we’ve made during the showing that helped sooth over the rental price.  3 years later, as the perfect tenant was renewing the lease for a 4th term, they reminded me of that note. And not once did we ever try to raise the rent.

Incentive Compensation.  Most recently, I was with a firm who was financially spiraling out of control.  I worked my team hard to protect working capital from leaving the company and renegotiated mostly every contract for more favorable terms.  Each year-end, bets were taken on which corporate line I would be feeding the team regarding bonus expectations – “the industry downturn is impacting everyone, not just us…” or “the results did not come in as expected…”  

One year, instead of pleading with the Compensation Committee like every other Officer does for their team, I thanked them.  It wasn’t anything special, just a simple thanks for taking note of our efforts and that I sympathized with their struggle to find a balance between retaining top talent and maintaining happy stakeholders.

Later that week, one of the committee members stopped me in the hallway and whispered, “nice touch, you got the lion’s share of the bonus pool for you and your team”.

 

All of that said, not every thank you will cause someone to hand you a dollar, nor should you have any such expectation.

However, these two incredibly powerful words acknowledges your appreciation of someone and stands to motivate.  So, the next time you communicate “thank you” (in any language) to someone, do your best to make that person truly feel your intentions, rather than hearing a simple phrase.  And always thank a veteran.

As a personal ‘thanks’, for reading my post, please click here1 to redeem a $5 Starbucks gift card.  

I want to hear your ‘Thank You’ stories.  Has it ever led to financial or personal gain for you and/or others?

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1 Lesson learned.  See sentence “All of that said, not every thank you will cause someone to hand you a dollar, nor should you have any such expectation.

12 comments

  1. I really enjoyed this article. I think one of the most important things we do at the charity I volunteer with is sending handwritten, personal thank you notes to our donors and volunteers. It makes such a difference for getting people to return!

    I even read to the bottom before clicking on the link, and still did it just to see where it sent me. Thanks for the laugh!

    • I think less powerful emoticons are replacing the old handwritten ‘thank you’ note. Can you even imagine texting a recruiter, or worse yet, military personnel a as a ‘thank you’???

      Thank you, Kathleen for stopping by. Thank you for volunteering. And thank you for caring.

  2. Church, you seem like a smoother operator, in the best possible way. While I haven’t received anything nearly as cool as you have by simply saying ‘thank you’, I always make sure I say it to my husband when he does something for me. Even if it’s something mundane, like making me coffee. I feel like it’s easy to take people for granted and saying a genuine ‘thank you’ can be a simple way to appreciate them.

    I’ve found that you can stand out by simply following up while others haven’t. I’ve gotten jobs and apartments just by following up with an enthusiastic note.

    • Luxe, you humble me. I guess, one could argue that even a 5-watt bulb (me) shines bright in a dark cave and that my thank you’s had nothing to do with the outcome. But I believe in what you said – give the accolades no matter how mundane and people will notice.

      Thanks for popping in.

  3. MyMoneyDesign.com

    Great stories! I’ve always lived by the “you catch more flies with honey” mantra. When I did sales, it was unbelievable how far a simple “thank you” would go – even if no sale was made.

  4. financeswithpurpose

    Great post. It’s always better to treat everyone as another decent human being. It’s not only the best way to live, it feels better, and it often comes with its own rewards. I can’t not do this – it’s just wired into who I am – and I have a real challenge in environments (work or otherwise) where I’m not allowed to be that way as part of the culture. (It’s rare, but it has happened.) I can’t think of any thank-yous that have brought in actual dollars, but I still make it a habit.

    And even better about always thanking a vet. Love your posts, Church! (We must both be from small towns or something…)

    • You are too sweet and thank you for the kind words. Maybe your appreciation hasn’t turned into financial gain (just yet), but the ancillary rewards are just as good if not better.

  5. I love this. I wish more people understood the power of “thank you” because it truly does have an impact. Especially when delivered with sincerity. I’m always impressed by candidates who send me TYs after interviews. It may not get you the job, but it might differentiate you from someone in a head-to-head tie.

  6. Great post, I read once, probably on Rock Star finance about the idea of gifting a box of chocolate to the lead flight attendant. I fly, a lot, and adopted this on virtually all flights. Man, the flight attendants are so so appreciative, it makes it totally worth the 10 or 15 bucks just to hear their thanks. I suspect it probably leads to a nicer flight for everyone. Oddly enough, it also results in the offer of unlimited free drinks, which I never except. I don’t drink at all, and when the crew realizes I wasn’t trying to arrange free drinks, they wind up feeling even better about the entire thing. I know flying can suck, but, man, I think flight crews have a really hard job, and are generally unappreciated, this makes quite a difference.

    • Such thoughtfulness, Tom. It’s safe to say that we could apply this is many other situations to make a difference. No matter how big or small – it goes a long way.

      I am going to steal this one from you the next time I fly.

      Tom, thank you for being a decent human being. Need more of that.

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