I'm not your stereotypical millennial; I’m often described as an old soul. I go to bed early and get up early. I completely skipped over the 20-something bar scene. My “go big” drink is sparkling water with a lime. Nevertheless, I do fi t the millennial mold when it comes to digital. I cannot remember the last time I’ve writt en something down (other than sending handwritt en thank-you cards — I’m big on those). I take notes on my phone or computer, and sign documents online. I live by my Outlook calendar. I have an app (MobileDay) that automatically dials into my conference calls.
I’m on the board of an association. A few weeks ago, we were making a site selection for a big event in 2019. We narrowed it down to two hotels. The sales manager from one of the properties was particularly inquisitive about the selection process. She wanted to know what we wanted to accomplish with the event, our decision-making process and, much to my surprise, the personality types and interests of the board members.
Our board called each hotel to discuss pricing, location convenience, accommodations, etc. The day after our meeting, I received a package addressed to “Miss Scudder.”
I love getting packages.
Packages bring back my childhood: birthdays, Christmas, visits from Granny. Suddenly, I was a kid again. My eyes widened. My fi ngers tore through the helpless cardboard with practiced perfection. Pieces of the box and wrapping paper danced in the air. Euphoria consumed me.
The package was from Amy at B Ocean Hotel. She had sent me three gifts — all themed to the experience their resort provides. Everything was beach/oceanspecifi c and logo’d. Her handwritt en note read, “Welcome to our newly renovated oceanfront resort. How may I earn your business?”
The phone rang. It was my friend and fellow board member Beth. “Did you receive a package from Amy?”
“Yes, and I love it.” I was still feeling manic.
Beth was laughing. She told me about when she and her husband were staying at B Ocean Hotel years ago. They loved the huge stuff ed animal turtles on their bed. When she opened her package and saw the same turtle stuff ed animal, she almost cried. It brought back memories of one of her best vacations. How did Amy know about the turtle? “Twilight Zone” music played in my brain.
The moral of the story: Sending a handwritt en note (I prefer something clever or funny) and a relevant, personalized gift will set you apart from your competition.
I have started a gift campaign for my top 15 prospects. I am interviewing my clients and colleagues in hopes of fi nding the perfect gift for each prospect. Will I succeed? Will my notes seem contrived, or will they be funny and spot on? Will my prospects open their packages with unbridled joy only to be disappointed, or will their hearts be warmed? I know it’s risky. I know it’s scary. But as Niccolo Machiavelli once wrote, “Never is anything great achieved without danger.”
So, remember — the next time you are trying to get a face-to-face meeting with one of your biggest prospects, or if you are trying to close an important deal, be an old soul. Send a package.