One of the best ways to show your clients that you’re an authentic person who genuinely cares is to send a handwritten thank-you note. It’s a lost art, but there’s good reason to revive it: a recent behavioral study shows that people consistently underestimate the enormity of the positive feelings that are actually created when a person receives a handwritten thank-you note.
A text message or email doesn’t achieve the same effect. A handwritten thank-you card is weightier than a digital message, both literally and figuratively. It’s palpably and visually stimulating; the feel of the paper accompanied by a cheerful image, and the sight of handwriting feels like a gift made especially for you. Plus, the very nature of the note indicates that both time and thought were put into its creation.
So how do you write a good thank-you note? Read on to learn the key elements to a successful thank-you note.
The outside of your card is the first thing your clients will see, and it’s the first thing that will inform their impression. It’s essential to be professional, but not too professional. Avoid cartoon images, but choose something prettier than a plain border with your name embossed in the middle. You can’t go wrong with nature settings or local scenery.
The way your message looks is as important as what it says. Use a blue or black pen; Take a moment to be honest with yourself about your handwriting. If your cursive is illegible, consider printing instead.
The content of your thank-you note is your chance to be as professional or as heartfelt as you feel comfortable. Fortunately, you don’t have to wing it; there’s a tried-and-true format for producing meaningful thank-you notes.
It starts with your greeting. Here are a few viable options, In order of formality:
— Dear Mr. Anderson:
— Dear Richard,
The first two are more appropriate for addressing someone you don’t know well, and the latter two work better for people with whom you have a closer relationship.
After the greeting, the content of a typical thank-you note should follow this format:
1. Thank you for [service performed or item/gift given]!
2. It meant so much because…
It helped me by…
I plan to… [Explain how you will use the gift or how you will capitalize on the service performed.]
3. I can’t wait to… OR I look forward to…
4. Closing and signature
Avoid leaning on the word “just,” as in “Just wanted to thank you…” or “Just writing to say….” It implies that you think either your message isn’t worth your recipient’s time or that it wasn’t worth yours. Start strong and bold by simply saying, “Thank you.”
Your closing should mirror your greeting in terms of formality. For more professional correspondence, end with “Sincerely,” “Very truly yours,” or “Best regards.” For added warmth, change it to “Talk soon!”, “Cheers!”, or “Thanks again!” And for old friends or close colleagues, you can end with an em dash (—) and your name.
Here are some examples of meaningful thank-you notes a real estate agent might write following the format outlined above.
Dear Mr. Anderson,
Thank you for the opportunity to represent you on the sale of the property at 123 Lovely Lane. It was a pleasure getting to know you and learning more about your investment portfolio. I look forward to serving you in the future as you continue to consolidate your properties and move forward with multifamily holdings.
Thank you for helping me by co-listing the property at 123 Lovely Lane. It was a joy working with you, and I gained a lot of valuable insight from watching you negotiate. I look forward to working with you again; don’t hesitate to reach out if I can help!
Very truly yours,
Thank you for recommending my services to your barber, Joe London, when he decided to sell his home. He is quite the character, and I had a wonderful time getting to know him and his family and finding the best ways to help them with their upcoming move to Raleigh. I look forward to helping them get the best possible price for their old home and negotiating the lowest price possible for their new dream home.
Talk soon! Thanks again!
Thank you and your lovely wife, Midge, for babysitting for me during that all-day open house I held last week. It was a relief knowing my kids were in good hands. Because so many people came to view it, I finally managed to sell that property. (It had been sitting in my portfolio for months!) The kids raved about your Uno-playing skills and wanted me to mention that they also love your “dad jokes.”
I look forward to returning the favor for you and Midge whenever you need it!
Now that we’ve covered basic thank-you notes, let’s narrow the focus to two more realtor-specific situations.
Thank you for your business!
This is pretty straightforward; you’ll typically send these after a closing to express gratitude for choosing your services. Here’s the formula:
1. Dear [clients’ names],
2. Thank you for…
3. [Mention a personal memory or observation to show that you were genuinely present during your time together.]
4. It was my pleasure to assist you, and I look forward to the opportunity to work with you again in the future.
5. Warmest regards, OR All the best, OR Wishing you many happy years,
Here’s an example:
Dear Karen and George,
Thank you for the opportunity to help you select and purchase your lovely new home. I’m hoping the extra rooms will allow you to grow your foster dog family! It was my pleasure to work with both of you (and with Bingo and Freddie), and I look forward to the opportunity to assist you again someday. Enjoy your new home!
Thank you for an introduction/referral!
An excellent way to get more introductions and referrals from someone is to show them your gratitude for the ones they’ve already given. Here’s the formula:
2. Thank you for…
3. [Specify what came about as a result of the introduction or referral.]
4. [Describe how it made you feel.]
5. [Suggest what you would like to do in the future.]
6. [Closing and signature]
Thank you so much for introducing me to your parents, Jim and Margaret. They are such lovely people, and I can’t wait to help them sell their condo and find their new dream home closer to you! I’m so grateful to you for thinking of me. Please let me know if I can ever be of assistance to you or your family in any way.
All the best,
Handwritten thank-you notes are a heartfelt way to build and strengthen relationships with your clients, colleagues, friends, and family. They are more effective than texts or emails, and are easy to write when following the provided formats.
Remember to choose a greeting and closing that are appropriately formal or informal, depending on the recipient. Also, always include a line that displays your personal connection to the recipient and their gift or service, and how you benefited from their interaction with you. This will show it’s you, a grateful human being, writing the note instead of an uncaring agent distributing a form letter.