The Business Value of a Thank You Note
When was the last time you received a thoughtful, well crafted, personalized thank you note or letter from a client, vendor, job candidate or networking contact? When was the last time that you sent one yourself?
If you are like most busy professionals, you are lucky to get a quick email message acknowledging the meeting or conversation. The speed and cost effectiveness of email correspondence feeds our need for instant gratification and immediate communication. But this is not always the best business move (or career move) you can make. Quick communication does not always ensure a good connection.
There is great business value in taking the time and having the patience to craft and send a personalized thank you note on quality stationery or business paper. It says something about you that an ordinary email just cannot do. It can separate you from the crowd of lazy communicators and reflects quality in your personal brand.
A well-written thank you note handsomely printed and packaged on high quality stationery can go a long way to help you achieve your business goals.
Imagine this scenario happening to you:
You have just landed a great new position in business development at your existing company. Your company leaders recognize your expertise and natural people skills. In your new role, you will be calling on clients and prospects who are older than you and at a much higher level of experience. In order to be successful in your new job, you have to break through and to get to VITO – the Very Important Top Officer.
Unlike your peers, you decide to leverage what others might consider to be “old-fashioned communication” – that is, the typed letter on personal stationery, signed in ink by you. You carefully choose the stationery (NOT copy paper), going with something more distinctive, yet still highly professional. You know that the envelope plays a critical role in the success of the letter, so you select a colored envelope and hand address it. You have some fun with stamps, selecting a colorful, out-of-the-ordinary design that personally appeals to you. You also use stationery notes to handwrite thank you cards to the executives who have met with you in person. You are confident that this extra effort will help you to be more successful.
Your peers notice what you are doing and they criticize you for “wasting your time with all of this ceremony.” They encourage you to just whip out quick emails asking for appointments and doing the necessary follow-up. You decide to stay the course, knowing that your zig will likely outperform their zag.
Within three months, your letters have helped to secure appointments with top level executives at key prospective companies. One CEO comments to you in the initial meeting with you that she had been so impressed with your letter that she felt compelled to meet the business person who sent it. Your new career is off to a strong start. Since then, you have become a firm believer in the business value of sending professional and stylized letters and thank you notes.
This hypothetical scenario exemplifies the reality that connecting with high level people requires a more thoughtful approach. Quick communication with email and texting doesn’t always produce the results that you need to be successful. Despite the huge surge of technology-aided communication, there is no substitute for the business value of the classic letter and thank you note.
About the writer: Kathy McAfee is known as America’s Marketing Motivator and is author of the book Networking Ahead for Business (Kiwi Publishing 2010). In her role as Executive Presentation Coach and Professional Speaker, Kathy helps her clients to become the recognized leaders in their fields by mastering the art of high engagement presentations and more effective networking and connecting. To learn more about Kathy and to receive free weekly networking tips, visit www.NetworkingAhead.com