Writing a handwritten note may seem to be an easy task but there are many things to consider when writing one for professional sales use. There are things to do, things to stay away from, and a structure that has proven to be effective for many sales professionals resulting in higher open rates, more responses, and most importantly conveying your gratitude and appreciation to your customer or prospect.
Don’t let your handwriting ability hold you back. Many sales professionals will use the excuse of poor handwriting as the reason they do not send handwritten notes for follow up or thank you. This is simply an excuse.
One thing we do know, the recipient of the note will not remember your handwriting, but they will remember the message and, most importantly, who sent it.
Let’s get started with the anatomy of the handwritten note:
- The Greeting — this one is simple…”Hi” and then your customer’s first name. “Dear” becomes too formal, “Hey” becomes to relaxed. Stick with “Hi” for a warm, professional greeting. Don’t overthink this one. TIP: Be sure to double check the spelling of your customer’s name. This is your first impression, the last thing you want to do is hurt the integrity of the note right from the beginning. Have you ever seen the name “Greg” spelled with three G’s (Gregg)? Shoutout to any Gregg’s out there :) It’s more common than you think. There are many variations to the most common names so be sure to pay attention to the correct spelling.
- Express your Thanks and Appreciation — this is probably the reason you are sending the note in the first place so here is where you can express that. Is it because of a first meeting? Did you earn their business? Did you just show a demo? Maybe they sent you a referral? Whatever it may be, use this sentence to convey your thanks or appreciation for what your customer or prospect did for you.
- Add One Specific Detail- Is there something that will stand out to your recipient that you will both remember? Did something funny happen? Maybe you both had something in common? This is where you add a brief sentence to recollect that memory. If we are sending a “thank you” note, we always like to remind the customer exactly what they purchased. If it is after a demo, remind the recipient exactly what they demoed. Heck, maybe you were both fans of the Kansas City Chiefs, add a comment about the game they just played. It is a great way to jog the memory of the experience they had with you.
- Forward looking statement- Add a brief sentence looking forward to the future. This may be something like “Looking forward to growing our partnership in the future” or “Looking forward to having you join us”. This gives the recipient a feeling of trust that you will be there for them down the road and that you truly want to build a relationship and grow with them.
- The Closing- There are plenty of professional business closings that are appropriate to use. Our favorites are “Thank you,” and “Regards,”. We like to keep it simple. Another that could be used is “Sincerely,”. We would suggest staying away from “Cheers”. It might come off as non-professional to the recipient. Finish with your signature or written full name.
Those are the five items that are needed for the structure of your professional handwritten note. Ideally, you will want to keep this to 50 words or fewer. We aren’t trying to send a novel, we want to keep it short, concise, and to the point. It may seem like a challenge but 50 words is perfect for a standard 6" x 4" size note.
Along with the structure, we have include Do’s and Don’ts when you are writing the note. These tips are designed to make your note professional and also add to the authenticity of note. Your recipient will be sure to notice the extra effort!
- Use Black or Blue ink
- Use a real stamp — sorry Stamps.com
- Always handwrite the address and return address — don’t use printed address labels
- Place the card in the envelope with the front of the card facing the back of the envelope this way when the recipient opens the envelope the front of the card will be facing them
- Do NOT use colored ink
- Do NOT include a business card — This may come as a shock to some but including a business card will effect the authenticity of the note. Your recipient might question your true appreciation or gratitude.
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Best of Luck!
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