NOTE: This is another in a series of my "Back to the Basics" articles. Part II, which has tips on what to put in these notes, will come later this week.
In our hectic lives nowadays, the easiest form of contact between people is e-mail. Coming close in second is the voicemail message. Third place goes to the simple phone call. And in fourth, but lagging behind, is various forms of the in-person meeting.
All of these communication "channels," if you will, are important. What's more, they're not going away. But one form of communication that has been lost in recent years is the handwritten personal note. It's a shame, because writing and sending a note is not only a way to put yourself on a personal basis with someone, but it is less intrusive than a voice mail or phone call.
What's more, you'll definitely stand out in the in mind of the receiver with a personal note, because so few people take the time to write one. You'll also be seen as a caring and giving person, because you were attentive and spent the time to write a note. And as you can guess by the word "personal" in "personal note," writing one is a great way to truly connect with people on a one-to-one basis, and to even take an existing relationship to the next level.
So, when can you write a personal note?
- As a "thank you" for taking a phone call, having a meeting, doing a favor or other action someone has taken on your behalf
- As a "thank you" to anyone who has done anything nice for you -- helped you buy a new car, dry cleaned your clothes, repaired your dishwasher, etc.
- As a way to say "I just wanted to say hello," in an effort to re-connect with old or lost clients
- As a way to get your name and business card in front of someone who isn't easily approached. I've heard of all kinds of doors being opened, due to just one well-composed handwritten note.
A very successful real-estate agent I've heard speak had his assistant place 10 cards and stamped envelopes on his desk every morning. The next day, another 10 would be there. If for some reason he didn't get to his notes one day, he'd have 20 the next day, and so on. The point here is to make it a habit to write some notes every single business day. Ten a day may be difficult for most people, but how about two or three? Once you get yourself in the note-sending mindset, it's pretty easy to do.
(Look for Part II, later this week!)