Firstly, as a receiver of many Christmas cards, I never really give them their due. They get a quick glance, then get placed on a shelf somewhere or hung on one of those bits of string.
If I’m honest, I do that because it feels wrong to throw them out immediately. Someone went to some trouble to send it to me so I should at least keep it for a while, right? I figure I can’t be the only one with that attitude towards Festive Cards.
Secondly, I read things into the cards I get. For example, the ones with the printed message inside and just a handwritten signature (sometimes even that is printed) tells me: This person/company sent hundreds of these out. That doesn’t mean that they don’t wish me a Merry Christmas of course, it’s more that it seems like a “tick the box” exercise rather than a personal wish. I’m not sure this helps create a stronger relationship. On the contrary, it might make them feel like “just another client”.
Thirdly, because of the reason above, I used to hand write a personal message on each Christmas card – something I knew about the client or their business. As a result of doing this 70 times, I actually damaged my writing arm and spent two years trying to get over it.
So these days I take a different view to festive wishes and no longer send Christmas cards to clients.
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Instead, I buy a gift for all the clients I’ve worked with during the year (usually a fruit hamper) and then phone them. Everyone else gets the phone call. I make about ten a day during December, and by the end of the month I’ve caught up with my entire contact list.
As an added bonus, we’ve also had a discussion about the holidays, their family and their business and have often made a commitment to catch up in the new year.
Another soloist friend suggests finding an alternative occasion to Christmas to help you stand out from the crowd. She regularly saves her best wishes for Chinese New Year.
As Christmas approaches, it’s worth spending some time thinking about why you send Christmas cards to clients and how you go about it. The personal touch always wins in my book.
This article comes with a humble apology to any reader who may have, at one time or other, sent or considered sending me a Christmas card. I’d probably love to talk to you though – give me a call!