Thursday, January 17, 2008

Proof on the Power Of The Handwritten Note

Those who have heard me speak or read my books know that I am a HUGE believer in the power of the handwritten note. I send them all the time. Yes, email is the standard from of business communications these days, but who wants to just be "standard"?

I can talk about his until I am blue in the face, but lets allow success to speak for itself.

My friend Scott is a very successful sales professional who also is one of the leading networkers on the planet. He is also a fan of the written note, and will always send one after a new prospect meeting. Here is the email he got from someone he called on for the first time last week:

"Not to start an endless circle of “thank-you,” “No, thank YOU,” I must say that your note was the first hand-written thank-you note I have received in a business context in years. It is rare to see a hand-written note in this age of emails! You are to be commended for that gesture. We look forward to receiving your proposal."

First hand-written note in a busines context in years? Hmmmmm, and this from the CEO of a mid-sized company. This tells me that vendors selling all kinds of other products are missing the boat. Did Scott stand out above his competition? Yep.

Now, what if you are calling on a company and the competition sends a nice note and you send an email or ignore the gratitude gesture altogether? Imagine having to tell your boss, "We lost the bid cuz I was too much of a lazy ass to spend three minutes to handwrite a note to the prospect after the meeting".

I am sure your employer would agree with all the excuses not to write a note:

I don't have time
My handwriting sucks
It is old school
That stuff doesn't really matter
All customers care about is price
Postage is expensive
We don't have the right stationary
It will look like I am kissing up
I don't know what to write
Handwritten notes are for women (yes, I had someone tell me this at a seminar I was teaching)
Email is faster and therefore more effective
Email leaves a digital trail for the file
My clients work in high tech, so they prefer emailed communications
Nobody opens snail mail these days
Only the customers assistant will see it if I mail it

You can make excuses all day long, but the CEO who thinks you are to be commended for your gesture of the note will also be more likely to buy your product!

Have A Great Day.



Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your post. I write thank you notes all the time. I feel like the thank you not king. If I see someone at a networking event that I know well and ask them a industy specific questions, I send them a note thanking them for the info. When I meet someone and set up a coffee, I send them a note thanking them for their time and telling them I look forward to meeting with them. This sets a nice tone for the meeting. As an aside, I try to get to the meeting early and call them and ask them what type of coffee they want so it is waiting for them. That really impresses them.

I know some people feel that email is more effective since it gets to them much faster. Sometimes I will email them immediately and then follow up with a note as well. If I can, I ty to get the note in the mail shortly after meeting them. For instance, if I have a early networking event, I get the note out that day. If it gets to them the next day that really makes an impression. I try to keep stamps and notecards in my car at all times so that I have no excuse not to write a note.

I enjoy your blog.

Jim O'Donnell said...

Hand written notes really do work. Don't let the excuses Thom mentions keep you from utilizing this powerful tool. If you're trying to build a relationship, a personal touch goes a long way!

Tom Magness said...


Totally concur. I also have my secretary help me by keeping her ear to the ground for any births, illnesses, family loss, significant life events, celebrations, birthdays, etc. I have 700 people working for me and I know I don't get everything. But I do get some very positive feedback from those I do write. I can walk around the office and see several of them posted in people's cubicles and know that it means a lot to them. That's worth the time investment to me! Doing notecards is a great task for the airplane, bus ride home, or first thing in the morning. 5 minutes can make all the difference! Thanks for the reminder!

Liz said...

Great post Thom! I think its so important to write thank you notes even if they are really short.

If any of your readers are having trouble crafting thank you notes they can download my free thank you note e-book at In the past 3 months it's been downloaded more than 4,000 times so I hope that there are 4,000 more people writing thank you notes out there.

Love your blog.