“There are no new fundamentals. You’ve got to be a little suspicious of someone who says, ‘I’ve got a new fundamental.’ That’s like someone inviting you to tour a factory where they are manufacturing antiques.” –Jim Rohn
This post is about a wondrously effective method of rejection-free prospecting, but it’s not going to be another one of the dozens of articles you’ll likely see this month alone, about Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn or Instagram or Google+ or Pinterest or Tumblr.
Unfortunately—and maybe you’ve noticed this, too-- social media platforms seem to be getting noisier every day—with more and more people talking, and fewer and fewer people listening.
Sometimes, if you really want to be noticed, you have to dare to be different, which in this case doesn’t mean speaking more loudly to an audience of hundreds or even thousands, in an ever more desperate bid to be heard.
It means speaking more quietly and personally… to an audience of one.
The Humble Hand-Written Note Takes on a New Power to Impact People.
When was the last time you received an actual hand-written note or letter—not a greeting card or invitation, but a real note or letter?
Networking experts have long sung the praises of the simple hand-written note’s power to make personal connections and to help build relationships.
But in our new world of instant written communications—email, texting, microblogging, and status updates, the time it takes an idea to travel from our thoughts to another person’s eyes can be measured in seconds.
Surely in this world, the hand-written note only survives as a curiosity, a relic from an earlier time.
But that’s exactly where its power lies. It’s a tradition from a time when the world seemed to move more slowly, when we seemingly had more time to spend paying attention to one another, and not just, as now, to our various “screens.”
A hand-written note indicates a thoughtfulness and investment of time on the part of the sender, an investment focused solely on the recipient.
This is something that almost never fails to flatter and impress.
And since hand-written letters, notes, and thank you cards have become increasingly rare in our society, the ability to make a real impact with one is now greater than it ever has been.
How to Harness This Power for Your Business
Now, that I’ve finished waxing poetic about hand-written notes, let’s get down to brass tacks about how you can use them in your business as a client-attracting tool. ;-)
Here are a few suggestions:
1.) Go to your favorite office supply store or bookstore, or better yet, a stationary store, and buy some nice cards and envelopes. Get some thank you notes, of course, but also get some blank cards, or ones that say something, like “Just a Note.”
(You can also get fancy, with ribbon or colored string or wax seals—but even if you’re the “crafty” type and inclined in this direction, I’d counsel against making this too complicated at the beginning.)
2.) You may also consider making a stop at the post office and picking up some nice commemorative stamps that fit your personality. This isn’t 100% necessary, but remember, you’re trying to make an impression here, and details count.
3.) Commit to sending a small number of personal notes out five days a week. Networking experts suggest five a day. But I’d suggest starting with two or three a day, until the habit is embedded. Make it easy to do. You can always work your way up.
4.) Start looking for opportunities where it would be a nice thing to do to send a personal contact a note, as opposed to situations where you “should.”
- An inspector did a great job for your client? Send a note.
- Ran into an old acquaintance at the store? Send a note.
- Something today reminded you of an old client who was great to work with… You get the idea.
5.) Think of creative ways you can incorporate hand-written notes into some of your existing marketing. Could you send a nice introduction or follow-up note to…
- A FSBO
- An Expired Listing
- An Open House visitor
- An Influencer in your Farm Area (Garden Club president, HOA president, Youth Sports coach, etc.)
By the way, making this into a “want to” versus a “have to” will help the habit stick.
Here are a couple of examples of nice sentiments:
The sentiment in a well-written, effective note should, of course, be sincere, but truly memorable notes most often express one of the following emotions: appreciation, admiration, or gratitude.
In addition to any personal thoughts you'd like to express, you might use some language similar to the following examples (each of which help to also keep things beneficial for business without being obtrusive).
• “If there’s any way I can ever be of help to you in your career [or alternately, “in building your business” or whatever seems most relevant here], please let me know.”
• “If you ever have a quick question about real estate-- like ‘What did the neighbor’s house sell for?’ :-), don’t hesitate to pick up the phone. I’d be pleased to be a professional resource for you.”
Of course, these types of sentiments are best expressed right at the end of the note, or even in a “P.S.”
Be Sure to Set Up a Specific Routine
I suggest something like this:
- In the evening or at the end of the workday, make a list of three people (or whatever number you’ve committed to) that you will send notes to the following day.
- Set the list on your desk, along with three sets of appropriate stationary and three stamps.
- The next morning, get your day started right by making this the first work-related task you do. It’s easy, it’s positive, and it will give you a feeling of accomplishment that will help motivate you for the rest of the day.
- Commit to doing this for at least three to four weeks, as a test.
What This Could Mean For Your Business
If you actually do this, I’d be shocked if you don’t get at least a couple of emails or phone calls in return.
This is one of the easiest, least expensive, and most impactful types of personal prospecting you can do. And almost no one does it!
What would the impact to your business be like, if even half the people you send notes to, started thinking of you whenever they think of real estate?
[Image #1 & #2: Used under license from iStockPhoto.]
Have you ever sent hand-written notes as part of your marketing or prospecting plan?
Do you have a success story to share about a contact you made or a client or referral you picked up with this technique?