In this age of informality, manners can seem like they’ve gone the way of the dinosaur, but saying thank you in the business world may be more important than you think. Sure, it’s a polite gesture, but it can also make or break a deal or business relationship.
A simple ‘thank you’ can show your clients and partners that you value the relationship, and it helps build rapport. For employees and co-workers, ‘thank you’ can instil confidence, demonstrate that the work they do is integral to the success of your organization, and build loyalty.
To improve your relationships and ensure you’re making the people you interact with feel respected and valued, check out how to say ‘thank you’ in business below.
Why you should say, 'We value your business'
Everyone appreciates hearing ‘thank you’. Whether it’s for something small, like picking up coffee before a meeting, or something significant, like a new client has entrusted your agency with their entire marketing budget, a simple ‘thank you’ can make whatever was done and whoever did it feel worthwhile.
Verbalizing gratitude shows that you’re engaged in the work you’re doing, and are mindful of those you interact with. It can also build brand loyalty.
Customers don’t choose who they do business with based solely on products and what they cost, there are other things at play. For example, only 9% of customers said they switched to a competitor because they preferred what they were offering. And 68% said that businesses lost them as a customer because they felt unappreciated.
So don’t shy away from those ‘magic words’ – show your thanks often.
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When to send a thank you note vs. a thank you letter
They sound similar, but there is a big difference between a thank you note and a thank you letter, primarily in the amount of effort that goes into each.
Thank you notes are written quickly, convey a lighter/casual tone, and can be sent in pretty much every business setting.
A thank you note may sound something like,
I just wanted to say thanks, again, for organizing such a great lunch-and-learn. It was really informative, and there were some great takeaways and strategies I’m excited to implement into my team’s routine.”
The note is concise, the tone is casual, and it shows the recipient you appreciate the time and effort they put into their task.
Here’s a real-life example of a great thank you note that went viral on Reddit from Jimyz Automotive in Ohio. What’s extra cool about this note is that after it started to spread across the internet, other Jimyz Automotive customers past and present chimed in to confirm what a stellar business it is:
Some business situations, however, require a more formal sign of gratitude – a thank you letter. Letters are a great way to say thanks for more significant occasions. Like extending your appreciation to businesses who sponsored and attended a conference you organized, a major client whose large project your team just completed, or an organization who nominated you for an award.
Generally, thank you letters are written in a professional tone, are closer to a page, maximum, in length, and demonstrate that you’ve put effort into saying thank you. They can still be sent as an email, but format and personalize it accordingly so it comes across as a sincere thank you letter, and not a painfully long email.
Here’s an example of the format of a business thank you letter:
Revelation Interiors, Store Manager
641 Maple Street
Anytown, USA 99999
January 29, 20XX
Interiors by Jess, Owner
3672 Main Street
Anytown, USA 99999
Thank you very much for your marvellous help during our recent store renovation. Your design experience and organizational skills really made a difference in how quickly we were able to reopen, and the new layout you designed already seems to be increasing sales of some items!
We are planning a similar renovation of our satellite store on the West Side within the next year, and I would like to contact you for your expertise on that project as well when the time draws closer.
I have given your name to several executives and clients who inquired about our exciting new look. I hope that this will help you to grow your business as well. Please feel free to contact me should you ever need a professional testimonial – I can promise to write a glowing one for you.
Thank you again for your flawless service, and I look forward to working with you in the future.
How to make sure your thank you message sounds authentic
Is there an email more dull or lacking of personality than one that says, “Thank you for your business”?
Thanking your customers is great, but thanking them for their “business” feels a bit cold and heartless; like you only sent the message because you exchanged money, not because you’re grateful. As short or as long as you make it, a personalized thank you note will always have a stronger impact than a cookie-cutter, generic email.
Your customers and employees want to read something that feels like you took the time to think of them and what they’ve done for you – it should exhibit your genuine appreciation for the relationship you continue to build. This isn’t to say you can’t automate a message thanking new customers for their business; you just need to make sure the automated emails you send FEEL real.
There are a few different services that can help you make something automated feel personal. Some companies like Letter Friend and Handwrytten handwrite notes or cards for you, and send them to your clients, while still allowing you to control the content.
Proposify does something similar by helping you set up personalized, automated emails to clients, ensuring you never forget to thank them after they’ve read or approved your proposal.
Automating part of your ‘thank you’ process increases productivity by freeing up the time you’d spend writing out each thank you email and allows you to maintain a strong connection with clients. Just make sure the notes you send don’t sound like you’ve just swapped out the recipient’s name - be authentic and sincere.
Thank you from management goes a long way
Thanking your employees for their work is incredibly important. Sure, they’re doing their assigned tasks, but they could be putting in that same amount of effort to help your competition grow their business.
Hearing ‘thank you’ from management can remind an employee that what they do is valuable to the company and that their contribution is appreciated. It can also be motivating. According to a recent survey, 69% of employees said they would work harder if they felt their efforts were better appreciated.
So check in with each department on a regular basis, understand the projects being worked on and which employees are involved, then take time to thank those employees once the work is done.
Or, if you know your team is bogged down in an especially challenging project, a simple thank you midway through can be a good shot in the arm for everyone to help them push on to completion.
Thanking your employees doesn’t warrant writing and formatting a professional letter. Instead, thanking employees can be done more casually – send them a quick email, leave a note on their desk, or drop by their office to say ‘thank you’ in-person.
No one wants to feel invisible, so take time to recognize the hard work each employee puts in to keeping your business successful and thank them for it.
Two simple words that go a long way
Saying thank you for your business is a simple but powerful way to grow your relationships, build brand loyalty, and create general goodwill among clients, employees, and partners.
It’s easy to say, quick to do, and it’s never taken the wrong way. There is no downside to sending a business thank you email or thank you letter, so try scheduling time in your week to do it more often.
And thank you for reading this article.