Old School Trick For Making Better Impressions, Building Better Relationships and Selling More Stuff

Thank You NotesEmail is faster.

Social Media is trendier.

Video is high-techier.

But nothing makes an impression like a good, old fashioned, handwritten note.

I started writing thank you notes when I was the sales manager for a small town radio station. I made it a habit to send a personal note to every new customer, big and small – a habit I continue to this day at Instant Events.

I try to send at least one handwritten thank you note a day.

And people notice. I get phone calls and emails every week from customers thanking me for thanking them. People post my notes on their facebook walls!

Instant Events Note CardSales trainers will tell you that if you’re in sales, you’re in the business of making friends. And even if you’re not in sales, you’re in sales.

Everyone is selling something… usually themselves.

A handwritten thank you note can help you build better relationships whether you’re looking for your first job out of college thanking someone for the interview or running for president thanking someone for the big, fat political donation.

President George H. W. Bush was evangelical about writing thank you notes starting as a small town politician in Texas on through his days in the White House where he would send dozens of thank you notes a day to everyone from the guy who carried his luggage to other world leaders.

All people, great and small, appreciate being appreciated.

Taking the time to sit down and hand write a personal note of thanks proves that you appreciate them.

Some people won’t write notes by hand because they’re ashamed of their handwriting – It isn’t in keeping with the professional image that they’re trying to present. Manners maven Emily Post said that “The letter you write, whether you realize it or not, is always a mirror which reflects your appearance, taste and character.”

Probably true.

A handwritten note reflects honesty and authenticity and vulnerability – The hallmarks of real relationships, not professional acquaintances.

My handwriting looks something like a tweaked out chicken with Tourette’s got dumped in an inkwell and unleashed on the unsuspecting page, but there I am every day being my honest self on paper and showing my honest appreciation.

And it’s good for you too.

Gratitude is the primary ingredient of happiness.

And taking the time to think about who you’re grateful for, why you should be grateful to them and then sharing that feeling of gratitude lights up all kinds of happy centers in your brain.

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” – William Arthur Ward.

I started out with thank you notes, but now I keep a stack of note cards on my desk and send them out to congratulate people on new jobs, for birthdays and sometimes just to say hey.

You probably got hundreds of birthday wishes on your facebook wall, but when’s the last time you got a birthday card from someone who wasn’t your mom?

Everyone likes to feel special.

Everyone likes to feel important.

Everyone likes to feel appreciated.

You can give them all of that with 3 minutes of your time and a 46¢ stamp.

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Terry LancasterTerry Lancaster is the VP of Making S#!% Happen at Instant Events Automotive Advertising, father of 3 teenage daughters and a Beer League Hockey All Star, as if there could ever be such a thing. You can connect with Terry on FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+.