The Value of a Handwritten Note

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ERIK BLAIS

Growing up I tended to take my dad’s advice with a grain of salt. Some words of wisdom he told me were: “Take a jacket, it will be cold tonight.” “Saving is a better choice than spending.” Last, “Always remember to change your oil every 3,000 miles.”

My thought process when it came to his great wisdom usually went something like this: “It’s annoying to carry a jacket around all night.” “The last-minute trip to Vegas will be epic.” Finally, “The new synthetic stuff needs to be changed every 10,000 miles.” This provided an opportunity for learning those lessons the hard way.  However, there is one piece of advice he gave me that I never questioned and still follow today – the value of the handwritten note.

I had just finished my grueling one on one with the store manager at Tom Thumb. I applied for the coveted position of Store Bagger and was confident I nailed it. After the interview, I remember telling my dad that the position was mine.

He explained to me I was up against ten other qualified candidates. It was important to do something that made me stand out amongst the others. My dad’s suggestion was to send the store manager a handwritten note. The note was to thank her for the potential opportunity. It shocked the store manager when she received a thank you note from the 13-year-old kid she just interviewed. I ended up getting the job (the worst job I ever had), and I like to think my handwritten note made her decision a little easier.

How a handwritten note relates to Commercial Real Estate

In a competitive commercial real estate market like Dallas-Fort Worth, there are a considerable amount of qualified brokers vying for the same business. Making an impression on a prospective client can be the difference in winning an assignment.

During my first year in the business, I met with a property owner about a leasing assignment for a 50,000 square foot office building. I spent a significant amount of time in the week leading up to the meeting preparing my pitch. Considering my limited experience I thought the meeting went well. After the meeting, I followed up with a handwritten note.

A week later the owner called and informed me he had decided to go with another firm. The property owner mentioned how impressed he was that I took the time to actually write a note. He remarked that he would keep me in mind for future opportunities.

Years after that meeting, Bradford won the leasing assignment for two office buildings totaling 175,000 square feet. A project I helped secure and lease.  This business was a referral from the owner who appreciated my hand-written note years before.

With the convenience of the smartphone, tablet, and laptop at our fingertips, anyone can follow up with an important meeting or interview with an email. Take the time to make that extra personal step and send a handwritten note. It could very well give you the edge when decision time comes.

Erik Blais joined Bradford Companies in 2011 and serves as Vice President for the firm’s Fort Worth office division, specializing in office project leasing in the Arlington, Mid-Cities, and Greater Fort Worth submarkets.

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