Marketing 101: Handwritten Notes

July 20, 2010 by Shirleen Von Hoffmann Leave a reply »

By Shirleen Von Hoffmann President and Sales Coach of HomeBuilders AdvantEdge and Creating VIP’s  Copyright 2010

Think about when you go through your mail.  First, you see all the advertisements, which in my case start the throw away, stack.  Then you scan for bills and formal mailings.  I usually scan mail and sort the junk from the mail I will open.  I come across a small handwritten card and it goes on top of the pile.  I am usually anxious to open it and see who it is from and what is inside.  It’s probably a safe bet that everyone opens and reads these pieces of mail almost immediately.  Why because it’s personal and I think because small cards are usually thanking you or inviting you to something fun!

In fact, it is proven that handwritten notes and cards get opened 95% of the time.  Much higher statistics than email, postcards or letter size mailings. Handwritten notes are one of the least expensive, most effective and largely ignored marketing tools in your sales arsenal today. People who send personal notes are thought to be considerate, creative, gracious, well mannered, mindful and a “cut above the rest.”  Not a bad return on stationary, a stamp and a few minutes of writing!

Here are six powerful tips to get you kick started today!

  1. Have some a variety of personal note cards and keep a stack on your desk. Challenge yourself to write note cards every day thanking a prospect.  Make sure to market smart and mention something personal about the visit.  For instance if they had a child with them, mention you enjoyed meeting “Little Billy” and know he will enjoy playing in the community pool in your new neighborhood.
  2. Make sure to handwrite and personalize the outside of the envelope in some small way. It really helps in getting the envelope opened.  A small sticker of some sort.  A quick caricature.  I had one Agent who drew a quick dog paw on the envelope and mentioned the owner’s dog by name.  “Bring Alex with you next time; I have some treats for him!”  These small things cost nothing but a little time and will make a huge dent in your beback success rates, ultimately improving your sales rates.
  3. Do you have an idea that fills a need or an event that prospects need to know about? Send out a handful of personal notes inviting people to your event and let them know you have an idea that you believe could have something of value for them. Not everyone will take you up on your offer but the ones who do could turn out to be tomorrow’s buyer.
  4. Send birthday cards. How many birthday cards do you receive from people outside of your family? Sending a personal note on a birthday communicates that you care enough to know AND remember that person’s birthday. You may not know birthdays on your prospects but you should have them on your buyers.  Keep track of them and use it as an opportunity to spread the word about your referral program.  If they are happy buyers, they are usually happy to refer you to their family and friends.  It’s why we work so hard to make happy buyers, right.
  5. Send an article or newspaper clipping. Something of interest to them and attach a personal note. Internet search tools provide an endless supply of new and relevant information that you can quickly print and mail. Figure out what is important to your prospects by keeping notes on them from your walk through and interview.  People like to be remembered and are impressed when you remember the details they talked about.  I can guarantee this one thing…your competition isn’t doing this and you will definitely stand out.
  6. Send something to make someone smile. A funny news story, witty cartoon or amusing personal experience can help transform relationships and break down icy barriers. Does this stuff work all the time with all people? Nope, but very few things in life ever do.

Sending a handwritten note is one of the simplest and most underutilized tools in today’s fast-paced world.  Every sales professional claims that they want to be different than everyone else, so here is a great opportunity to do just that.  Commit to the new habit, find the time, make it fun and just watch the results happen in the form of new sales!

Happy Sales

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12 Responses

  1. Del Barbray says:

    Excellent article, Shirleen
    I like the idea of sending personal, hand written notes or cards to prospects, buyers, real estate agents, etc instead of an email, or a letter typed out on the computer.
    Sending a hand written note and/or card to the prospect and/or buyer is a small thing that pays big dividends. Doing this shows that you care about that person and caring for the other person helps builds a stronger relationship with them.

    Thank you for sharing your ideas today.
    You do a GREAT job.
    Del Barbray

  2. Thank you for this article. I have been hand writing personal thank you notes for nearly 20 years. I learned this in a sales training and write notes for a variety of situations. Even when I receive a “no” for a project I had bid on and did not win, I still write a card.
    Today there are many options available, from Send Out Cards to direct mail campaigns. But I generally fall back to the basics because the recipient generally feels the personal touch that a hand written/addressed card delivers.

  3. Glad you enjoyed the article Barbara!

  4. Glad you enjoyed the article Del. Thanks for your comments…

  5. Brooke Kaine says:

    Great article, Shirleen. We’re strong believers in handwritten notecards as well. Several years ago we decided to “take it up a notch” and use real wax seals and a corporate logo stamp. Just a little step in trying to create a memory hook for the customer.

    Brooke Kaine

  6. Justine Dellinger says:

    I agree, in fact I am right in the middle of doing just that. Thank you for reminding me that although my hand is beginning to cramp the end result will be my reward.


    Justine Dellinger

  7. Roy Brown says:

    Great advice there is nothing like a personal touch to keep business connections alive.
    Doesn’t hurt for family and friends either. An old reminder might be, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” Thanks

    Roy Brown

  8. Love that idea Brook. I tried that as well with great results.

    Thanks for the input.

  9. Roy,
    Thanks for the input. So glad you enjoyed the article.

  10. Thanks for the laugh Justine. Its true, our hands our out of shape due to computer keyboards.

  11. Such a great article. Thank you for your great truths. I have been sending Notes handwritten for years as part of my marketing but also as just a way to connect on a personal level with friends and family. over the past 6 years I have written notes in my real estate business and I believe it is one of the main reasons for my radical growth over the past few years. We recently started a company as the result of the lacking of good cards that were non gender specific and black for my personal message. The web site is We hope to make things much easier for people as they focus on their personal relationship.

    Thanks Again – Lionel Wilson

  12. Thanks for your post. One other thing is that if you are promoting your property yourself, one of the troubles you need to be alert to upfront is just how to deal with household inspection reports. As a FSBO retailer, the key about successfully switching your property plus saving money with real estate agent commissions is information. The more you already know, the softer your home sales effort are going to be. One area exactly where this is particularly important is reports.

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