A “thank-you” note should not be a yearly ritual reserved just for the holidays but it should be used to show appreciation throughout the year. Even more importantly, if you are going to take the time to thank anyone, you should consider ways to show appreciation that are welcomed and remembered. Just going through the process of sending out a generic card at the end of the year will most likely produce a card that will end up in the trash bin with all the other cards received. This is a waste of your time, your money and maybe not the impression you really want to leave.
However, a well-written note that genuinely expresses your appreciation will be well-remembered. I don’t get a hand-written card very often, but when I do, I actually save these cards because I know someone took some time to select, write and send the card to me. This is one sure-fire way that you can stand out and will earn you increased loyalty.
Whether you write a thank-you note using the old-fashioned approach with a pen and paper (which I recommend), or use the now more common method via email or social media (which is still a good option), there are certain elements you should always include in any appreciation correspondence.
- Use your opening paragraph to thank your contact. Describe what you are showing appreciation for. For example, did this person provide you with a referral? Did you have a networking meeting? Did this person share information with you? This letter is NOT a sales or marketing letter. You are expressing appreciation and this letter should not be perceived as having any kind of ulterior motive. Simply summarize your discussion and state your gratitude.
- Use the second paragraph if needed to include any promised follow-up materials or to confirm details of any next step that was defined during your conversation.
- Finally, close the letter with an offer to reciprocate or return the favor. Once again, thank the person for his/her willingness to assist you.
The note does not have to be overly long, but it should be personal and sincere.
- Don’t forget to proofread your letter before sending out for misspellings and grammatical errors. Especially the person’s name!!!
- Follow-up with the recipient within 1-2 weeks after sending your letter if a next step has been established.
- Document your correspondence in some sort of contact management system. (a contact management system just happens to be one of the many components contained in the BD-PRo Marketing Toolkit….just in case you are interested)
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