Not long ago, Kathie and I found a handwritten “thank you” note in our mailbox written by close friends. They both come from an older generation that learned from their parents the social graces that included writing notes. In a stack of 8-10 pieces of boring mail, I opened that note first! Such is the power of a handwritten, personal note.
Are you in the habit of writing notes to your clients? If not, I encourage you to run a “note experiment” for a month by deciding every Monday to write 3 personal notes to random clients. Use a stamp on the envelope, not your office’s postage machine. Limit your note to no more than 5-7 sentences in 2 paragraphs. Brief, to the point, and personal are the keys to connecting with your clients.
You ask: What do I write about? Here are three of many general themes that make for compelling, memorable notes. First is gratitude. Each week, write at least one client a “thank you” note for some gift they gave you. By “gift,” I’m not talking about a box of candy or tickets to the symphony they could not use – although both of those gifts are quite nice. By “gift” I mean the gift of their friendship, business, their wisdom, or the gift of introducing you to others.
Documented in books and numerous studies, nothing is more powerful than opening a personal, handwritten note from someone saying, “thank you.”
The second theme for a note is the sharing of wisdom. “Mark, I found an article online last week that made me think of you.” The article could have been about the breed of dog your client owns or the car they drive or the prime vacation spot to which they return every year. Print out the web address or guide them to a Google search to find that article. You say, I could do that in an e-mail a whole lot quicker! You could indeed, but the mailbox gift of a note with the very same information is loaded with more cache.
The third theme – but by no means the last – would be some expression of care. The note could be a remembrance of your client’s beloved mother who passed away six months ago. “I know how grief can linger but you have been on my mind and heart these last six months.” The note could be “get well” wishes as your client navigates the long months of recovery and therapy from a medical procedure. Express care in a note and you will connect in deeper ways with a client who needs encouragement more than you know.
Notes are powerful communication vehicles that bond us to those we serve. We relish finding one in our mailbox and, in its reading, feel an affection for the writer nothing else can create. They will savor reading your brief sentences and remember yet another reason why you and perhaps your team are the people with whom they want to do business. Three a week, brief, personal, focused, stamped communiques will breathe new life into client relationships and find you wanting to do this “experiment” for months to come.