“Thank You Notes 101” is the title I decided to give this blog post because it’s better for SEO, but I really wanted to name it “Why Bother With Thank You Notes” or “Thank You Notes and then some…”
I know a lot of folks think that thank you notes are more in the realm of etiquette, but I believe they are not only a sign that someone has good manners, they also indicate what I refer to as “basic business savvy.” Not much else creates the same impression or positive social capital as a well written, genuine and timely thank you note. (Earlier this year, I even wrote about a “Best Thank You Note Contest” I came across.)
I’ve always found that the end of the year is a great time to turn the “To Do” of holiday card writing into an enjoyable gratitude exercise and use it to write personal thank you notes to:
- Business/referral partners
“I am proud that you think so highly of Bella Domain that you recommended our services to one of your clients. Many thanks for your thoughtfulness.”
“I hardly know how to express my gratitude for your assistance; without it, the deal would never have closed.”
“Your kindness and responsiveness during a very stressful time were deeply appreciated.”
“Words cannot express the heartfelt thanks of my team. Your assistance was invaluable.”
“I was so glad you were able to attend. Your insightful questions helped put the client’s challenges in a whole new light.”
“I appreciated the opportunity to learn the ropes from a real rock star like you.”
“My time is your time – anytime.”
“You were very kind to take time to meet with me about developers. I hope to have the opportunity to return the favor when you’re ready to talk about your launch.”
“The gift of time is priceless. Thanks for the countless hours you devoted to the WITI proposal.”
“We think you have just redefined ‘above and beyond.’ The presentation deck was more than anyone could have imagined.”
“I know you had to put aside some important projects to complete the proposal deck. I just wanted to tell you how much it meant to us. Please use this gift card to take your team out on our behalf.”
“Your efforts added a new dimension to the scope of our upcoming social media project. Thanks for being there when it mattered.”
“I just wanted to let you know that I never take clients for granted. I will do everything possible to continue to deserve your business.”
“Many things have changed since we started doing business together. One thing has not: I value our relationship and will do all I can to strengthen it in the coming year.”
In lieu of a gift
Now, granted, some of the vendors or employees you’re thanking might prefer, and even warrant, a gift card along with the note (see below). However, when you can’t afford gifts, or it’s not appropriate because of a corporate policy, a well-written thank you note creates a lasting impression and is often posted up on a bulletin board and glanced at all year long. I recently read that President Clinton advised Oprah to write thank you notes in letterform and kept to a single page so they’d be easier for the recipient to frame and hang on a wall. Not exactly what I’m talking about here, but it proves my point. People hang onto thank you notes and the gratitude or recognition within them.
When I managed a large team of what I like to affectionately refer to as “junior mints” (either directly or indirectly), as the VP of Research Operations at a past employer in Chicago, each year-end I would take time throughout the month of December to personalize a holiday card for each member of my staff. I couldn’t afford to buy them each a gift, but I could take the time to write a note thanking them for specific things they’d done during the year or to recognize their unique talents and contributions to the company. I knew the notes were received as I’d hoped when I would still see them hanging on the cube or office walls of the recipients long after the holidays had past and into the next year.
So why not take some time this year to write thank you notes/holiday cards and put some thought into how specific people have helped you in your business, career or life in 2010 and tell them how grateful you are that they’re in your network? You’ll be surprised at how good you’ll feel when you write them and how much good karma you’ll experience once you pass them onto the deserving recipients.
When a gift is appropriate
One word of caution though, if you have biz or referral partners that have sent revenue generating business, or other types of significant opportunities your way, think very carefully about what else you could do to show your gratitude this year. If you haven’t reciprocated or offered them some form of trade, well, that’s just bad business savvy. And, if you’re not sure how you can reciprocate or what they might value in trade, simply ASK THEM.
BTW, as a biz owner you’re allowed gift allowances as a business expense
(here’s a WomenEntrepreneur.com article covering this), so if you don’t have a formal referral program in place (which I recommend), or don’t extend some form of a gesture of thanks other than an email, you just might see fewer opportunities or leads sent your way next year. I’m just saying…..
As tough as things have been for most of us these past few years (we’re definitely included in this), I feel that I have so much for which to be grateful this Thanksgiving and now just need to know to whom I write the thank you card?
Between finally getting out of dreary and “frosty” Seattle, thanks to Keith (my incredibly creative and talented husband) landing an
amazing opportunity at what we’re pretty certain is his dream interactive agency in San Francisco, and a healthy and happy enough circle of family and friends, I thought I had been blessed enough. However, by seriously shaking things up in our lives and shifting the energy around this year, it appears the universe is now directing some of that famous California sunshine on the many seeds I’ve planted these past few years.
So, why do I want to share some of what I have to be grateful for today? Well, beside it being Thanksgiving, and simply wanting to share my excitement over recent events, I think it is worth explaining that the type of content creation, publicity and media exposure I share below demonstrates what I can also do for my clients. It took plenty of hard, smart and efficient work, and a little bit of good fortune, but it was mainly strategy, tactics and persistent follow-up that made most of what I share below happen.
Some of the most significant sprouting is around my writing and content creation in the form of the little seedling that is my book, “I’m at a Networking Event–Now What???” I’d say this little sprout is well on its way to becoming a nice sturdy plant and I have my incredible network of friends, family, contacts, colleagues and fans for helping me get the word out and consistently supporting my efforts in promoting my networking manifesto. Plus, doing a few 12 Rules of Effective Networking webinars for some non-profits has brought me more good karma than I ever could have imagined and has enabled me to reach way more people than the number of folks that have attended my PIF (pay it forward) Parties to date. I’ve seen the direct correlation between those webinars and the opportunities that have recently come my way, as well as the new Facebook fans, Twitter followers, Bella Domain Networking group members on LinkedIn, email/blog subscribers and more.
Earlier this year, I was also fortunate enough to get selected as a columnist for WomenEntrepreneur.com where recently my third article for my Networking is Connecting column was recently picked up by FoxNews.com (of all places). Then, within a few days of that happening, and thanks to a Google alert, I found out that my book was in the #1 spot on the Inc.com 2010 Holiday Gift Guide for business books! Whah?? Such a gift! And with any luck, I’ll soon get to break-even with my publisher, Mitchell Levy of Happy About!
(Soon after the above we noticed that my book was finally ranked less than 100K on Amazon again and was ranked #44,867! It had been in the coveted less-than-100K rank soon after it was released, about a year ago this month.)
Lastly, after spotting the Inc.com recognition, and a few days of jumping up and down with excitement, yesterday, I learned (thanks to another Google alert) that, most likely due to all the activity around these things, I was the featured columnist on the WomenEntrepreneur.com home page (see below)! Sweet!
Now, to whom do you think I should write the thank you card?? Kind of a hard call isn’t it? Happy Thanksgiving all and please let me know if there is anything I can help YOU be thankful for by next Turkey Day!
LinkedIn is a great tool for doing follow up after meeting someone at an event, for coffee or when you’ve exchanged business cards after a long flight back from the east coast. I often send LinkedIn invites as my follow up, and then use it to keep in touch and up-to-date with what is happening with the person I’ve taken some time to get to know.
If you decide to use LinkedIn for this purpose as well, make sure that you are more than occasionally updating your status, while also checking your connections’ status updates, links, blogs, announcements, reading lists or whatever else they have shared there.
Try to interact with others when it’s relevant and sincere, and use it as a way to send support, congrats, resources, news or info you think they might truly find useful. And, whatever you do, don’t use it to try to “leverage the useless.” (More on that in my next book!)Read More
Kudos to the University of Washington (UW) School of Law Career Planning folks for having a “Best Thank You” contest for the law students to enter because as they note in the blog post, “Networking with a good reputation as a trustworthy, amicable, and fair professional with integrity and the client’s interests at heart is the ideal every lawyer should aspire to.” What do the 2 winners get? A box of Thank You cards, of course, courtesy of Papyrus in the University Village. Nice!
As I note in my book, timely follow-up in the form of a handwritten thank you note is, hands down, STILL one of the best ways to be memorable!
p.s. Just wish they had the correct use of quotes AFTER the punctuation throughout the blog post.
You can check out another blog post about thank you notes HERE.
Today, I submitted what I consider 3 freebie Ask SandyJK answers to their “Got a great idea?” site and have already seen at least one other comment that’s in agreement with the “No Need to Say Thank You” policy Sbux appears to support:
3 ideas from BellaD:
First off, the login from my starbucks.com registration should have populated the login when I was redirected to the Got an Idea site.
2nd, happy that y’all finally came up with a motivator to get people to register their cards (besides tracking just how much serious coin we are spending w/Sbux) in the form of free “extras” etc, but you really need to take it a step further. It’s time to add $5 for every $100 spent or better yet $5 for every $50 loaded, etc. People should GET SOMETHING for their loyalty to your brand, company, employees, etc.
3rd – train partners to say “THANK YOU” instead of the all too common, “here ya go” or “there ya go” or “have a good one.” none of these are acceptable until AFTER a thank you (for spending your money here instead of Tully’s, Caribou, Peets, etc) has been said. What is the deal with this? It happens all the time, in most any location or city….sad. Premium products require premium service to go along with the purchase experience.
Glad you’ve started this program! SJKRead More