Someone in your network has given you valuable advice. What’s the secret to writing a great professional thank you note?
Do you send them an email? Do you send them a hand-written note? Do you send them a little gift?
What do you say? We have all heard that you shouldn’t push your own agenda, ask for a job, or try to close the sale.
I am going to answer all those questions and show you how to get a response like this: “Talk about making yourself memorable! That’s so classy and appreciated. Thank you!”
How Did My Professional Thank You Note Get That Response?
I sent a hand-written thank you note, which is extremely rare these days, and two helpful books. I followed an acronym I created called G.R.E.A.T (Grateful, Reference, Explanation, Action, Thanks). I use this process when I write all my professional thank you notes.
Thank you notes are very tricky to write. They are not as straight forward as the networking follow up email. So let’s get into it.
A couple of weeks ago I spoke with Lea McLeod. Lea is the founder of Degrees Of Transition, a career website that helps recent grads and mid-careerists navigate the job search. Lea is super smart and someone who really understands the career space.
I took about two pages of notes during the phone call (Here’s Why!) After getting off the phone with Lea my head was spinning with tons of great ideas. I wanted to do something special for Lea, besides simply sending a professional thank you note.
During our phone call Lea mentioned that she wanted to book more speaking gigs. I asked her if she read Michael Ports book, “Book Yourself Solid” and she hadn’t. We also talked about a book called the “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg. I went on Amazon and bought both of the books. I had them shipped to my house (so I could include my hand written professional thank you note).
Next, I opened up a Word document (I draft every professional thank you note I send before I write on the actually card) and started writing the thank you note following the acronym: G.R.E.A.T.
Grateful For Their Time
- The fact that someone spent 30-60 minutes of his or her time speaking with you deserves a thank you note. Time is the most valuable possession that a person possesses.
Reference: What Did You Learn
- Let the person know what you found most valuable during the phone conversation.
- During the conversation, a problem the person is trying to solve is most likely going to come up. I might not know how to solve the problem, but there is a good chance that I know of a book that can.
- If you can’t think of a good book, search Amazon for a relevant title with high ratings.
Action: Next Steps
- If you talked about working together or a future call briefly talk about what the next steps will be. THIS SHOULD NOT BE THE FOCUS OF THE NOTE!
- If they gave you advice, follow up with them and let them know your results. People love to hear when their advice works. Actually taking action and following their advice will set you apart from all the other people they talk to.
- They are ten times more likely to give you additional advice later on if you they know you really use their advice.
Thanks: Always End With Saying Thank You
- I always end with “Thanks again” or “Thank you for your help ” and sign my name.
Here’s What A Great Professional Thank You Note Looks Like CLICK TO TWEET
It was a pleasure speaking with you on the phone last week. I have talked to a lot of people in our space and haven’t learned as much from them as I did from you in an hour.
I took about a page of notes. Two key takeaways for me were:
- We all know this stuff, but EVERYBODY NEEDS TO BE REMINDED.
- Coaching helps you keep your finger on the pulse of the industry.
After I hung up the phone I said to myself “Lea, gets it! She is going to be very successful”
I remember you saying that you wanted to get more speaking gigs. I sent you “Book Yourself Solid.” I have not read the book but a lot of the people on my network rave about the book. I also sent you “The Power Of Habit” because I know you will love it.
I hope that you enjoy the books and I really look forward to working with you. I would be more than happy to help you plan and come up with ideas for “office hours.” I would love to contribute and be part of it as much as possible.
Remember that thank you notes aren’t for selling yourself. If you want to write a great professional thank you note, follow the G.R.E.A.T formula above.
Have you ever received a horrible thank you note? Or maybe you received a GREAT and memorable thank you note? Share your full story in the comments. I know there are going to be some great stories.
One more thing…
Do you have a friend that does a lot of networking and needs help writing a professional thank you note? Do them (and me) a favor by sending them a link to this article. Thanks!
If you liked this post you might also like 10 Unconventional Networking Strategies That Get Results and The Best Way To Stay In Touch With Your Professional Network.