Keep In Touch Despite Distancing

We’re living in a challenging time of intense uncertainty.  And, as with so many of life’s dilemmas, the way that each individual copes with these anxieties varies.  It’s likely you have clients who are eager to meet with you.  There are others who are sheltering at home, who dare not leave the confines of their safe space.  Still others are conflicted – they don’t quite know what to do, unsure whether they are putting themselves, their families or those with whom they come into contact in harm’s way.

And, yet, you still have a business to run.  That includes the desire to keep the office open, to see your clients, to continue to employ your staff, to make payroll.  You might be wondering what steps you can take now to engage those around you so that when they do feel comfortable re-entering public life, your firm is one of their first stops. 

From a relationship-building point of view, it’s important for you to stay in touch.  During this uncertain time, people want to stay and feel connected to others.  And, in running your business, it is critical to make sure your customers feel well-cared-for and appreciated.  One of the best actions you can take is to simply say, “HELLO” or “THANK YOU!”  And, the best way to show your interest and gratitude is to send handwritten notes.

Here’s the thing:  People love to receive handwritten correspondence.  Plus, it’s a little like getting an unexpected gift in the mail and it is unlikely to ever be thrown away!  What often happens with handwritten correspondence is that the recipient carefully opens the letter, reads it, gently returns it to the envelop and puts it in a stack of letters they’ve received over the years – maybe that stack is in a drawer, on top of their desk, in a special file.  For the most cherished handwritten notes, they may be tacked to a bulletin board or affixed to the refrigerator with a magnet.  Suffice it to say, people love to get handwritten messages addressed to them.

So, do this:

  1. Stock Up!  Get yourself a healthy supply of nice birthday cards and/or stationery with envelops – your company’s logo adds a nice touch to remind people who you are.

  2. Make a list of five people to whom you will reach out.  Do this every day!  Start with birthday greetings for those with special days coming up in the next week.  One thing is for sure – everyone has a birthday and it makes people feel good to receive personalized birthday greetings.  If you won’t be sending a Hallmark card, you can opt to send a text message, call to leave a “happy birthday” message on voicemail, or even offer wishes via social media like Facebook or LinkedIn. If you need a few more folks to complete your requisite daily five (or whatever volume you pick), start digging into your database of clients, staff, vendors and prospects to whom you can send a personal note of appreciation for their loyalty or longevity with you.  Even a simple inquiry, “how are you doing during this time?” will be appreciated.

  3. Grab a pen and start writing!  Assuming your handwriting is at least legible, the extra effort that you put in by hand-lettering the note will not go unnoticed.

  4. Close the Deal.  Now, place the recipient’s address on the envelop, pop on a stamp and drop the stack in the mail.

  5. Rinse.  Repeat.  Be sure to schedule time for yourself each day to complete this process.  Unsure you will able to maintain discipline?  Take care of a week’s worth of correspondence in advance and/or enlist members of your team to assist.

It’s guaranteed – your genuine, authentic outreach will go far to build you a reserve of social capital that money cannot buy. 

Happy Networking!

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