Let me ask you a question:
How many hand-written notes did you receive in the mail in the last week?
Or maybe the better question would be: Did you get any hand-written notes in the mail last week?
Getting mail isn’t too common these days. And I’m not trying to point out how few friends you have. I’m also not trying to start a rant about how letter-writing has become a lost art (which, sadly, it kind of has).
I am pointing out the opportunity to stand out that every master networker and salesperson takes advantage of.
They send physical, personalized, hand-written notes.
Stand Out By Doing What Others Don’t
In a world that’s full of noise, sending out a hand-written note is a true “blue ocean strategy”. It’s a communication medium that doesn’t have a lot of competition in it. Sure, there is still junk mail, but it’s pretty easy to differentiate yourself from the brochures and coupon envelopes. It’s definitely easier to stand out in a physical mailbox than in the digital world.
There are over 200 million emails sent every minute, and any email you send out sits with all of the rest them in somebody’s inbox. However, because people get so few of personalized pieces of snail mail, the note you mail will automatically stand out. It will put you on someone’s radar in a way that other communication forms can’t.
When was the last time that someone tweeted out that you sent them an email? That’s probably pretty rare. Well here’s what people have done when I sent them a note:
— Konstanze (@Konstanze) November 2, 2016
— Amy Heiss (@HeissofTexas) January 24, 2017
That’s pretty good feedback. Think of how you feel when you get a note in the mail. It’s why getting a birthday card from someone can put a smile on your face.
Do you want to make this a part of your outreach? Here’s where to start.
A few note-writing suggestions
Reasons to send a note:
- You just saw them at an event.
- To thank them for a referral or business idea they shared.
- Congratulating them on a business success.
- Reference a post they made on social media.
- Anything that LinkedIn notifications share – job anniversary, promotion, birthday.
- Just because.
Notes don’t have to be long (unlike your high school love letters). A few sentences will do. It can be as simple as:
- “It was great spending some time with you last week at the conference. It sounds like you have some really exciting things happening at Company XYZ, especially with your new A.I. work. Keep in touch and I’ll be sure to let you know if I run into any experts in the field that you should meet.”
- “I’m glad that we could grab coffee the other day – I feel like I have a much better grasp on how you are working with your clients. If I run across a prospect that fits into your demographic, I’ll let you know. And let me know if I can help with anything else.”
- “Thank you for the introduction to Gail. We had a great conversation and I think there will be some great partnership opportunities down the line. If there is any way I can be of service in the futur, please let me know.”
I’ve had personalized notecards created that do a little branding work for me, but don’t let that be an obstacle.
- A note written on a piece of notebook paper, or even hotel stationary if you travel a lot, can be just as effective. I got the idea for personalized notecards from Bob Burg in Endless Referrals. I think they can be more effective than ones that just say “from the desk of D. Fish”. Here’s what mine look like to give you an idea. But again, the important point is to send a note, not stress over making it pretty.
- You do have to get their mailing address at work. If you can’t find it with a quick Google search, there’s nothing wrong with sending a quick email that says, “Can you shoot me your mailing address.” Surprise isn’t necessary for this to be effective.
- If you are writing to a prospect or customer, try to resist asking for something. This is much more valuable as a relationship-building tool, and its impact can be diminished if the recipient views it as just another way that you can hound them. But if you haven’t been able to set a meeting with them, there’s nothing wrong with a suggestion that you get a “call on the calendar”.
Don’t Put it Off – Start Writing Notes Today
I’ve never had anyone tell me this is a waste of time. When most people hear about the power of writing short notes, they instantly nod their heads and go, “That’s a great idea!” But I’ve seen almost no one implement it. It’s too easy to let it slide to the bottom of your to-do list or put it off (even though it takes less than 5 minutes). The trick here is to actually take action.
Here’s what can do today to give yourself a shot at making this happen:
Put some paper, some envelopes, and some stamps on your desk. Make it a point to send one note a day for a week, just to work on the muscles.
If you need a place to start, visit my Contact page for my info and send me one. I’ll even tweet it out. 🙂