Would Emily Post be pleased with the way you and your company thank clients and trade partners? If not, business strategist Dan Waldschmidt has a solution: Schedule time for gratefulness every day.

“In the busyness of life, we don’t make time to send thank-you notes,” says the president of Waldschmidt Partners. “We seem too busy to be thankful.”

To combat that, Waldschmidt has a daily appointment reminder to send one handwritten and personal thank-you note every day. In just a few minutes a day, “you give yourself hundreds of opportunities a year to make a memorable difference to someone in your life,” he says.

Waldschmidt also schedules time for three non-sales calls daily, personally responds to every email, and sends a note each time someone signs up for his email newsletter. It’s a high bar, but he doesn’t expect everyone to do what he does. “This doesn’t happen overnight,” he says. “It takes time, but the rewards are great.” Showing gratitude can boost reputation to the point where advertising can be cut back, he suggests. Here are his pointers:

  • Set business aside. Don’t sell in a thank-you note. “You’re better off not sending a card than pitching yourself in one,” Waldschmidt says. Also, ask for referrals separately. Make the note specifically about the client.
  • Be presentable. You don’t need a Hallmark card for every note. Well-designed blank stationery will work just fine.
  • Use an appropriate medium. Waldschmidt thanks newsletter subscribers via email, but says, “when you have the person’s mailing address and you’re thanking them for the big job you just finished, a handwritten note is important.”
  • Thank me later. Speaking of the big job, Waldschmidt suggests waiting 45 to 60 days to send that handwritten note. “If you send a note right away, it doesn’t mean as much because you just took that person’s money.”
  • No need to gush. Keep notes short and sweet. Something along these lines is ideal: “It was a delight to remodel your house. It’s been a few weeks and I hope you’re enjoying your new kitchen as much as we enjoyed building it for you.”

—Lauren Hunter, associate editor, REMODELING.