Beth Boen has more than 30 years of experience in sales, marketing and customer service. She is an award-winning marketer. She is also a professional trainer and customer experience consultant. Beth loves helping people build long-term, loyal relationships that produce quality connections in their business that lead to lifetime customers and endless referrals. Beth helps people do this through her thoughtful blogs and training curriculum. Members of SHE Leads Group have access to more in-depth business development training through presentations at meetings from Beth, her curriculum, and guest trainers. In addition to being the Founder of SHE Leads Group, Beth has had a training and consulting business, The Voice Customer Experience, that she started in 2005.
The lost art of the hand-written card & other tips to stand out
In our fast-paced world, we have become reliant on technology to reach out and touch our clients, prospects, and referral partners. In doing so, we now start to blend in and no longer stand out. Technology is a great time savings, but it still cannot replace the lost art of some tried and true touch points that will make you stand out.
A truly hand-written card:
Over the last two weeks, I received two kinds of cards mailed to my house. Both cards were from business colleagues, but each had a very different way in which it affected me.
The computer generated card – great for staying top of mind if done with enough consistency and with some heartfelt message behind it. However, it will never give one the feeling of a truly hand-written card (a hand-written font is not truly hand-written). As for this computer generated card, I cannot remember the pleasantry written, as it probably sounded like a standard, generic greeting. There is nothing special about this card and as such, I won’t keep it on my desk and it goes in the trash. I will remember who it was from for about two days and then quickly forget about this person until another 4-6 months have passed and I get another card. With such infrequency, without any heart put into the message, and since this is the only way this person tries to stay in touch with me, I will not keep this person top of mind.
The truly hand-written card – creates a wonderful feeling when one receives it. When the receiver sees a hand-written envelope in their mailbox it shows them how the sender took the time to address it, stamp it, and walk it to their mailbox. The time and thoughtfulness of those actions alone create a good feeling. Then one opens this already special card (because who nowadays receives a truly hand-written card), to see a heartfelt, hand-written message that shows the receiver how special they are viewed by the sender. This card is now so special it sits on the receiver’s desk, counter, window sill, etc. for at least a week and likely longer. Every time the card is seen, even if it is not read again, it makes one feel good all over and think of the sender. People remember the people who send these truly special cards. These are the types of cards that will foster and build a relationship.
If you use a computer generated card service, make sure you use it effectively (frequency and heartfelt message) and combine an occasional truly hand-written card and some of the other touch points mentioned below. Using a computer generated card alone, will not accomplish the goal of staying top of mind. Some people think they do not have the time for this gesture of a hand-written card and believe that sending a computer generated card is better than nothing. If that is all they are doing, they could be doing more harm than good. Many people have told me how the computer generated card is often so impersonal that it creates a neutral or even reverse reaction. Some have even said that these impersonal cards being used as the sole method of staying in touch are sometimes viewed as off-putting. Certainly, that is not what the sender intends, but if not used properly, these negative or even neutral feelings are the result and the ROI diminishes.
Other tips to stand out:
- Use a CRM to keep track of who you meet. Put reminders in your CRM to stay in touch. Staying top of mind is important. Mix up how you stay in touch. Phone call, email, hand-written card, drop-by to give them something, etc.
- Ask permission after an initial one-on-one networking meeting to add them to your valuable email newsletter. Give them permission to say no. Don’t just go adding them to your email database, as that can be off-putting and create resentment. And, don’t forget to connect on the proper social media channels. Build and foster your relationship with them on social media by commenting on and sharing their posts. When you share their post, be sure to tag them.
- Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call someone to just see how they are doing with no business attached. I found myself waiting in a parking lot between appointments for 45 minutes. I could have played a game on my phone, read social media posts, or taken a quick nap as I waited to go into my next appointment. However, I decided to use this time to make calls to those who I have not connected with in a long time. In 45 minutes I was able to have 3 quality conversations that we very welcomed. In our fast-paced world, we tend to think we are bothering people when we call them, but truth is that phone calls are so rare, that if the recipient answers, they typically engage and enjoy a quick check in. Remember, these calls are not to sell anything.
- Have some branded greeting card stationary printed. This is very affordable. Ask your graphic designer to create you a thank you card, birthday card, thinking of you card, etc. Get them printed and you are ready to send a special, heartfelt, hand-written card. Always have a stack of stamps ready. I make a practice of sending one thank you card a day. When I am overwhelmed with gratitude for someone, I have the card on my desk ready to write and address. I put a stamp on it and walk it to my mailbox. It really is an easy habit to get into when you have everything at your fingertips.
Blending in and not standing out is a sea of competition will not produce successful results. Offering, saying and doing what your competition does will only hinder profits. At SHE Leads Group, we do things much differently than other leads and networking groups, including providing professional and business development training at every leads group meeting and networking event.Visit one of our networking events or leads groups and experience the SHE difference.