Thank-You Note Etiquette for Business
Thank-you note etiquette in business is a variation of the common etiquette used in society. Sending a thank-you note is a gesture from the sender to the recipient that shows gratitude for time and effort spent. In the business world, thank-you notes can be sent after an interview for a new position, an appointment to discuss a possible business collaboration or after an introductory meeting.
The type of thank-you note sent depends on the situation and the relationship between the sender and the receiver. For example, if the recipient is someone for whom email is a consistent form of communication, sending a thank-you email is appropriate. There is, however, something to be said for a hand-written thank-you note. This type of correspondence occurs less and less frequently, and the sender's personal gesture will stand out in the recipient's mind. If the meeting participants have no previous relationship, a hand-written thank-you note is appropriate because it is more personal and will garner more attention.
A thank-you note should be sent as quickly as possible after the meeting. For best results, the thank-you note should be sent while the encounter is still fresh in the recipient's mind. One approach is to write and send the correspondence either the same or next day after the meeting.
A primary benefit of a thank-you note is to show appreciation for another's time and assistance. A thank-you note shows the sender values the business relationship and wants to remain in the forefront of the recipient's mind for future business endeavors. Secondary benefits include showing attention to detail and the ability to follow through on tasks, both of which are important business traits.
The writing of business thank-you notes is a etiquette step that is often skipped. Most business people know to say thank you in person at the end of a meeting, but sending thank-you notes is often deemed as unnecessary. This misconception can cause a corporation to lose out on potential new business relationships, since a large part of a thank-you is to reiterate the organization's ability to perform, show enthusiasm for a possible collaboration and cementing the relationship.
Not every business owner expects or even appreciates a thank-you note, but it is better to err on the side of good manners. By sending the thank-you note, you are showing the desire to do business with the other company. In today's highly competitive business atmosphere, any advantage you achieve is a benefit. A thank-you will not hurt your chances of getting the sale and it could set you apart from your competitors.