Whether you’re texting your mom or giving a speech at the Oscars, saying thank you means a lot. As a freelancer, taking time to show some basic appreciation to business partners and clients can be the secret sauce that creates a helpful, supportive network for future work.
How do you say thank you professionally to a client? We’ve put together a few tips to write a strong, sincere business appreciation letter.
1. When you’re writing a business thank you, make sure you say thank you
This sounds pretty basic, doesn’t it? Saying thank you is the whole point of the business thank you letter. However, it’s actually really important to include the specific phrase “thank you” in your business appreciation letter.
According to research by psychologists, when people say thank you before asking for something else, the recipient is twice as likely to provide further assistance. As a freelancer who is looking to build a business, expressing appreciation just makes business sense.
It’s a great way to stay in contact, keep the door open for future work and also create opportunities for referrals. 91 percent of clients say they’d be happy to give referrals, so a few minutes of expressing appreciation can build trust and be a great start to a referral pipeline from a satisfied client.
Business thank you example: Start with “I’m writing to thank you for our partnership on XYZ project.”
2. Be specific about your reason for showing appreciation
Once you get that initial thank you in there, follow up and tell them more about exactly why you’re thankful.
This should be a win-win type proposition. You’re not just thankful for the income they provided; you’re thankful that you got to collaborate with them on a project that created results, that got your creative juices flowing, or that made something that will help a lot of people.
When you’re specific, you remind them of the value you helped to create for their organization and the benefits they received from choosing to work with you.
Business thank you example: “Your business is really making a difference in XYZ, and I am so glad I was able to play a part in increasing awareness. I’m still excited about that news segment we earned!”
3. Include a not-too-salesy follow up
Your business thank you letter should include a next step, but it should be a soft next step. It doesn’t necessarily pitch a hard sell for more work; instead, it sets the stage for the next time you’ll come in contact.
Your follow up can range from offering your own services to finding an additional way to connect. While the concept of following up is a good choice for all business and professional messaging, it can be especially valuable if you’re sending a thank you note in appreciation of networking, an interview or a connection.
Business thank you example: “It was a pleasure meeting with you and discussing the opportunities at your company. I hope we can stay connected and am planning to send you a LinkedIn request.”
4. Remember that “done is better than perfect”
Don't let anything stand in your way when you’re working on showing appreciation.
You may worry that you don’t have the right words or the just-perfect business stationery. You may end up pushing your thank you notes to a low priority on your checklist because you have a dozen other necessary items begging for your attention.
The problem is - other things will always get in your way and seem more pressing. A business thank you note that is delayed can end up in no man’s land, where you start debating whether it’s too late to send or whether you should just skip it this time.
When you’re developing your business processes, go ahead and add “send thank you note” to your task templates or project overview. Then, it’s automatic that you’ll tackle it as you start working through your list of daily must-dos.
Some people encourage all hand-written, snail-mailed thank you notes, but a quick and heartfelt email message can be just as powerful. And if you’re working to invest in and maintain a relationship, an email can be easier to follow up on in the future with a quick reply to the original message.
Business thank you example/suggestion: Instead of trying to decide between types of messages, consider doing both. Jot off an email thank you as soon as possible, then, if you have time, add a hand-written card into the equation. Both show you’re thoughtful, diligent and the kind of person who is valuable to have on a project or team.
When you’re thanking business contacts, don’t get too caught up in the phrasing or paralyzed by trying to put things perfectly.
The best business thank you letter is one that’s heartfelt and that creates a stronger, more lasting connection between you and your client. It really is the thought that counts and that will make your business thank you stand out, regardless of the exact words you choose to express yourself.