When it comes to business, a thank you can go a long way. With a well-written thank you can go even further -- endearing you to clients and associates and helping make customers and compadres for life.
But in the age of instant communication and emoji-filled text messages, getting it right is just as important as writing it. Fear not, these tips can guide you as you express your gratitude.
Before writing a word, choose your medium. Email is fine, but a handwritten note is more personal. If you’re uncomfortable with a note, a business letter (with the same formatting of other correspondence) can be a happy compromise. And if you opt for a note or letter, make sure you use quality paper or an appropriate thank you card (no puppies or kittens, but maybe some art or a simple design).
When you set out to write, remember no one likes a phony, so the most important thing you can do is to be genuine.
Write a cordial greeting, addressing the recipient by name. Then follow with a specific reason or two for why you’re thankful.
You can keep it brief (best for cards and notes). For example:
Thanks for having lunch with me on Tuesday. Your insights were invaluable and were key to my landing the XYZ Widget Co. contract.”
Or you can go into greater detail (perfect for an email or letter):
Thanks so much for taking the time for lunch on Tuesday. Your insights into the world of widgets, and specifically the direction XYZ Widget Co. is likely to go in the coming fiscal year, was invaluable and provided me with the knowledge to craft a contract that works well for them and helps me grow my clientele.”
While widgets and XYZ Widget Co. are pure fictions for explanatory purposes, both of the above examples feature another key to a killer thank you: They stress the importance of the help provided and what it means to you.
If you’re writing a client rather than an associate, the formula is much the same. Again, be specific and personal.
Thanks so much for visiting the store on Friday. I am so glad you found exactly the right area rug and lamps to complete your vision for your new living room. I hope the rest of the redecorating project goes well. If you find you need more decor options, we’re always here to help.”
In the above instance, you might even offer up a discount to further express your gratitude.
You also can take the opportunity to connect on a non-business level.
For example, if Sandy is an aspiring artist, you could add “I hope your latest works are going well and can’t wait to see your installation at the gallery this fall.” Or, if Tom is a baseball fan, you can add, “I hope to see you at the ballpark some time this summer. Go Cubs!”
Before wrapping up your thank you, make sure to say thanks one more time.
“Thanks again Sandy. I am so appreciative of all of your help. Please let me know if I can ever be of help to you in the future.” Or “Thank you again Tom. It was a pleasure getting to know you and helping you make your vision for the room a reality. I look forward to see photos when it’s done.”
Then make sure you sign off warmly without being overly familiar. Stay away from “love,” unless it is a really close friend, and instead choose “best wishes, best regards” or even “sincerely.”
Make sure to sign it. Even a typed letter feels more personal when signed by hand.