People don’t say ‘thank you’ enough in general.
People REALLY don’t say it enough in business situations.
How often does your sales team say thanks to your customers and colleagues with a note or email? I’m going to guess probably not that often.
Why do we tend to shy away from it? A recent study looked at gratitude givers and recipients and found that givers often felt awkward about expressing gratitude. They also thought that the recipient wouldn’t care whether they sent a thank-you note or not. In short, it was viewed as an uncomfortable and unnecessary gesture.
But when the study investigated how recipients actually felt about receiving thank-you messages, they found that givers overestimated the time, effort, and discomfort involved in saying thanks and underestimated the positive impact it has on the recipient and their relationship with them.
So, what’s the takeaway here? Saying thanks is relatively easy; it makes both you and the recipient feel good; it IS necessary; and it can make a difference in your customers’ experience with your company and client relationships. That all affects your bottom line.
So why don’t sales teams and B2B companies do it more often? Maybe they’re not sure how to do it right. The best thank-you notes are concise, specific, and, most of all, genuine and authentic.
This means I can give you a recipe for how to write a great thank-you message but this post isn’t about copying an example word-for-word. You don’t have to overthink it. You just need to be authentic.
Why should I show appreciation in sales and business?
The answer from the study I referenced is that it boosts relationships. But saying ‘thank you’ remains relegated to a quick call to grandma to show appreciation for the card she sent or a note to party attendees thanking them for showing up.
What about a business situation?
Saying thanks gives everyone involved the warm-and-fuzzies and the etiquette-obsessed among us would argue that it’s the only polite thing to do. However, sales teams are busy. They won’t hit quota using only good vibes and can’t survive on sparkling manners alone. (Ours seems to also run on protein shakes and coffee, but I digress.)
There’s also a business case to be made for sending company thank-you notes to customers, clients, and partners.
Here are three ways gratitude can increase your revenue, with some statistics to back them up:
1. Thanking your clients makes for good customer experiences.
2. Good customer experience leads to more referrals.
- After a positive experience, three out of four buyers would recommend a company to their peers.
3. This all leads to increased loyalty and reduced customer churn.
- Raising customer retention rates by 5% has been shown to boost profits by up to 95%. And feeling unappreciated is the number 1 reason why people switch vendors.
Don’t forget—it’s not just clients and suppliers who can feel this way. Your employees and colleagues want to know they’re valued, too. Studies show that two out of three people would leave a job if they didn’t feel appreciated.
Some companies have an internal mechanism for this. At Proposify, our employee of the month contest is peer-nominated. Everyone votes for the person they think is most deserving, but we also write a little note about how that employee has embodied the company values of positivity, integrity, empathy, and drive in their work. Then company Co-founder and CEO Kyle reads a bunch of them out loud at our monthly all-hands meeting and announces the winner.
Even though we don’t technically call them thank-you notes, it’s exactly what they are. It’s great to receive recognition and see your hard-working colleagues be recognized too. It makes for great company culture.
What should I send? A letter? A note? An email? A text?
So we’ve established that pretty much everybody likes to be thanked. What’s the best way to do it?
A handwritten note tends to make the most impact. If you’ve been on social media recently, you’ve probably come across a pet brand called Chewy. And you’ve likely noticed them because their customers are posting about the handwritten notes that the company includes in their orders.
These cute notes are such a big hit that if you search for them on Google, one of the results on the first page is a Facebook post from a customer about the note they received. That speaks volumes about how much the notes are delighting Chewy’s customers and others.
I know what you’re thinking—this is all anecdotal. What about some data or something before I break out a pen and start writing? I hear you. Here’s an interesting A/B test from philanthropy platform Donors Choose.
When they sent handwritten thank-you notes to half of all recent first-time donors, they found that the ones who received a note were 38 percent more likely to give again than those who didn’t receive one. And those who gave again gave more than the average donation
And now you’re thinking that hand-written notes are great and all but you don’t want to add another non-selling task to your sales team’s daily activities. Don’t worry, I have a solution for that, too.
Authenticity and automation
How can we make authenticity coexist with automation?
If you’ve been hanging around this corner of the internet (aka the Proposify blog) for any length of time longer than a minute, you’ll know that we’re big fans of using templates, especially for proposals. They take away that blank-screen, blinking-cursor, where-the-heck-do-I-start feeling for your sales team.
When it comes to gratitude, a template might mean your thank-you note doesn’t come off as sincere. And that defeats the purpose.
What I propose instead is for your sales team to use a formula for their thank-you messaging. A thank-you note formula provides a solid starting point for writing and keeps their message concise and to the point. The formula I’m about to outline for you is easy and versatile—it can be used in almost any situation in business and beyond. And while it won’t take much, if any, precious time away from selling, it’ll add value to your customer relationships.
Okay, so we’ve got the medium down. Let’s talk about the message itself.
How to write a business thank-you note
There are tons of opportunities to send a thank-you note: A first or repeat purchase. The start or completion of a project. Even the opportunity to submit a proposal or RFP is a great time to express gratitude.
Lizzie Post, the great-great-granddaughter of OG etiquette lady Emily Post, has a simple formula for the perfect thank-you note every time. Here’s what she suggests:
2. Thank them specifically
Yup, three whole steps. It really is as easy as that. I’ll show you.
How to remove ‘Thank you for your business’ from your vocabulary: 8 sample thank-you notes
Is there a message more dull or lacking in 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 actually are 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.
Using the formula I outlined above, it’s quick and easy to craft a thank-you note that doesn’t come off as formulaic or fake.
Here are some examples I wrote to illustrate this. They took just a few minutes to put together and even though I used the same formula they each read as original and personal.
8 example thank-you notes for sales and proposal scenarios:
- Thank you for the opportunity to submit a proposal
- Thank you for the opportunity to respond to an RFP
- Thank you for the opportunity to quote
- Thank you for requesting a proposal
- Thank you for using our services
- Thank you for project kick-off
- Thank you for your order
- Thank you and goodbye
Thank-You Note Example #1 - Thank you for the opportunity to submit a proposal
Thank-You Note Example #2 - Thank you for the opportunity to respond to an RFP
Thank-You Note Example #3 - Thank you for the opportunity to quote
Thank-You Note Example #4 - Thank you for requesting a proposal
Thank-You Note Example #5 - Thank you for using our services
Thank-You Note Example #6 - Thank you for project kick-off
Thank-You Note Example #7 - Thank you for your order
Thank-You Note Example #8 - Thank you and goodbye
Why do thank-you notes like these work so well?
There are three reasons notes like the ones above will be a hit for both your team and the recipients:
1. These thank-you notes are concise.
Business-related thank-you notes should be concise and stay on topic. Don’t combine it with another message, like questions about the project kick-off or that outstanding invoice. Focus on saying thanks and then get back to any business at hand in your next call, email or message.
2. They’re specific.
No generic statements here. It speaks directly to the situation at hand, which lets the recipient know that this isn’t some auto-generated, mass-distributed message triggered by some robot algorithm. Specificity builds trust.
3. But not too over the top.
By all means, if you think you really did cement the best business partnership in the history of the world, then go ahead and let them know. If not, stay positive, but honest and realistic, too. People have fairly sensitive BS meters, so even if you mean well with your hyperbole it might make your whole note seem inauthentic. Which is the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve.
How do you say thank you?
Those are 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.
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.
Oh, and thank you for reading!