In 2005 I decided to become a woman certified business. Of course, I was dreading the process of dealing with the NYC government. The small business administration offered a free course to help with the application process so I signed up. What did I have to lose? I was expecting to be overwhelmed. To my surprise, the instructor made it a pleasant experience. He walked us through the document and clearly and simply explained the requirements. I was impressed by the ease of the process.
I decided to write a thank you note to the instructor for making the experience simple.
A couple of days later I received a phone call. It was from the instructor. He thanked me profusely. He was so grateful for my handwritten note. The way he was carrying on you would have thought he'd won the lottery. (Obviously, city workers aren't accustomed to praise.) He called to say that there was an event for newly certified businesses. Although I was not certified, he asked his boss if I could attend and she said yes. It was at that event that I met his boss. When she learned that I train speakers she said she needed my help. A short time later, she paid me $5000 for my business. I bypassed the proposal process and was hired directly. If I hadn't written that thank you note I wouldn't have met the decision-maker. That one thank you note resulted in $5000. Not bad ROI for 10 minutes of my time!
I still write thank you notes. But I also discovered an online tool that will allow me to send physical cards with my actual signature to build relationships and market my business anywhere in the world. If you'd like to see for yourself, visit http://www.creativefollowup.com