A Letter of Thanks
By Jeffery Dobkin, marketing consultant, author, and professional speaker

Always send a letter of thanks to your client.

It doesn’t matter if you sent boxes of Godiva Chocolate to your client list. Doesn’t matter if you dropped them at the airport because no one else would take them at 4 in the morning. I don’t even care if you took them out to dinner, and the client ordered the steak, his wife the lobster, and the two friends he brought along at the last minute ordered the rack of lamb… and two bottles of Champagne. They still get a letter of thanks.

Because in the end, which is where you get it if they don’t remain on your good-client list, they’ll forget what they ordered, that his wife got drunk on three cosmos and half bottle of Champaign and threw up in the back seat of your car on the way home… well OK maybe they’ll remember that, but they’ll forget that his buddies ran up a bar tab when they showed up 3 hours early and then had it put on your dinner bill. They’ll forget all that. But they’ll have a letter of thanks sitting on their desk. Maybe for a day. Maybe for a month. Maybe longer.

Can you sell anything in this letter? No. But feel free to say it was a pleasure meeting them for dinner even if it wasn’t, and that it’s a privilege to know them and have them for clients. And anytime they need… ________ (feel free to insert whatever you’re selling here) that they know they can count on you, and to call you first.

I have a lot of clients that sell hard-good products. It’s a straight-up sale: I sell lawnmowers, you need a lawnmower — here ya go! But more than that, I have a lot of clients that need to establish - or polish - a relationship with their customers in order to do business with them. Financial services, insurance, custom software - all fall into that category, and demand a certain level of trust, and that trust is called a relationship.

As a direct marketing guy, I write a lot of direct mail and direct marketing material for clients. In the financial and insurance communities, I generally don’t sell anything in the letters, post cards, and mailers I create. Sure, I show the products and usually explain them - boasting of the benefits and pointing out the uniqueness of the products we offer, even though there really is none. But my real goal is not to sell the products, my real objective is to generate a phone call to my client. My client then sells the product - and usually much better than I could ever do in a few sheets of paper.

But it doesn’t stop there. Through the phone calls our direct mail pieces generate, my clients establish a relationship. A bond that may last for years, through different products, changes in vendors and underwriters, and establishing the lifetime value of a customer at a much higher level than I can with a single mailer.

If the client never submits a claim, and all the costs are similar - then what makes one insurance company unique? The answer is simple: nothing. It’s the agent, the personal service, the relationship that retains a client throughout the years.

In the financial services market, what happens if you make a bad decision and the client loses money in a particular investment? If the client relationship is solid, nothing happens. Apologies all around and it’s back to business later that day, and let’s make the next investment better. But without a relationship, the client jumps ship faster than a Honda mechanic at a NASCAR event.

All marketing in your industry starts with someone raising their hand, and if successful, ends with a personal relationship. Inside this relationship are the entities of trust and value. Without trust and value, a long term relationship can't exist. And, isn't that what you are looking for - long term relationships within your community?

And one of the most engaging ways to keep this relationship in your client’s mind is with a thank you letter. A permanent marker of your appreciative value of the relationship. A reminder that it is your privilege to serve. A thank you letter can overcome most hiccups in the long term relationships of client life.

Always send a letter of thanks - for every occasion, even when it was you who has done something nice for your client. Even if it’s just to thank them for their business. It’s easy to keep clients for life. If it was only this easy cleaning out what the Mrs. left in the back seat of your car.

---Source: Jeffrey Dobkin is a copywriter, a speaker, and direct marketing consultant. Call for his free instructional booklet of direct marketing tips: 610/642-1000 or visit his Web site at










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