In today’s instant communication era, a personal letter sent through the mail is considered somewhat of an anomaly. But that’s why it’s so valuable. When you write a note by hand and the sentiment is personalized, it demonstrates to the recipient that they were important enough for you to pull out the stationary box and choose your words carefully. And as a business owner, sending a “thank you” note sends a very clear message: you are important and valued.
Here are 5 easy steps to the perfect “thank you” note…
1. Choose your materials
Your first selection is paper or card stock. This could be a good opportunity to reinforce your brand by using a note card or letterhead with a subtle logo, but remember that this is not a marketing exercise. While I have super branding for my business, I often prefer to send a personal card from my favorite stationery store. And I’m also enjoying using a great online tool: Send Out Cards. This ingenious system lets you create and send a beautiful card (even in your own handwriting) with just a few clicks of the mouse!
2. Greet and express your gratitude
Start off with a greeting—you’d be surprised how often people forget to show the recipient that the note truly is personalized.
The first paragraph is where most people slip up: it’s known as the “just” trap. “I’m just writing to say…” or “I just want to thank you…” There’s no “just” involved in a gesture of appreciation, so avoid using this wording. It trivializes their nicety to you and states the obvious.
Instead, use the present tense and cut right to the chase! You can start with something as simple as “Thank you for your hospitality,” or you can be more specific, such as, “Thank you for putting me in touch with your client, Jessica, from XYZ and Associates.”
3. Discuss the purpose
This is your opportunity to say something meaningful about the nicety in question—the gift, business lead, or gesture that you’re showing appreciation for.
If you’re thanking someone for a gift, it’s usually pretty easy to pull out a useful statement. If it was a gesture, such as recommending your services to one of their colleagues, you could say something sincere like, “I really appreciate your taking the time to refer my business to your colleague. It means so much to me that you personally referred my services to X, and I’ll be sure to take special care of them!”
4. Set an appointment
You’re getting close to wrapping up, so here you can include a polite and casual appointment for the future.
If it’s someone you’re in regular contact with, perhaps mention that you’ll see him or her at an upcoming event, but note that you wanted to take the time to properly say thank you.
If the note is to someone you see infrequently—and it’s likely to stay that way—feel free to be vague. “Thanks again and I hope you are well” is a perfectly fine way to conclude your “thank you” note.
5. Wrap it up
A simple sign-off is sufficient. Your actual wording choice will depend on your relationship with the recipient, so use whatever is appropriate: Love, Yours truly, Best wishes, Hope to see you soon!
© 2011 Ali International, LLC
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