Many professionals forget about the power of a thank-you note as a networking and relationship-building tool in the business world.
By now, most proactive job seekers know the thank-you note is a must when it comes to landing a job. But many professionals forget about the power of a thank-you note as a networking and relationship-building tool in the business world.
Thank-you notes are effective ways to build and maintain relationships with clients, vendors and colleagues. Did you meet someone who could be a professional contact at a chamber of commerce event? Drop the person a thank you note, review what you discussed and say you hope the relationship can grow. Did you hit it off with a decision maker in a company your organization has been prospecting? Send the person a thank you note expressing how you feel your organization can help satisfy his or her business needs. E-mails are easy, but getting something in your work mailbox can stand out.
"A handwritten note is more personal and it takes just a little more time and effort," says Marni Hockenberg, principal of The Hiring Experts (www.thehiringexperts.comM), a Twin Cities-based search firm. "In today's impersonal and mechanized world, I think the personal touch is appreciated and valued."
Thank-you notes should be sent within a few days of meeting, closing a deal or starting of a new business relationship. If you didn't get a chance to give your new contact a business card, drop it in the thank-you note. With so many workers depending on referrals developed from building relationships, it's amazing how many people forget about this low-risk, inexpensive way to network. If you met a colleague with whom you felt a good vibe, yet didn't connect on a business deal, it's still a good idea to send a thank-you note.
"Perhaps the most common error on the part of (business professionals) is to write only when they want someone to do something or when they have a problem they want someone to solve," says Stephen Wilbers (www.wilbers.com), a writing consultant and author of "Writing for Business." "Successful professionals make a point of sending good-news messages and memos at unexpected times."
This is a weekly column devoted to career betterment. Matt Krumrie is a freelance writer from Inver Grove Heights, and has eight years of experience reporting on the employment industry. The first Sunday of each month this column will answer readers' questions. E-mail questions or subject ideas to email@example.com.