Forget Email! Snail Mail is Still the Best Way to Say “Thank You” in Business!
My stepmother always told us, “You should never send a thank you or a condolence letter as an email. It’s simply gauche.” And it is an adage I have chosen to live by over the years in my career. Here are a few tips on how to create lasting relationships with a few simple words of gratitude.
What warrants a thank you?
Anytime a client or potential client has gone out of their way for you, I believe a thank you note is in order. If a contractor has done an especially good job, I always try to let them know how much I appreciated their hard work on a project. Likewise, if you met someone at a conference or social event who gave you good advice, this is a great way to make a business connection that could lead to greater things. Thank you notes can lead to future conversations or solidify current relationships.
My handwriting is terrible though!
Many of us are sensitive about our handwriting skills. However, you can always find creative ways around this if you prefer not write a thank you note yourself. You can print out your message on a computer and then sign it to give it a personal touch. You can always hire an intern, Craigslist calligrapher, or a friend with elegant handwriting to transcribe your type-written messages to the page. Or, if you want to get frisky, try using an actual typewriter, and that will surely set you apart.
What do I say in a thank you card?
What you say should always be from the heart. Feel free to put in references like, “At last week’s conference, the advice you gave me about investing in my career with more coursework in economics was invaluable.” You can also provide a memory jog to someone like, “Sharing a glass of Cabernet with you in the hotel lounge after the meeting was a great way to relax and learn more about your business.” If you’re stuck, here are a few examples of phrases that can help get you started.
The paper matters.
I always like to buy original thank you cards made from quality stock and, if at all possible, environmentally friendly. Many photographers or creatives will create their own cards using online stores like White House Custom Color and Moo. Try places like Paper Source or even Etsy to find unique or personalized cards. A quality graphic designer can create a personal stationery set using your brand or name in a creative way.
Gifts as a thank you.
When it comes to a thank you gift, I caution business professionals to play it safe and make any gift appropriate in scale. You want to dance a fine line of not being too cheap or too pricey.
Too cheap: you might as well just write a very thoughtful thank you and save the money. If the person is your biggest client and you just gave them a branded pen, is that really appropriate?
Too pricey: you could be setting the bar too high for the relationship. Will every event mean you have to get an equally elaborate gift? Will the person feel uncomfortable with a gift of that magnitude?
If you want to give a gift to someone, try a nice bottle of their favorite wine, a book you two have discussed, a sampler of their favorite chocolates, or locally roasted coffee to be more personal and not break the bank. Be sure the wrapping and packaging looks professional.
The last tip.
It truly is the thought that counts whether you are sending a gift or a heartfelt message of gratitude.
Jamie Rose is partner & COO of Momenta Creative. We nicknamed Jamie the “Fun Machine” at the office because of her infectious laugh and unending energy. Don’t let the sparkling personality fool you. Her sharp, plugged-in approach to communications is what landed her previous positions with companies like The New York Times and The Global Fund, and what makes her indispensable to our clients today.