A Car Dealer’s Cheesy Thank You

Thank You Card

When we were younger, we were taught to be polite and say “Thank you.” It’s a kind gesture; an acknowledgment that you went out of your way to do something nice. A few years ago I saw an assistant store manager use the power of a ‘thank you’ in a remarkable way. My wife had gone into a Brighton store (handbag and accessories) and made some purchases. A few days later, upon our return from vacation, my wife was greeted with a beautiful, hand-written, detailed thank you from the assistant store manager. I was shocked.

That type of personal attention and personalized thank you typically comes from somebody who spends a ton of money in a store. I am particularly grateful that my wife did no such thing that day. Instead, she made a few ordinary purchases and was rewarded with an extraordinary response.

I got a new car this week and a few days later got in the mail a thank you from the car salesman who sold me my car. The envelope was handwritten and it had a real stamp on it. I opened the envelope and almost burst out laughing. It was a single piece of photocopy paper that had been folded in half and then folded again into quarters. It was something that my 8 year-old would print out from a 10-year-old computer program that would print out a little message on one corner of the folded paper and then again on another quarter of that paper. The quality of the paper was basic photocopy paper that was thin and flimsy.

The salesman simply scribbled his name to the preprinted message, folded the paper and shoved it into a small envelope. That was it. He was done.

Mind you, I did not expect a thank you note nor did it really matter to me whether I received one for my purchase. However, there is a big distinction between a cheesy thank you and one that takes a few moments of your time that represents a quality thank you. The difference is night and day. The thank you I received from the car salesman showed a total lack of creativity, interest and quality in the message he was portraying to a valued customer. On the other hand, the assistant manager who sent my wife a handwritten note on custom stationery created a lasting impression of someone who truly cared about her customer, even though the purchase was not that significant.

What’s the take home message that you can use when you market yourself to your potential clients? Instead of sending them a canned thank you for visiting your office, take the extra time to write out a personalized handwritten thank you showing them that you care. I think I’m going to take my own advice and get myself some new personalized stationery and make sure that every new client who walks through my door, whether I take them on as a client or not, will receive a handwritten personalized thank you from me.

To all those people who use personalized thank you’s, congratulations. It makes a difference.

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5 Responses to A Car Dealer’s Cheesy Thank You

  • Jen Strickland says:

    Dear Gerry,
    I would like to let you know that I came across this article this morning. As an Owner of an Independent Car Dealership I appreciated your honesty and the point of view. I was actually in the market for new Thank You cards and was debating on the more generic cards from our supplier or the custom printed ones from our local print shop. I already made the call for the more expensive custom ones. Thanks for the article and I am sure my customers will appreciate it as well!
    Jen Williamson
    Right Way Automotive

  • Hi Jen,
    Good choice. Huge difference in the way the customer feels when getting a thin junky folded piece of paper compared to something substantial. Also, the few seconds it takes to personalize the card will make all the difference in the world.


  • Anne Bousselot says:


    Thanks for sharing your point of view! I’ve received a similar cheese card myself. While the title got my attention, I appreciated reading your response to the card from the Brighton store as well.

    Anne Bousselot
    SendOutCards Independent Distributor

  • Anne,
    I’m a big fan of SendOutCards. I think it’s a great product. Using that product to send out your thank you cards would have been 10,000 times better than the plain piece of paper I received from this car dealer. No question about it.

    How do you use your cards and when?


  • Anne Bousselot says:


    How? How not!? :o). I was a Realtor when I started with SOC and have sent cards for countless reasons. How often? Practically daily.

    It’s amazing what a heartfelt card can do!


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