Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas Cards for Customers - What You Should Send

I've been sending out Christmas cards to my customers for some years now. Even though it is always time consuming to do it, I actually enjoy sending them out when the holidays finally arrive. Last year, however, I did something a little different that brought some outstanding results that were unexpected. I also did not set out to do this as a strategy or to gain traction with anyone, I did this because I was truly grateful for everything I had achieved through my customers.

First off, I hand wrote a message to each customer that was tailored to them individually. I didn't write a book, but I did write 3-4 sentences. Yes - it did take time, but this isn't something most salespeople will take the time to do.

Second, I also included a picture of me, my wife, and my daughter. I also used the same picture that I sent to all my family and friends for Christmas. In other words, I didn't draw a distinction between my customers and my other personal relationships I have in my life when it came to Christmas cards.

Lastly, I also sent a card to multiple people within the same company. Anyone who I felt was involved in my sales success received a card. This was anyone from an administrative assistant to someone who used my product.

The results? Never before did I get so many comments on my Christmas cards! Nearly every customer that I sent a card to gave me a positive comment. I even had some customers bringing this up halfway through January! After getting all of this great fanfare, I reflected over the next several weeks why this happened.

Here are the three reasons I came up with for why this worked so well:

(1) The personalized & hand written message was a given - most salespeople simply won't take the time or effort to get this done. We have all been told to do this, but nobody ever does. After all, it is very time consuming.

(2) The family picture allowed my customers to see me as something different - a proud father and loving husband. This made me a real person, not just a salesperson. There is flesh & blood behind this guy we do business with after all!

(3) On top of that, a lot of the people within some of the companies I deal with probably received their first Christmas card at work. How often does a administrative assistant or blue collar worker receive a Christmas card from a salesperson? One guess - NEVER. Don't you think this will endear them a little more to your cause?

If you take the time to do this, you will deepen your business relationships. We are always looking as salespeople for opportunities to take relationships to a deep level. Don't allow this opportunity to pass you by.

Also, remember to do this because you are grateful and don't go into this Christmas card activity having an expectation for something in return. Having that attitude would also truly go to what Christmas is supposed to be all about...


Ian Brodie said...

Great post Will. As it happens I'm just about to do my client Christmas cards and I'll bear you rwise thoughts in mind.


Brad Trnavsky - Sales Management 2.0 said...

That was a GREAT post. If you dont mind I would like to add one final tip try to avoid the dry inhuman cards with pre-printed messages like: "We appreciate your business". I usually go for a simple Happy Holidays with a short personal message. -Brad

From the Author: Will Fultz said...

Thanks for the comments guys. I completely agree with you Brad that a Christmas card with a pre-printed business message is a poor way to go.

Mark Tewart said...

Good post Will,

I have been suing this technique for years. It's all about personalization. Also, consider utilizing other holidays with less postcard traffic such as Thanksgiving. You really get through the clutter there. Sendoutcards is a good source as well.

From the Author: Will Fultz said...

Thanks for the comment, Mark. I could not agree more about sending cards out during other holidays. I'll have to do a post on this in the future.