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The Power of the Handwritten Note

by Karen Jackson  | 7 Comments

One of the least expensive, most powerful tools in a sales person’s toolbox is a note card. Add a pen, 10 minutes and a modicum of thoughtfulness; presto – you have a thank you note.

Yet so few bother. And that’s just plain crazy. Because everyone knows it’s much more expensive to find a new customer than to keep an old one.

It’s hard to defend any rationale behind why the majority fail on this most basic of social interactions. Too hectic? Too lazy? Too convinced that an email is good enough? Worse yet, are we really just too self-absorbed?

Whatever the reason, if this shoe fits, wear it. Customers deserve better. It’s not to suggest that they aren’t receiving whatever goods or services they paid for. It IS to suggest that they don’t receive enough appreciation for choosing us, collaborating with us, risking for us, and forgiving us when we screw up.

I’m not talking about a perfunctory, “thank you for your business” note. Those can be churned out by anyone. I’m talking about taking the time to say “thank you for trusting me / collaborating with me / making this project such a success” – whatever ought be said that makes it personal, meaningful and specific. A message that conveys you value them enough to bother – via a notecard, in ink, by your hand. Believe me, it’s powerful. And, when your competition tries to knock you out of the incumbent’s box, your customer will think, “I care too much about my relationship with ____ to make a move.”

Who deserves your thank you note today? Get cracking. Mine are waiting for tomorrow’s mail. Yes, you need a postage stamp.

| Categories: customer experience, Customer Satisfaction, Sales
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7 Comments to The Power of the Handwritten Note

  1. andrea nierenberg
    February 5, 2014 10:55 pm

    Excellent post–and something I live by.
    The stamp is your 49 cent investment plan or buy the ‘forever stamps’
    Thank you, Karen– and you are right, it is crazy that more people don’t write notes

  2. Mark Aiello
    February 6, 2014 7:22 am


    Great point. In today’s fast paced world, a little “Old School” helps one stand out from the blur. What better thing can you buy for 49 cents???

  3. tim askew
    February 6, 2014 12:21 pm

    Yes. Karen. You are right on. I really believe in the power of little details like what you write about hand-written notes. In fact, I’m feeling guilty about how little I practice what I preach. I think I will do a handwritten note right now. Nice post.

    Tim Askew

  4. Kevin Donlin
    July 7, 2014 5:56 pm

    You’re speaking my language! I’ve used handwritten thank-you notes as a “not so secret” weapon for years, including B2B sales. They’re like little gifts and everyone loves to get them. Because 98% of people are “too busy” to write and mail them, there will always be room to stand out if you’re one of the few percent who do. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Karen Jackson
      July 7, 2014 7:03 pm

      Kevin, thanks for your comment. This post truly is “evergreen.” To your point about “too busy,” the ROI on the 10 minutes required is tremendous.

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