Writing the Perfect Business Thank You Note
A thank you note is more than just a piece of paper or a quick email, it is a vital – and sometimes forgotten or ignored – aspect of running a successful business.
When Doug Conant, the CEO of Campbell’s Soup, took over the company, it was not doing well. However, by the time he left ten years later, it was a thriving corporation.
What was his secret? You have probably guessed it by now. He wrote thank you notes – a lot of thank you notes. In fact, according to Forbes, he wrote over 30,000 personal thank you notes during his time with the company.
He showed his appreciation for business partners, employees, suppliers, and everyone else he came into contact with in his work with the company. His handwritten notes conveyed a personal investment and level of gratitude that we do not see often enough in the corporate world.
In a live podcast, hosted by Gary Vaynerchuk,I was given the opportunity to ask Doug some questions. He shared the story of how he learned the power of connecting with people through the process of losing his job:
It all started when he lost his job at Parker Brothers in 1984. It was recommended that he find a signature practice to help land him a new job. So, he started writing personalized thank you notes at a coffee shop immediately after each interview and walked them back to the receptionist.
He took this practice with him to Campbell’s and started writing 10-20 notes a day to employees. He started reading what was going on with the company and began writing notes to these folks. He wrote 10-20 thank you notes each day, 6 days a week for a decade! He saw his thank you notes posted in almost every single cubicle around the world while working at Campbell’s.
The biggest thing you can do is to make it personal. It doesn’t have to be long. Every note that he sent was reaffirming Campbell’s strategy and talking performance. His theme was, “I’m going to be tough-minded on standards, but be tender-hearted with people.”
Despite it costing him very little to write those thank you notes, over time, his generosity contributed to a significant increase in profit for Campbell’s Soup.
The Science Behind Thank You Notes
If that alone isn’t proof enough that creative thank you gifts and notes can make a difference in business, there is also research that confirms what Doug already knew when he started at Campbell’s Soup – that saying thank you and showing gratitude can go a long way.
According to the New York Times, although we might not realize it, research has shown that most people are actually ecstatic when they receive thank you notes.
In fact, research conducted by two professors, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, has confirmed that showing gratitude increases the happiness of more than just the person who is receiving it. It also increases your joy, as the person showing appreciation. In addition, according to Inc., expressing gratitude not only makes us happier, it also increases our energy levels.
That increased happiness and energy may have been part of CEO Doug Conant’s secret to success. It allowed him to go to work each day with a smile on his face, ready for each challenge that came across his desk, as he enthusiastically worked long days to turn a sinking ship of a company into the successful behemoth that it is today.
Put it on Paper
According to Inc., putting it on paper will give the maximum impact when it comes to personal notes of gratitude. In a day when so many aspects of business are done electronically, a thank you email is unlikely to have the same response as a thoughtful thank you on paper. If it’s handwritten (as long as the handwriting is legible), that thank you letter will really get noticed.
A personal touch is essential. It lets the person receiving the thank you note know that you were genuinely thinking of them and their business when you wrote it, as opposed to entering their name into a thank you letter template.
Pair It with the Perfect Gift Set
A thank you note in the mail will be appreciated, but if you are sending it to an office that receives a large volume of mail, it may still get lost in the shuffle. You will want to do something that will ensure that it cannot be missed, no matter how large of a stack of mail it sits in.
Here at Hartman Road, we know a gift set never goes unnoticed, especially if it contains enticing, high-quality corporate gifts. Make sure your thank you note makes it directly to the top of the pile by attaching it to something they won’t want to ignore, such as the Davis Bundle.
If you are looking to make a lasting impression, the PowerTrip Kit may be the perfect gift, especially if the person you are thanking is a techie.
No matter what you write, remember to be sincere. Sincerity is the key to any thank you. Inc. says it best, “Don't worry about making it perfect,” just make it genuine.
Inc. says it best: “Don’t worry about making it perfect.” Just make it genuine.
Find a way to offer praise that rings true. Focus on what you are truly appreciative of and let them know that you are grateful to them for it. It will hit the mark much more precisely than empty or generic platitudes.
Make sure that the recipient knows what they are being thanked for, especially if it is an aspect of your business together that you would like to maintain or see more of in the future.
If a client or business partner knows that what they do is appreciated, they will be more prone to want to continue doing business, especially with the people and businesses that appreciate them.
As for employees, everyday business will run more smoothly if the people who work for you receive recognition for their efforts and understand what aspects of their job they are hitting the high marks in. According to Inc., workplace teams that focus on their strengths are 12.5% more productive than those who do not. Guide your employees to find the strengths that they need to focus on by letting them know what they are most appreciated for.
Saying thank you is vital for good business, but so is how that message of thanks is presented. For maximum impact, remember to put your thank you notes on paper and to handwrite a thoughtful and sincere message. The text of the thank you note should focus on a specific aspect of business with the recipient that you are genuinely grateful for.
Moreover, don’t forget, if you are worried about your thank you note going unnoticed, pairing it with a set of business thank you gifts will get a handwritten note guaranteed attention. High-quality corporate gifts are great ideas for capturing their interest and getting them to read what you have to say. Pair your note with a gift set that can’t be ignored.
- Adam Chiotti