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 send thank you messages to business partners and clients can be the secret sauce that creates a helpful, supportive network for future work.
How to write professional thank you messages to clients? We’ve put together a few tips to write a strong, sincere business thank you letter.
When Writing a Business Thank You Letter, Make Sure You Say Thank You
This sounds pretty basic, doesn’t it? Saying thank you is the whole point of business thank you letters. 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.
Thank you letters are 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.
Be Specific About Your Thank You Message
Once you get that initial thank you in there, follow up and tell them more about exactly why you’re thankful.
Here's a powerful word to include when writing a thank you letter: because. Look at these two examples:
- Thank you for our last project together. I enjoyed your organization and attention to detail.
- Please let me thank you for our last project together because your organization and attention to detail really impressed me.
The second note is much more impressive even though the details haven't changed.
This should be a win-win 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.
For 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!”
Include a Not-Too-Sales Follow-Up
Your business thank you letter should include the 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 a networking chat, an interview, or a connection.
For 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.”
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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 that 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 and 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.
Of course, instead of trying to decide between these types of messages, you could 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 Should You Send Thank You Letters?
There isn't a rule, and no one is going to be upset over receiving a thank you note. However, there are some times when it just makes sense to say thank you to a customer or other professional.
Here is a short list of those times:
- Send thank you letters during your job search after any job interview.
- Send a note to say "thank you for choosing our company" to new customers.
- Consider writing a "thank you for making our work so good" note when you finish a project.
- Everyone appreciates a "thank you so much for your payment" message.
- Send a loyal customer an "I would like to thank you" letter once or twice a year.
All these examples will show your customers you appreciate them. Your company benefits from the reputation boost.
Sample Thank You Letters for Your Business
Thank you letters can be tricky: finding the right words that are heartfelt but professional. If you’ve found yourself with writer’s block, try these examples of thank you letters to a customer, vendor, and others.
Sample Thank You Note to a Prospect After the First Meeting
You have a potential new client and you’ve made introductions via email or professional chat. Then you have that critical first meeting or phone call to discuss the project and the possibility of working together.
Especially if the client left that meeting saying they’d make their decision and let you know, now is the perfect time for a thank you card. It improves your relationship with the prospect and shows them your professional courtesy, making it even more likely that you’ll land the contract.
Try this wording for example:
Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today. It was a pleasure to speak with you, and it’s always great to meet another football fan [or mention something else you talked about or bonded over].
Your [describe the project] sounds like a terrific project, and I would be honored to be able to contribute my expertise. I look forward to speaking with you again and I hope to be working with you soon.
Sample Thank You Letter to a Client After Project Completion
You’ve been working with a client on a project, potentially for weeks or months, and you’ve finally finished the last set of deliverables. After the client has accepted the finished product, a thank you letter is in order. It’s a great way to further improve your client relationship so you’re more likely to get future contracts or referrals for other clients from them.
Try this sample wording:
I want to thank you for your collaboration throughout the [project]. It’s always a great feeling to wrap up another successful project, but you’ve made the entire process a pleasure. I appreciate your responsiveness and your candid communication, and I’m thrilled that you’re as proud of the finished product as I am.
It’s been a joy to work with you, and I look forward to staying in touch in the future.
Sample Thank You Letter to a Contractor or Vendor
Depending on your freelance specialty and the type of services you offer, you might be hiring or collaborating with vendors, subcontractors, or other freelancers throughout a project. After the client’s project is completed, it’s a good idea to send those team members a thank you note as a way to maintain a collaborative relationship in the future.
Start with this wording for your letter:
Thank you for your help with the [project name] project. It sounds like [client] is thrilled with the finished product. I’m so proud of the work we provided, and I hope you are as well!
It’s been a pleasure to work with you. I appreciated your expertise and your responsiveness throughout the project, and I hope to work with you again in the future.
Sample Thank You Letter for a Referral
When it comes to getting new business, a freelancer’s best tool is doing great work in the first place because it leads to referrals. When a client, colleague, or other members of your professional network sends a new prospect your way, it’s well worth your time to write a thank you letter. Try this wording on for size:
I just had a great conversation with [prospect], and I was so glad to hear that you had told them about my work. Thank you for recommending me!
As you might know, it’s a competitive world out there for freelancers. It’s so helpful when I speak with prospects who already have a positive recommendation, and I’m honored that you thought highly of me enough to give [prospect] my name.
Thank you again,
Mastering Thank You Notes: Advanced Tips
What can you do when sending a thank you note to make your message even more memorable? Here are three advanced tips to help you really impress your customers.
- Consider handwritten notes. The recipient of a handwritten letter will always feel impressed. How can you fit in the time to make handwritten notes? Simple: create a template and only write a line or two. So print some gorgeous thank your cards and then add a single line or two to each one to show your genuine gratitude to your customer.
- Make time for a "Thank you email subject line" session. Block out thirty or sixty minutes in your calendar to come up with some ideas for subject lines. Relax with a cup of coffee and try to write 6-12 good examples. Then you can use these when it's time to send more messages.
- Go beyond the company name. Use your contact management software to add personal notes to your files about each customer. Then you can start letters with "Dear Mr." or "Dear Mrs." or whatever other "Dear..." is appropriate. Adding any other personal information (while avoiding being creepy) is also very useful.
These advanced tips can help you develop an even better relationship with your team and clients. Adding that extra bit of value will show them how much you appreciate work, relationship, or support.
Bringing It All Together
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.