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Thank-you notes don’t write themselves: 5 tips to get ’em done

  • Set yourself up for thank-you note writing success with the right materials, time management and help, if needed.

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Growing up, the best thing about birthdays was undoubtedly getting presents. And the worst thing was definitely having to write thank-you notes.

My mother, like all good Southern mamas, was a big believer in the handwritten thank-you, sent immediately. This applied not just to presents received, but also to favors, dinners or any other nicety.

I still struggle to be consistent in sending my thank-you notes (or “bread-and-butter notes” as they are sometimes charmingly called) and would love to get better at it.

Improving your thank-you note game is a worthwhile endeavor that can make you more memorable to your clients. Here are some tips to help you write better notes more consistently.

Keep track of the notes you need

Text yourself or send yourself a voice reminder when someone does something nice for you, meets you for coffee or spends time on a call with you.

Use this hack to remind yourself about people who could use a handwritten thank-you.

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Schedule time for note writing

If you are a fan of time-blocking, this might be a way to keep yourself all caught up on your thank-you notes. Try blocking out 15 minutes a day for writing thank-you notes so that you ensure they’re always timely.

Keep your materials well-stocked

The best way to ensure you’ll send your note is by having notecards, stamps and other materials always on hand. Dedicate a desk drawer or a decorative box to the materials you need (as well as a favorite pen) so that you’ll be ready to write.

Make it fun

We sometimes dread writing thank-you notes because they feel so stiff and formal. Adding a little fun to your thank-you notes can make it a task you’ll look forward to and one that the recipient will certainly find memorable.

Look for stationery that’s colorful and fun, perhaps with a favorite cartoon character or other cute theme. Look for a different way to express yourself: write a poem or, if you’re artistic, draw a picture along with your message.

Love crafts? Create hand-stamped custom stationery to make your notes even more personal.

The more fun you have with the process, the more impact your note will have (and the more likely you are to write them).

Scale up

You may decide at some point to do a large set of notes — maybe upon opening a new office, moving to a new brokerage or once a year around the holidays.

Troy Palmquist, owner of The Address Real Estate in Oxnard, California, recently found himself with just such a task.

“We had an open house a few weeks ago at a new listing. I brought out an ice cream truck and gave out free ice cream to the neighborhood. I then followed up with personal thank-you notes to all of the neighbors who came out and talked with us that day — dozens of notes in all,” Palmquist said.

If you need to produce a large volume of notes, plan ahead and break the task up into manageable chunks so that you don’t find yourself spending hour upon hour trying to write them all at once.

If you just don’t have time in your day to handwrite your notes, you can outsource the writing to an administrative assistant or a virtual assistant. Freelancer platforms such as Upwork and Fiverr are also good resources for finding people to help you manage your correspondence.

Need to outsource the entire process? There are services such as Postable and Bond that can create personalized, custom notes for hundreds of clients, colleagues or others and stamp and mail them for you.

They’re not handwritten, but they are a remarkable facsimile, and they are sure to have more impact than a pre-printed letter or card.

Whether you’re thanking a colleague for coffee or a lead for a listing presentation, there’s nothing like a personal note to help people feel truly appreciated. Set yourself up for success with the right materials, time management and help, if needed.

Christy Murdock Edgar is a Realtor, freelance writer, coach and consultant with Writing Real Estate in Alexandria, Virginia. Follow Writing Real Estate on Facebook or Twitter

Email Christy Murdock Edgar