Can One Hour Boost Your Personal Brand?

By Skip Lineberg

My business partner and I returned from a sales meeting late in the afternoon one recent Thursday, just prior to a three-day holiday weekend. The meeting went well. The prospective customer expressed openness toward our proposed idea. We were very pleased with her response.

She asked that we check back with her on the following Tuesday. And that’s precisely what most people would do.

At our company, we have a sacred rule about sending Thank-You notes. We always send one, and it’s always handwritten. An e-mail Thank-You note simply isn’t sufficient. It’s too easy, too convenient and too impersonal. By contrast, a handwritten note is highly personal. The recipient sees your handwriting, your greeting, your signature…and gets an impression of your personal brand. It takes time and effort. And in our experience, it creates a noticeable difference. The handwritten note communicates an important message: we care, we customize and we go the extra mile.

At four o’clock on that Thursday, it would have been easy to just call it a day. It would have been easy and commonplace to end the day by basking in the glory of a good sales call and heading home to celebrate. And that’s precisely what most would do.

Yet instead of calling it a day, hopping in our cars and tending to the handwritten Thank-You note on Friday, we stopped and thought about the opportunity and the timing. There was no doubt that we would send the note. If we sent it the next day (on Friday), our prospective customer would not receive it in the mail until Tuesday. However, if we went back to the office, wrote the note and got it out in Thursday’s mail before five o’clock, she would get it on Friday—prior to the three-day holiday weekend.

And that’s exactly what we did. We spent the extra hour…even thought it took extra time and energy…at the end of a busy day (when we were tired and hungry) to make certain that our prospective new customer received our personalized, handwritten Thank-You note the very next day (which she did).

How do you think she felt when she got her mail the next morning? I can tell you that when we spoke to her again on the following Tuesday, she responded even more positively. I contend that our incremental effort in spending the extra hour from 4:00 to 5:00 on Thursday created a strong impression. That one hour boosted my (our) personal brand and very well may lead to a sizable contract with a new client.

The importance of a Thank-You note can never be underestimated. That’s the incremental edge that is required to brand yourself as conscientious, eager and attentive. One hour can, indeed, change your personal brand!

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