How often do you forget to say “Thank You?” Personally, I stand guilty of this omission occasionally myself. Okay, okay, I know it’s hard to believe, but it does happen.

Roy Ginsburg had a post on Attorney at Work awhile back where he talks about mistakes made by job seekers’ in failing to thank the relevant people who help them. It got me thinking about the failure of some lawyers to thank clients and others for business referrals.

Ginsburg’s two mistakes include:

  1. Failure to thank your network. As to referrals, my first thought was the story I heard about a New York law firm that admitted that it had received at least 10 referrals from the same contact and had never directly thanked the person involved. Their reasoning went something like this: “he knows we appreciate the referrals.” Does he now!!?  Not only should you thank the person who refers clients to your firm, and send them some token of appreciation (as appropriate or allowed), but you should make just as much of an effort to thank them when the referral doesn’t work out; and
  2. Failure to thank your interviewer. Always thank your prospect or client when given the opportunity to make a pitch for new work. Again, you should thank them for the opportunity to make a proposal whether you win the work or not. Don’t think in terms of only thanking people when things turn how as YOU hope. It’s just as important to let them know you appreciate their thinking about you in the first place.

Ginsburg has a good suggestion on how you should thank people.  He says you should do so both by email and snail mail. As he says, “it is neither overkill nor duplicative to send both,” and I totally agree. Although he doesn’t specifically say so, I’m sure he would agree that the “snailer” version should be a handwritten note versus a letter. The envelope should be hand addressed as well.

Carrying the thought one step further, I strongly recommend thanking others whenever they do anything for you – even after having lunch at your invitation.  There really is no better way to success than to show you appreciate the things people do for you.