A word to the wise. I don’t often say this, yet I am now. If you don’t have the time to read this article and follow the valuable links, bookmark this page and come back to it later.
Paper as investment
“Whaaaat?” you say. Here at Schulte and Schulte, our clients, our peers, and even our friends know us for being a paperless office. Heck, even our business cards rest peacefully on our phones, just waiting to be “handed out.”
Plus, we often strive hard to help our clients move into the paperless world.
Yet, here I am suggesting commercial construction subcontractors should invest in paper.
Because its value is so immense.
Paper sets you apart
Brett and Kate McKay, owners of The Art of Manliness, wrote an article titled, The Myth of Scarcity: 12 Stupidly Easy Things That’ll Set You Apart from the Pack.
In the second of their “12 Stupidly Easy Things” they suggest using handwritten thank you notes. They say, “Thank you note writing has become such a lost art, and receiving snail mail is so delightful, that sending handwritten appreciation has become one of the most effective ways to set yourself apart from the pack.”
Likewise, Kyle Young, writing for Lifehack gives us, 10 Reasons You Should Write More Handwritten Letters.
While all of his points are good, my favorite is the fifth. He says, “It helps you pause long enough to say things that matter. Texting and email are mostly reactionary. You need information, so you reach out. Writing letters is much more deliberate. You do it to give, not to receive. You write because there’s something you need to say, not something you need to know.”
Paper (plain paper) for the win
Len Markidan, writing at groove has the audacity to scoff at the craziness of “branded handwritten notes.” He says, “Too many businesses get hung up on the “branding” of handwritten notes . . . . . That’s crazy. Handwritten notes don’t have to be perfect. In fact, they’re not supposed to be! If you want something to look perfect, type it up, have a designer make it pretty, and spend a bunch of money getting it printed. But if you want something to be effective, then you don’t need to worry about any of that.”
Effective is the keyword in the last sentence. Powerful!
His article titled, 5 Free Scripts for Writing Handwritten Notes That Wow Your Customers is chock full of great information concerning the practice of handwritten notes. And of course, the 5 free scripts are right there available for your use.
Additionally, Markidan tells you why you can’t use “my handwriting stinks” as an excuse for not setting yourself apart.
Greeting cards too
None of the folks I’ve mentioned above talk about the power of adding store-bought greeting cards as another tool in your connection’s toolbox. Yet, I do see them as quite valuable.
Of course, there are the Thank You cards and the blank interior cards which should be among your tools.
And there are the spot-on greeting cards that can be added.
If you’re concerned about finding the right card in a sea of cards check out my “5 Doggone Good Card Picking Rules” below. Before you begin, think of the people you touch in your business. They are likely general contractors, employees, vendors, other contractors, service providers, referral partners, and subs.
And, you already know what types of cards to purchase for:
- Death or other type of loss
5 Doggone Good Card Picking Rules
- Put your CRM (or your brain) to use. Look for connections. Think about hobbies, collections, or interests.
- Plan to shop when you have time to browse. At first, you may have to make time. With practice you’ll get better. (If you have someone you trust who is good at this, send them.)
- Typically, humor is a good bet. Making someone laugh out loud, or at least smile is a great way to grab their attention.
- Pick up several different cards for various people in one shopping spree. Save the extras for the appropriate time.
- Hand delivery of cards is perfectly acceptable. Yet, if you’re planning to mail, don’t forget the stamps.
Write this down
Paper – for hand writing notes, cards, and letters is a valuable tool in your connection’s toolbox! It is worth the investment.
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