A “note” on how to separate yourself from the competition
By Tim McAdow
There is a time-tested follow-up technique that is rarely used these days. The art of the thank you note seems to have fallen to the wayside and in its place is an email, tweet or post. I'm not saying electronic communication isn't appropriate in many situations; I'm suggesting that you add a handwritten note to your business development process.
How often do you get a handwritten note in the mail? If you are like me, it doesn't happen too often. The only consistent thank you notes I get come from candidates that have interviewed with me. Candidates use the thank you note to try and connect more deeply with the hiring managers and that same goal can be achieved when trying to add a new customer.
An email thank you can take just seconds to compose and send out. It will be delivered to an already overflowing email box and the chances of it being read in its entirety are very small. On the other hand, a personally written note that includes a unique fact or some common connection that you have will make an impact. It's a fact; people will open handwritten envelopes.
It does take a bit of extra work to plan and execute a thank you note strategy.
The handwritten note should always include some personal reference from your conversation — something beyond the product or service you are selling. It could be the basketball game you talked about, the vacation that the person went on or some other connection that you made with the person. This means that you have to pay attention, take notes and write the thank you soon after the conversation.
In our multichannel, media intense world, the signal that is sent when someone takes time to write a personal thank you note rarely goes unnoticed. Start with just one key contact a day and move toward using the thank you note for every appointment.
The results will include a warmer welcome the next time your reach out and a higher level of connectivity to your client. I always include another business card in the note — it allows me to sign the card with just my first name and one more of my business cards floating around the client’s home or office isn't a bad thing.
The extra time you spend will separate yourself from the competition and the effort you make will be well worth it.