CHRISTMAS CARD DILEMMA: You get a card; how effective is it?

  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Nov 18, 2009 8:17 PM GMT
    Its always the same story... here I've selected a number of boxes of Hallmark Christmas cards for business purposes, I have my name imprinted along with my company name for clients.

    Now when I send these cards, I still sign them in addition to the imprint and I always, always write a personal note to the client......

    Donna,
    Thanks for your financial business this year. I appreciate it. Best wishes for a great holiday season.....

    Chris

    Or some variation. I've always held (and my employees agree) that in a personal service environment like financial considerations, legal business, etc.. a personal note to your clients is always helpful and means something.

    And I can tell you at least someone will tell me how great it was to get that Christmas card......


    But is it really that important? Doing 250 cards used to be too much.. its now down to 150 (or so) of my best clients. And yes, I still send out some very nice... personal cards to friends (including several RJ members as well)

    So how do you view business Christmas cards?.. and I don't mean some
    copied bs where there isn't any personalization. Would it make an impression..... or would you just think, "Oh thats nice" and trash it?

  • creature

    Posts: 5197

    Nov 18, 2009 8:53 PM GMT
    I think they're a wonderful touch, particularly if there is a personal message from the sender. But do you really write the word "financial" on your Christmas cards to your clients? I'd change the wording. I'm sure it hasn't had a negative effect, as I bet Donna is a regular client, but something about "financial" on a Christmas card doesn't seem to work.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Nov 18, 2009 9:15 PM GMT
    jprichva saidUm, Chris?

    That's "dilemma", not "dilemna".


    Thanks Dad....

    icon_biggrin.gif
  • PaMedic

    Posts: 65

    Nov 18, 2009 9:37 PM GMT
    I always add note to the cards I send to places that support the Training Center. They all have said I am the only one that does that.

    I think it is a good touch.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 18, 2009 10:06 PM GMT
    You write "Christmas" cards but do you really mean to say more secular holiday greeting cards? A religious theme is only appropriate if you know the recipient practices a particular faith, and match the card accordingly.

    Story: one December a newly assigned Army sergeant in my office gave me a Hanukkah card. Exchanging cards among soldiers was often practiced in smaller offices, particularly if the rank spread wasn't too great, and I was still only a Major, about to make Lt. Colonel. Only problem is, I'm not Jewish.

    So I called my office manager in, a Master Sergeant, and asked out of curiosity why this other sergeant thought I was Jewish, since everyone else gave me Christmas cards. But I insisted the inquiry be made discreetly, the sergeant not be made to feel bad about it. I was grateful to receive any card, although displaying it with the other cards in my office might look odd.

    Well, I should have known better than to say anything at all, because not 2 minutes later the sergeant was outside my door asking permission to enter, coming in and saluting, standing at attention, offering his apology all nervous. I tried to put him at ease and play it down, thanking him for his card, but did ask him what made him assume I was Jewish.

    "Sir, I understand you come from New York City."

    "Well, close, just outside the City in New Jersey."

    "Yes, sir!"

    "And...?"

    "Well, you come from the New York area, sir."

    "Exactly, as I said, and so what's the connection?"

    "Well, sir, you come from that area!"

    "Ah! You're under the impression that everyone from New York is Jewish?"

    "Yes, sir!"

    I tried to keep from laughing, and explained that wasn't the case at all. He further said my uncommon last name also was unknown to him, so he thought that must be Jewish, too. He'd grown up in Arkansas, and spent his Army career in the South, where I'd lived myself about 10 years at that point at various posts, but it still surprised me to encounter such a belief.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 18, 2009 10:25 PM GMT
    I get Christmas/holiday cards from the suppliers I work with and I don't care about it at all. People write hundreds of them, sign hundreds of them and write variations of the same line dozens of times. Most holiday-card motives I get multiple times each year. Thanks, but no thanks.

    If our business relationship is good through-out the year, I value that much more.

    I stopped writing personal Christmas-cards about 20 years ago and I never missed not getting any. My (jewish) boyfriend gets more personal Christmas-cards than I do.
  • silverfox

    Posts: 3178

    Nov 18, 2009 10:25 PM GMT
    Well all I know is when I get an XMAS card and that sparkly fairy dust comes flying out all over the place I get so pissed off.

    Is this a prank you Christians play on Jews? Or do you send this stuff out to other Christians?

    icon_question.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 18, 2009 10:27 PM GMT
    Red_Vespa saidYou write "Christmas" cards but do you really mean to say more secular holiday greeting cards? A religious theme is only appropriate if you know the recipient practices a particular faith, and match the card accordingly.

    Story: one December a newly assigned Army sergeant in my office gave me a Hanukkah card. Exchanging cards among soldiers was often practiced in smaller offices, particularly if the rank spread wasn't too great, and I was still only a Major, about to make Lt. Colonel. Only problem is, I'm not Jewish.

    So I called my office manager in, a Master Sergeant, and asked out of curiosity why this other sergeant thought I was Jewish, since everyone else gave me Christmas cards. But I insisted the inquiry be made discreetly, the sergeant not be made to feel bad about it. I was grateful to receive any card, although displaying it with the other cards in my office might look odd.

    Well, I should have known better than to say anything at all, because not 2 minutes later the sergeant was outside my door asking permission to enter, coming in and saluting, standing at attention, offering his apology all nervous. I tried to put him at ease and play it down, thanking him for his card, but did ask him what made him assume I was Jewish.

    "Sir, I understand you come from New York City."

    "Well, close, just outside the City in New Jersey."

    "Yes, sir!"

    "And...?"

    "Well, you come from the New York area, sir."

    "Exactly, as I said, and so what's the connection?"

    "Well, sir, you come from that area!"

    "Ah! You're under the impression that everyone from New York is Jewish?"

    "Yes, sir!"

    I tried to keep from laughing, and explained that wasn't the case at all. He further said my uncommon last name also was unknown to him, so he thought that must be Jewish, too. He'd grown up in Arkansas, and spent his Army career in the South, where I'd lived myself about 10 years at that point at various posts, but it still surprised me to encounter such a belief.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 18, 2009 10:28 PM GMT
    Usually the Christmas cards I get express the faith of the sender, not me as the recipient.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 18, 2009 10:37 PM GMT
    G_Force saidUsually the Christmas cards I get express the faith of the sender, not me as the recipient.

    I dunno about that... a Christian should send a card with an image of a church on it, that reads "Oh, come let us adore him" to someone Jewish?
  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    Nov 18, 2009 10:54 PM GMT
    I think that the personal hand written note makes a great impression.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 18, 2009 11:12 PM GMT
    I'm not sure what business your in but I will tell you that my mother is/was a part time real estate agent who always sent out holiday cards this time of year. Personalizing those cards always brought those clients back weather it was their primary home, vacation home or commercial business. people always appreciate when someone takes the time to make them feel important rather than just another unpersonalized number.

    Ps Happy holidays......Merry X-mas

    christmas.jpg
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Nov 19, 2009 2:00 PM GMT
    I always kind of chuckle when you ask a simple question on RJ about opinions on a course of action and the kinds of responses you get.

    Understand, its a forum.....

    My cards are holiday cards and I thank my clients for their business.
    I think its a good thing and probably won't change it.... but thanks for the input. It was interesting.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 19, 2009 3:11 PM GMT
    Hillie said...my mother is/was a part time real estate agent who always sent out holiday cards this time of year. Personalizing those cards always brought those clients back...

    We have a number of friends who own real estate agencies (making for some interesting balancing acts for us, since being business rivals they're not in the same social circles). Also friends who own insurance agencies, or are in medical or legal practice, and others whose businesses depend upon maintaining a client/patient base, and friendly contact with well-known community members.

    They all send holiday greeting cards to us, plus mere acquaintances do the same, and often birthday cards, as well. I assumed that was a standard business practice, except for very large companies, and even some of them will do it selectively. And now that I think about it, my parents used to receive holiday greetings from the same sources I listed above, well over 50 years ago, many with handwritten notes just as my partner & I receive today.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 19, 2009 3:35 PM GMT
    Don't waste your time sending Christmas cards. I send out "Thank You" cards to my business clients at Thanksgiving (it IS a time to be thankful for what you've got, after all!). I get more acknowlegements than I ever did at Christmas because very few peole do it and it has more impact on the client sine it is usually not expected. You'll stand out from the crowd by doing this.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 19, 2009 4:06 PM GMT
    Hillie saidI'm not sure what business your in but I will tell you that my mother is/was a part time real estate agent who always sent out holiday cards this time of year. Personalizing those cards always brought those clients back weather it was their primary home, vacation home or commercial business. people always appreciate when someone takes the time to make them feel important rather than just another unpersonalized number.

    Ps Happy holidays......Merry X-mas

    christmas.jpg



    I keep all the cards people send me but this is one I would frame hah! icon_razz.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 19, 2009 4:10 PM GMT
    I send them out for our firm, and there's no personalization whatsoever. This years has "Seasons Greetings" on the front, and "Best Wishes In The New Year" or something cheesy like that on the inside, along with the firm name. I send out over 500 cards every year, and personalizing them would be absolutely insane for my boss'.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 19, 2009 4:19 PM GMT
    I usually send out a card to mark the new year. It is a project that I usually invest a great deal of time in. For the last several years I have gone all digital which has allowed me to produce nicer "annuals" that include photographs of the things that have happened during the preceding year.

    Since 2009 seems to be the year that people want to forget I think I will change my practice somewhat. I've already made an image that I will use for a simpler card.

    This is especially good since I keep in touch with most people via social media these days. It would just be silly to mail holiday cards from Europe to the states.

    My friends stretch basically from China all the way around to California. Sending out Christmas cards just seems silly since many people in India (for example) don't even know what the holiday is. Everyone can figure out that the Roman calendar changed years and I've yet to meet a person who takes offense at the thought of the New Year.

    In the past I have been flooded by cards and gifts from vendors who want to keep in touch with their clients. While I never thought worse of any of them, I never thought better either. The whole culture of corporate and business gift giving just seems so incredibly noxious to me.

    I am not all that liberal and I am not all that environmental, but the excess of it just seems to be in poor taste to me. When someone does bother to sit down and string together a moderately coherent sentence then that is still gratifying (ever more so).

    If you wonder if it is effective then I'd say don't do it. The only good reason to do this is because we feel genuine gratitude to the clients.

  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Nov 19, 2009 4:26 PM GMT
    spikekazoo saidDon't waste your time sending Christmas cards. I send out "Thank You" cards to my business clients at Thanksgiving (it IS a time to be thankful for what you've got, after all!). I get more acknowlegements than I ever did at Christmas because very few peole do it and it has more impact on the client sine it is usually not expected. You'll stand out from the crowd by doing this.



    Good suggestion. I did do Thanksgiving cards for about 25% of my clients one year as a way to get the ball rolling earlier. Not a bad idea honestly
    and talk about the need for thanks.