In today’s fast paced environment we often forget the simple act of saying thank you. These two words can make a huge difference in both the business and personal spheres. In business, it can be the difference of receiving increased business referrals, and in the personal sphere it can increase and strengthen your circle of friends.
At the end of the day, people will forget what you said; forget what you did; but will never forget how you made them feel. Saying thank you is one of the most powerful tools you have in creating and sustaining success.
When I launched my company a few years ago, there were quite a few individuals who helped me. I have never forgotten what they did for me and to this day continue to thank you on a regular basis. Not only has it strengthened by relationships with each person, it has created a professional network I can count on for referrals.
1. Thank You for Time: Always thank someone when they make time to meet with you or talk to you over the phone. They have given up valuable time to make this happen. Remember, in today’s world, time is money!
When I interview candidates for a vacant position, my minimal expectation is to receive a thank you e-mail. Imagine my astonishment when I receive a hand written note – an art form that is fading due to the technology so readily available. You would be amazed how often a thank you is not received after an interview. The lack of a thank you note shows me that the candidate is either lazy, does not have what it takes to follow up or failed to realize that a thank you note could have secured their employment.
2. Allow the thanks to flow like a mini river: Always thank your clients for the business no matter how small or hard the project was. It amazes me how often individuals forget this. The reason stated is generally, ‘I was so busy!’ Well, everyone is busy and if the client is important to you for repeat business, and it is to your benefit to thank them, you will find the time.
I have a friend who is accountant. He took on a client who gave him additional assignments beyond the contracted assignments. He completed everything in a timely manner; got paid and life moved on. The client sent him a wonderful thank you note for the work he completed, expressing how well everything turned out. He did not respond immediately. A few weeks later, he realized he had not heard from the client. So he sent them an e-mail and learned that they had hired someone else, since they had not heard from him in response to their thank you note. They concluded that he was not satisfied with the additional workload and found someone else. In reality this was untrue and due to my friend not responding to the client lost a huge opportunity. A lesson learned.
3. Do Not Use Tired Clichés: Though is important saying thank you to your clients, always remember to make it personal to them.
Clichéd sayings such as: ‘Thank you for your business’ or ‘We appreciate your patronage’ does not do much to personalize your thanks. Avoid clichéd language and focus on your clients by name. The moment you say business you have made the client realize that despite the rapport you shared, at the end of the day they simply represent a business transaction. This diminishes the relationship you have worked so hard to develop.
When you acknowledge the client by name, they will notice that right away vs. a phrase such as ‘Thank you for your business’.
4. Know when to send a professional thank you letter: In most business settings, a quick thank you note will suffice. However, there are occasions which warrant a more formal thank you letter or e-mail.
An example of such a situation can be expressing thanks to outside professionals who attend an event as a guest speaker or tradeshow exhibitor and external organizations that provide services to you especially with no charge.
In these cases a well thought out thank you letter is need. Keep the length to no than a page.
Here is an example:
Pillow Mint Partners
PO Box 1234, Los Angeles, CA 90025
Dear Mr. Jackson,
Thank you so much for attending Javanese 4th Annual Conference on August 27, 2012. Thank you for delivering your presentation, “The Upcoming Trends In Business Communications.” The discussion that ensued really got a lot of people thinking how to incorporate the new technology into their daily business practices. In the days since the conference, we’ve received many positive responses relating to your presentation. It was really wonderful. If you’re available to speak again next year, we’d love to have you back!
Founder, Pillow Mint Partners
The example has the right amount of formality that it can be either a letter or an e-mail. The language is not stuffy and is directed to the recipient on a personal basis.
5. Be spontaneous with thank you’s: saying thank you is not reserved just for business. Saying you on daily basis on a non-business level is also essential. Saying thank you to people you encounter on a daily basis is great way to feel good about yourself, while also making someone else’s day a letter brighter. It can also create loyalty. Here are a few ideas:
a. Say thank you to your barista next time you go in for your daily coffee. Add, ‘Have a great day!’ You will be amazed at the smile you get back in return.
b. Thank the bagger at the local grocery store. It is not often they are thanked and you will be rewarded by their huge smile.
c. Thank the person at the car wash that washed your car when giving him/her their tip.
You get the idea…