Mays Business School
Venture Voices

A Lasting Impression: Handwritten

Posted on September 18, 2012
Christine Hollinden '87
Principal at Hollinden| Strategy. Marketing. Branding
Blog: Marketing Straight Talk
Growing up in a family of six kids, Christine Hollinden ‘87, CPSM knew how to stand out at an early age. As founding principal of the Hollinden, a strategic marketing consulting firm, she’s passionate about helping service-based companies distinguish themselves from the pack. Her energetic and forward-thinking approach has earned her industry recognition and status as a sought-after speaker on marketing topics. She’s been a tireless advocate of CNVE, serving on the Advisory Council since its inception. When not helping firms align their market position to generate leads, Christine enjoys building her skills on the fairways and greens. On the course or in the conference room, this Aggie is one tough strategist.

You may have read about National Card and Letter Writing month that is sweeping, of all places, Facebook. While the “official” month was actually April, the concept continues to make the rounds on social media. Some people have made a huge commitment – writing one letter or postcard each day for an entire month. That’s 30 handwritten notes! But, it’s not the concept of writing a letter or postcard that attracted me to National Card and Letter Writing month. I grew up in the small town of Lolita, Texas where my father was Postmaster. Writing letters was part of our household. It was more than just a stroll down memory lane that caught my attention. The concept of National Card and Letter Writing month made me pause because it reminded me about how we’ve lost art of acknowledging others. We all like to be recognized. When I read about Card and Letter Writing Month, I immediately started thinking about the impact it would have if hundreds of people took the time to write just one or two letters a month.

We live in a world of instant. With email, voice mail, IM, and social media, we can communicate in a matter of milliseconds. I don’t know about you, but I get a LOT of email. As much as we try, email is just impersonal, but a handwritten letter or note . . . well, that’s something special.

Sure, every part of “snail mail” (my father would be horrified to hear it called that), takes a little longer. A handwritten note is different and unexpected and, consequently, it creates a lasting impression. It’s sad to think that something so minor as a handwritten note can have such a huge impact when we’ve worked so hard on our businesses. It is also quite sad to think that we have gotten so busy that we can no longer find two minutes to say ‘thanks’ in a meaningful way.

I don’t think we need to wait for national anything month to leave a lasting impression and create every competitive advantage possible. Writing a note can help you stand out from the competition. How important is it that your clients and prospects remember you and your business? If you are in a highly competitive market, and who isn’t these days, taking the time to make a lasting impression could be the difference between winning the deal or losing it.

I challenge you to stand out from the crowd. Write a note of thanks to your clients, referral sources, mentors, business associates, and professors. Tell the people who have purchased, guided, listened, pushed, supported or or just believed in you that you appreciate them. Don’t let this go on the ‘list,’ write a note right now. If only half of the people reading this post took two minutes to write a note, think of the impact it’d have.

Can’t find the words? Try this . . . “Thanks.”

One powerful word. One lasting impression.

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