My mother was right: Hand-written notes express your gratitude, appreciation, regard and attention infinitely better than mere phone calls, or heaven help us, emails. Which, of course, is why you decided to add “writing personal notes” to your marketing tactics.
But after that first thank-you note, what in the world is there to write about? I mean, how many times (and ways) can one say “thank you” to a client?
Remember, not every note has to be a thank-you note. If you ask me, there are at least ten great reasons to write to your clients, colleagues and associates, and I’m sure you can think of more, once this list gets you started thinking in that direction. But just so that we don’t forget the importance of gratitude, let’s start with the old standby, the thank-you note:
1. Gratitude. Keep in mind that gratitude denotes thankfulness, and you are thankful for gifts, such as time, effort, expertise, information, or referrals.
Example: Thank you for referring John Smith to me. I am grateful for your referral, and appreciate your trust in my capabilities.
2. Appreciation. This is different than gratitude. To appreciate means to value and recognize the significance of a concept, object or act. You would write a note of appreciation for business, any type of support, demonstrations of regard, and acknowledgment of good wishes, and so on.
Example: Thank you for asking me about a 1031-Exchange. I appreciate your trust in my capabilities, especially after the situation with the Jones sale. You can count on me to handle every detail of this transaction on time and within your budget.
3. Condolence. Nobody has to die to send a condolence letter. When something bad happens to something that somebody you know cares about deeply, a note of condolence can really let the recipient know that you understand what matters to him or her.
Example: I was so sorry to hear about what happened to your car. I know how you treasured your 1966 Mustang, and rightly so. You did a great job restoring it, and your enthusiasm for the model turned both my sons into true fans. Although “Betsy” may never grace your driveway again, she shall shine forever in the boys’ memories almost as much as she will in yours.
4. Congratulations. This is a great type of note to receive because it shares the sender’s delight in one’s good fortune, so send this type as often as you can. People can be congratulated on all kinds of accomplishments, including promotions, achievements, awards, and so on.
Example: Congratulations on winning the Down Home Bread Maker of the Year award, Bob. I knew it was only a matter of time until the world at large discovered what I found out years ago: You truly are the best cook in the state! Let’s get together for a celebratory toast soon – and I don’t mean with bread, of course. I’ve always said there’s nothing better than your dough, and now it’s official!
5. Compliment. What is sweeter to our ears (OK, eyes if you’re reading) than a sincere compliment? Not much, and in our society when competition is tough, and the complaints and disparagements are often louder than the applause, a little positive feedback can be very welcome indeed.
Example: It was great seeing you at the meeting last night, Jane. Although I didn’t get a chance to mention it during the program, you were simply stunning in that blue dress! That shade is perfect on you, and everyone at our table commented on how terrific you looked. Don’t be surprised if we all show up in blue next month.
6. Recognition. If you’ve ever had your name or photo in the newspaper, you know what a thrill it is. Just imagine how much greater that thrill would be if you knew that others had seen it, too. But recognition doesn’t have to be confined to media coverage; you can also recognize someone for a job well done.
Example: Just saw the headline in the business section of today’s paper, and I’m impressed. Nice work, Jack! What a great angle on that story. With coverage like that, sales should go through the roof.
7. Something of interest. This is great for when you run across an article, cartoon or information that may interest, amuse or help the recipient. Not only does it show that you’ve been listening, but it demonstrates that you are thinking about that person, even when s/he is not standing right in front of you.
Example: That house you’ve been wanting is finally on the market again, Nancy. There’s a sign in the yard, and I’ve enclosed the REALTORS® flyer so you can be one of the first people to see if it’s as fabulous inside as it is on the outside. I’d advise calling her soon; houses are selling quickly in this area, and I don’t want to miss the opportunity to have you as a neighbor!
8. New acquaintance. So you’ve gone to a networking meeting, and come home with ten business cards. What to do? Follow up with a “happy to have met you” note.
Example: It was great to meet you at the association meeting last night. I wish we could have chatted for a little longer because there is so much I don’t know about your business, and I’d love to know how I could refer clients to you. Perhaps we could meet for coffee sometime in the next two weeks to get to know each other’s businesses a bit better?
9. Anniversary. People like to be remembered (unless they’re criminals), so it makes sense to honor an anniversary of first service or other significant date by sending a note. This really says how much you value the relationship, and reminds the client why they worked with you in the first place.
Example: I can hardly believe that it’s been so long since we worked together on that trade show, Jessica. Exactly one year ago today we unveiled your new exhibit, and I remember how pleased we were with the results. I hope it still serves you as well this year as it did last, and that we’ll be working together on another project soon.
10. Invitation. The best thing about a written invitation is that people know for sure that your invitation is premeditated and deliberate. Since many people automatically toss anything that looks even remotely like bulk mail, if you really want someone to come to an event, a handwritten invitation is about the most flattering way you can invite someone.
Example: You’re going to receive an invitation to join us for our annual open house in the mail soon, but I wanted to let you know personally that the party won’t be the same without you, so please do come if you can fit it into your schedule. Hope to see you on the 20th!
So that’s the short list. Believe it or not, there are at least 10 more reasons for sending personal notes, so no excuses for not sending them out will be accepted! Just sit down quietly for five minutes, and I’m sure you’ll come up with plenty more of your own reasons to write charming notes to your clients and colleagues.
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