Ace the Thank You Letter

The month of August seems to have put me on a business etiquette soapbox,  so I’ve decided to conclude the month with a few pointers on how to write a thank you letter.  In business,  one cannot underestimate the importance of expressing thoughts in writing.  It is important for a Freelance consultant to know when and how to properly thank a client or colleague.

Unfortunately,  many people get a little flummoxed by thank you letters.  We know we want to express our thanks,  but we don’t always know what to say.  We don’t want to sound too impersonal and neither do we want to gush.  Keep things in perspective by approaching thank you letters as acknowledgements and understand that they are not entirely different from the email that you write to a client to verify what was discussed and agreed upon in an important meeting.  Best of all,  thank you letters are a lot easier to write.

It is likely that a meeting precipitated the occasion to thank someone and it is best to send your thank you card or letter no later than 48 hours after that meeting.  Rather than sending an email,  show your business etiquette bona fides by using quality stationary or a business note card  (your own personalized stationary or cards have the most cachet) and sending your thank you via the postal service.   A thank you card will be hand written by the sender and a thank you letter will be typed and signed by the sender.  The tone will be friendly,  yet professional.

Begin you note or letter by expressing your gratitude for the meeting  “Thank you for meeting with me on_____”   or “I appreciate that you were willing to meet with me on_____”.   Next,  reference a key point or two that surfaced during the meeting,  such as the usefulness of information shared,  appreciation for a client referral or introduction made,  assistance or advice given,  etc.   I like to send thank you letters to clients when a project has concluded and thank them for awarding me the contract and letting them know how much I enjoyed working with them.  It’s all about relationship building and creating repeat business.

Thank you notes and letters are typically brief.   After you’ve stated the reasons for expressing your thanks,  move toward the close by thanking the recipient again  “Once again,  thank you for meeting with me…”  Set the stage for future contact with  “I look forward to working with you again…”;  “I look forward to seeing you at the _________Conference…”;  or whatever fits the context and your relationship.

Complete your note or letter with a salutation that suits you and the relationship you have with the letter’s recipient:

Best regards

Kind regards

Warm regards

Yours truly

Thank you letters are an important step in relationship building and maintenance and an important building block of your brand,  that is what you are known for and the image you project to others.  I suspect that many in business do not take the time to write thank you letters.  They may think about doing so,  but find the process intimidating.  They procrastinate and then decide that too much time has passed.  Now that the process has been deconstructed,  you’ll be ready to confidently and expertly write a thank you letter to someone who has come through for you.  It’s a small effort and it will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for reading,

Kim

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