Suppose you’re the planner who extended the invitation for me to speak at the annual conference of your company. Which of the following thank you notes would you rather receive from me following the event?
This: Thank you for your business. I really appreciate it and look forward to working with you again soon.
Or this: Thank you so much for inviting me to speak at the annual conference. I really appreciate your attention to detail. You responded to my questions promptly this past month and were gracious throughout the planning process. You are a sales trainer’s dream client!
I’m guessing you picked the second one, along with everyone else on the planet. Only two things would improve that note. One is to hand write it with pen on paper, including the envelope. Secondly, put a stamp on it and drop it in a mailbox.
Personal handwritten notes have become rarer than albino alligators. The latest Postal Service annual survey reports that folks only receive a personal letter or note about once every eight weeks. For comparison purposes it was once every two weeks in 1987. It’s not news that there is a constant evolution away from written communication and toward more email, texts, and tweets. People are quick to say they have no time for stationary and stamps. However there is value and importance in handwritten notes that should be considered.
Recipients of handwritten notes instinctively know that they cost the sender more, in time and materials. Electronic communication costs essentially zero and we all send and receive hundreds of them every day. This means they are rarely notable, whereas handwritten notes are unusual. I assure you each rare note or letter you’ve received means more than all of the electronic drivel clogging your inbox daily. If you don’t believe me, show me the stack of emails you cherish. Are they kept in a drawer for safekeeping or is it handwritten notes and letters that are there? ‘Nuf said!
Why Salespeople Should Listen Up!
In the selling world handwritten notes are normally messages of gratitude and appreciation that go beyond just a thank you. Readers of my newsletter should remember the missive about legendary car salesman Joe Girard who sent a handwritten message to all his clients once a month. These notes contained one simple sentence every time. For January the note read, “I like you, Happy New Year.“ For November it would say, “I like you, Happy Thanksgiving.” Joe believed these simple notes were one of the reasons his clients stayed so loyal to him over the years. What a great way to remind others that you value your relationship with them.
In your selling world notes and cards can be used for many occasions and reasons: To confirm an appointment, to thank a buyer for meeting with you, to memorialize the anniversary of a client business relationship, or even to cite something personal, such as a congratulatory note for a sports or academic accomplishment by a customer’s child. What better way to show the people who matter to your business that they are important to you.
Finally, physical notes are memorable. Whether the customer is commercial or residential, it’s not unusual to see notes and cards displayed on desks, refrigerators, or mantles. This is never done with email. So yes, they cost you something to create and send, but they mean so much more. They tell your customers how much they are deeply appreciated.
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