Once upon a time, mothers and fathers taught their children the importance of expressing gratitude. For example, many of us grew up being reminded by our parents to send thank you cards to everyone who gave us a birthday present (even presents we didn’t like!). Unfortunately, either the message is no longer being taught or we simply no longer want to listen to our parents’ solid advice. One study found only 50% of people say thank you, but an ever lower number actually take the time to send thank you cards.
While those numbers may be true for the general population, they are also true in business. And that means something very important: saying thank you can give you a competitive advantage whether you have just closed a deal, had an interview, or leading a presentation.
Closing the Deal with Thank You Cards
When we’re talking about closing the deal, we could mean anything from making a sale with a customer to landing a major new account for your company. In both examples, you are negotiating and working with others to gain benefit for you and your business. After all the time you invest in making that deal, showing your appreciation with a thank you card is probably the least you could do. Don’t forget all of your hard work will probably be repaid handsomely.
Take, for example, the selling of a car to a customer. The salesperson spends hours browsing the lot, going for test drives, looking at financing options, and more. Then when the deal is made he is rewarded with a sizable commission for his efforts. Customers are well aware of how the process works so they realize the seller is being enriched for the time he spends with them – that’s their way of saying thank you for the help.
But how does the seller express gratitude? Smart salespeople understand the importance of sending a thank you card to recent buyers. Ideally, the card is something unique that the seller has selected on his own – something with personality. Form letters on company stationery, for example, should be avoided. Inside the card, the seller should handwrite his own message of gratitude to the customer, including a mention of what was purchased, when it was purchased, and who purchased it. These ideas help personalize the note.
Because sending this type of thank you note is uncommon, recipients will appreciate the gesture and be more likely to remember the seller and to talk about the seller in a positive light later. That means a simple thank you card could translate into more sales and bigger revenue down the road.
Landing the Job with Gratitude
Salespeople should send thank you notes to land more business, but job seekers should send thank you cards to improve their chances of being asked to join the business. We all know the job market is fiercely competitive, particularly for the best jobs. In some cases, employers can select from hundreds of applicants so it’s no wonder that people celebrate for simply landing an interview.
An interview is usually a good sign because it means you’ve made it safely through one stage of the selection process. Of course, how you conduct yourself during the interview will make a big difference in whether you move closer or further away from your goal of obtaining employment. But that’s not the only deciding factor.
When employers are trying to decide who to hire, it often comes down to nothing more than who they remember best. Just as companies work hard to market their products so their names stay fresh in the minds of consumers, so should the job applicant. That’s why sending a thank you card after an interview is so important. For one, most people don’t so it’s going to set you apart from the pack. Plus, the thank you card gives you extra time to show off your written communication skills – something that is almost always a bonus.
Make sure to send the thank you card within 24 hours of the interview. Address it specifically to the person who interviewed you. If more than one person did the interviewing, then you should send multiple thank you cards. Avoid using email to send thank you notes or cards – it’s so simple to do that it loses its real benefits.
Other Reasons to Send Thank You Cards
In business, there are always tons of great reasons for sending thank you cards. For example, let’s say you just completed a big presentation to the head of your company or to an executive from a different company. Showing your gratitude to them by sending a thank you card is a great idea and sets you ahead of the rest. You might also want to send thank you cards to your own employees or delegates after the do a good job on a project, for instead.
The bottom line is that expressing gratitude by sending thank you cards is definitely something we should all be doing more of, particularly in the business world.