Email is so ubiquitous now that it’s hard to remember exactly when it first became popular. Yet I can vividly recall how I felt in those early days of “you’ve got mail.” It was such a big deal! And as email rose in prominence, “snail mail” seemed to vanish.
In the last five years or so, I’ve seen a shift towards people embracing letters and notes again. Receiving physical mail is something that makes people feel really special. Therefore, I’m declaring the days of simply sending an email “thank you” to be over! And I believe sending heartfelt, handwritten thank-you notes can help you grow your business.
I was at a client’s office recently, and he must have had 20 handwritten notes on display on his credenza, including two from me. I personally save all of my thank-you notes as well. Shane and I have a thank-you note wall where we keep every single handwritten thank-you note that we get. This extra little bit of effort makes such a difference in bolstering relationships.
Yes, I know—you’re thinking to yourself, “But Dew, my handwriting is crummy.” That really doesn’t matter; it’s the thought that counts! Here are my three quick tips for setting yourself up so that you’re always ready to send an amazing thank-you note.
1. Keep Supplies On-Hand
Your company might have standard thank-you notes they will let you use, but I recommend getting some custom thank-you notes created for yourself. You can get custom cards for less than $10, and you’ll end up with something very unique. I have five different kinds of thank-you notes, and I rotate among them so that even if I send multiple notes to the same person over time, they’re always a little bit different.
I also make a point of keeping a book of stamps with my thank-you notes, so that I don’t have to make a special trip to the post office. I just write out the note, slap a stamp on it, and drop it in my mailbox immediately. Here’s another helpful hint: When you come back from a meeting with someone, grab a thank-you note, and write that person’s name on the outside of the envelope to serve as a reminder to yourself to get that done.
2. Send Them Consistently
My goal is to send at least one thank-you note a week, but I also make it a point to send one after every single face-to-face meeting I have. If I haven’t had any in-person meetings that week, then I’ll send one to someone after a particularly good phone conversation. I might send one to a current coaching client or even a past coaching client. Or if I’ve been thinking about somebody in particular, I will take the time to send them a handwritten note just to say hello and check up on them.
It’s not hard to find a reason to brighten someone’s day, and by doing it, you’re sharpening your communication skills. Build regular thank-you note writing into your ideal week.
Don’t forget that this practice can also make you money! Retaining and maintaining relationships is, after all, one of your key income producing activities.
3. Be Specific
If somebody bought your lunch or gave you a business tip or a referral, be specific about the reason you’re sending them a thank-you note. Don’t be generic and say something like, “It was great seeing you today.” Be detailed and say, “I really enjoyed seeing you today. Thanks so much for buying lunch. The next one is on me. I’m looking forward to working with you soon.”
Getting specific lets them know you were plugged in and present during your conversation. It makes an impact when someone knows you were truly listening and hearing them. As we’ve discussed before on the blog, listening is the number one skill you need to hone to become a top producer in your field.
You Get What You Give
In addition to being a prolific writer of notes yourself, always recognize when you receive a good thank-you note. In fact, I got the funniest handwritten note last month: I had given one of my business partners a pen, and he wrote a note with the pen that I had given him, telling me how fantastic the pen was and thanking me for the meeting we had. It was so lighthearted and so much fun.
I really enjoyed the conversation with him about his clever thank-you note too. Taking steps to personalize your interactions like this further deepens your relationships by closing the gratitude circle.
Until next time—go sell some stuff!