Thank clients for their business. Thank them for referrals. Remind them about their appointments. And do each of these with a handwritten note
Find an excuse to send a note card to people you meet, people who provide services to you, and people whom you serve. We have all become so accustomed to communicating by email, text and other electronic and social media means that the lowly note card — handwritten, hand-addressed, hand-stamped and delivered by "snail mail" — has actually become an item of immediate interest and delight when someone is shuffling through her junk mail or bills.
While there is a cost-factor and a small amount of labor in putting together stationery, stamps, the message and postage — not to mention tossing an occasional mistake into the trash — the potential rewards are great. Peter, one of my financial advisor clients, was telling me a story about how he thought his light gray suit was ruined when someone spilled red wine in his lap at a networking event. He was amazed that the dry cleaner was able to get the stain out entirely, leaving the suit as good as new.
"Send him a note, thanking him for getting the wine out," I told him. Peter protested that a handwritten note was overkill. He had thanked the owner personally when he picked up the suit. I explained to him that the owner probably received dozens of complaint letters each year — people sending letters to complain about damaged shirts and demanding reimbursement. The seemingly outdated thank you note
, I told him, would surprise and flatter the owner and, in the long-term, help Peter's business.
Peter was skeptical, but he sent the thank you note, with one of his business cards enclosed. A week later, Peter called me, unable to hide the excitement in his voice. "When I walked in with my shirts yesterday," he started, "My note and the business card I enclosed were taped up on the wall near the counter. The owner thanked me for my note and asked me about my business — something he'd never done in the three years I've been bringing my clothes to him."
"But wait!" he exclaimed, "It gets better. I told him what I did, and he asked me if I'd be willing to talk with him about his situation. And all because I sent him that note!"
Peter eventually started working with the dry cleaner, who turned out to have other businesses and a significant amount of assets. It won't always work out like that , but it will open doors for you if you keep doing it. Make it a point to write three note cards a week — to anyone you can think of, and for any reason. Enclose a business card
, and don't be afraid to follow up when the opportunity arises by asking if your note was received.
P.S. Peter sent me a handwritten note to thank me for helping him land this new client. I was thrilled to receive it and would be just as thrilled to refer him to anyone who needed his brand of help.
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