Today’s post is courtesy of Ettiquette Expert Ellen Reddick
When was the last time you received a handwritten thank you note? Perhaps it is easier to remember the last time you expected to receive one but didn’t. “I’m too busy” is an all too familiar excuse for not sending thank you notes these days. As children, we were taught the importance of writing a thank you note to anyone who gave us a present or did something special for us. As adults, the gifts we receive aren’t all tangible, but failing to acknowledge them and say thanks could cost us dearly. Someone giving you their time, advice, business, a business referral or a helping hand is reason enough to express your gratitude with a handwritten note. In this age of faxes, voicemail, email, beepers, and Blackberrys, it is difficult to add the personal touch that is so important to your relationships with clients, vendors, coworkers and prospects. If you find yourself leaving too many messages and sending too many emails at the expense of personal contact, try sending more handwritten notes instead. Why are notes so effective? First, it shows that you care. Everyone is busy and they know that it takes time to handwrite a note. Second, notes stand out among the clutter of technology. How many handwritten notes do you receive on a daily basis compared to emails? Your note is certain to make a positive impact.
Reasons To Write
- Pleasure Meeting You: What better way to solidify a new relationship with a prospect than a follow up note? Be sure to include your business card, and send the note immediately after the event at which you met.
- Let’s Make An Appointment: If it has been a while since your last meeting with a client, send a note to suggest getting together to review their current situation and discuss their future needs.
- An Apology: A client is more likely to stay with you if you fix a mistake and apologize than if you had never made the mistake to begin with. If you have made a mistake, go out of your way to make it better, starting with a sincerely written note apologizing for your error.
- New Business: Always, always, always send a handwritten note thanking a client for their business. Remember, that client could have chosen any number of other professionals, but they chose you. Sincerely thank them for that and tell them you will do your best to serve them.
- Referral: Many professionals do not send thank you notes after receiving referrals! That’s a perfect way to tell your clients that you do NOT appreciate their referrals. If you want to keep your stream of new business steady, make absolutely sure to send a note to every client who refers a new client.
- Vendors: Good vendors can be hard to find and you need to show your vendors that you appreciate their good products and service by sending a note. Vendors are great advertisers of businesses and you want your vendors to speak well of you and your company.
- Refusal: Send notes to prospects that do not choose your services. Let them know you appreciate their consideration and will be available for them in the future if they ever have any additional questions. You will be remembered as a class act.
- Saw This And Thought Of You: When you are reading newspapers, magazines, and other periodicals keep your eyes peeled for articles that may interest your clients. When you find one, cut it out and send it to an appropriate client with a handwritten note attached. Your client will be pleased you thought of them.
- In The News: Anytime a client, vendor or coworker makes the news, send them an extra copy for their scrapbook along with a quick note. Your client will be pleasantly surprised and think favorably of you and your company.
- Interview or Presentation: Send a professional note after a presentation to a group or company. Show that you appreciate the opportunity and would be happy to follow up on any questions.
- Coworkers: Everyone likes to be appreciated and coworkers are our support teams and safety nets and deserve handwritten notes acknowledging their value, support and expertise.
- Birthdays: A birthday is an important day to everyone and a handwritten note works well for this occasion too. Send at least three note cards a week. Chose the best stationary you can afford and always use a black or blue pen. Send a thank you note within twenty-four hours of a gift or an event. Keep the touch personal by affixing a stamp. Do not send it through your company postage machine.Handwritten notes bring back the personal element in a business world full of impersonal technology. By sending notes, you will outshine your less motivated competition and your clients will take notice and appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Successful people pay attention to the details and look for ways to build better business relationships. When you take the time to send handwritten notes, you will stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons. Your next big sale or job promotion may come about as a result of your doing business just a little differently.
There are three very basic things true professional does: 1. Record their own voice mail greeting 2. Wear their nametags on their right shoulder and 3. Write their own thank you notes. The basics of the competitive advantage.
Ellen Reddick is the co-founder of Elite Business Communications, Inc., and Elite Business School of Etiquette and Protocol a Salt Lake City based companies specializing in training, consulting and coaching in business professionalism and communications. Ellen can be reached
at: (801) 581-0269 and firstname.lastname@example.org.