I hope you got all your Christmas cards out on time …because if you didn’t, you might as well save them for next year.
At least until July.
Or anytime during the year…
You don’t need Christmas (or any holiday for that matter) to think about those people in your life that you love…also the ones you like a lot…even some that you only like a little… and finally, those folks who you feel you need to keep in touch with one way or another but don’t really know why.
In Chapter 10 of Overdeliver, Playing the Long Game, I wrote something called Christmas Cards in July.
I have shared parts of this in the past (at this time of year)–but not since the book was published–and I’ve added some additional thoughts as well this time.
The overview breaks down how you can incorporate giving all year round to everyone who is part of your life; and you can use some of the specific ideas to create some magic in your world as well.
SEND CHRISTMAS CARDS IN JULY (From Chapter 10 of Overdeliver):
When the doorbell rang early one December morning, I was reluctant to answer.
I could see a guy through the window wearing a brown suit (not one of my favorite fashion colors), but when I made out the UPS logo on his shirt and saw his matching brown truck in my driveway, I ran to open the door.
Whatever he had for me was going to be better than any e-mail or PDF I was reading or downloading.
Packages are welcome on my doorstep all year round—how about for you?
Then later in the day, I waited in a very long line at the post office behind a guy with two full shoe boxes full of Christmas cards stamped and ready to go. I thought it was kind of early for that, being the week after Thanksgiving, but I admired his preparation.
And it got me thinking.
If you are one of those people who sends cards to everyone important in your life sometime before Christmas, do you also stay in touch all year round?
Kudos to you if you do that since I believe that true contribution and connection with the most important people in your life is not a one-time-a-year thing; and I also believe it’s much more powerful when we go beyond just sending cards.
I am not anti-Christmas so please don’t call me a Grinch. But I would like you to consider a different take on all of this. Thinking you have deepened your relationships with everyone in your address book for a year simply by sending a card might be worth reconsidering.
It’s not the worst thing you can do but there are additional meaningful things you may want to try.
How many of the cards that you receive during the holidays are memorable?
Do you save them?
Do they enhance your life beyond that moment?
Do you feel the need to thank the sender for sending it to you? (That is the litmus test…read on)
The beauty of thinking about everyone in your life all year round and not having to look for an excuse (or holiday) to connect is what truly builds relationship capital.
And I will add that the lumpier the packages you send, the better—but anything is better than nothing.
E-mail is nice . . . a physical card is better . . . and something that barely fits in the mailbox is best.
Here’s a quick story to illustrate why “lumpy direct mail” is also not just for folks over 50:
I was with a client a few years ago and everyone around the table was younger than me (this happens more often these days . . . which I love). I asked the youngest person at the table (she was in her mid-20s):
“Do you own a mailbox?”
Thank goodness she said yes, because I was afraid my next question was going to be, “Do you know what a mailbox is?”
Then I asked:
“When you go to your mailbox, if there is something in it that is thicker, bulkier, and not in a traditional envelope (and addressed by hand), would you open that first when you get back inside?”
She said she actually opens stuff like that before she gets inside, way before checking her other mail . . . and way, way before she checks her e-mail or phone.
Remember,your least crowded inbox is not in your computer.
This focus group of one (which has been repeated many times) told me it’s possible that sending three-dimensional packages to the people we love most might not have a minimum age requirement.
I have since checked this out with other 20-somethings and my “advanced research” has proved the theory that they also like big packages in their mailboxes.
Lumpy packages have stuck out in crowded mailboxes for decades. They stick out even more now in less crowded mailboxes. They’re fun for all ages in all seasons. And they are especially powerful when personalized.
In addition, assuming that your customer doesn’t live in an area where parcels are routinely lifted, your package and the message will actually get delivered.
And keep in mind that the United States Postal Service is often kinder and gentler than whoever is responsible for delivering your e-mail and they will not label your physical mail as “spam”—it will almost always get delivered.
As you have learned, list segmentation rules . . . whether it’s a huge subscriber list or a smaller buyers list or a list of business VIPs…or just friends and family.
Sending thoughtful gifts and small, targeted mailings is just another form of segmented, personalized direct mail that anyone can use effectively.
The Power of Re-gifting (To Get You Started)
Believe it or not, you can make a huge impression without paying anything except the postage . . . and if you think you look like a cheapskate when you re-gift, think again.
Let me give you some examples that might inspire you to think of ways to deepen your contributions to the VIPs in your life without ever going to a store or logging onto Amazon.
Hopefully you will see in the examples below that it is always the thought (and the note) that counts and that the gift can simply be part of the guaranteed delivery system (of the thought and note).
Think “presence” over “presents” . . . but do both with your gifting and re-gifting.
Reading is fundamental. Every book you receive as a gift that you own already is a gift for someone else. It is also thoughtfulness defined, and ready for a mini direct mail campaign.
When I receive a duplicate book, I immediately think, Who in my life would this help, enhance, or create value for? And it’s the note with the book that shows how much you care and how much you were thinking about them . . . and if you need to admit it’s a “re-gift,” feel free.
In addition, if you want to do a larger mini direct mail campaign, when you find a book that would be meaningful to a few people in your universe, or one that you want to share with others because it was so meaningful for you, buy a few copies.
You can have Amazon write the gift card if you don’t want to be bothered writing the note and sending them yourself—but I suggest that you should feel bothered.
That is, it’s better if you ship all the books to yourself and hand write a note to the people you are sending the book out to—I’ve got one bookcase in my office that are my “giveaway books” (from classics to favorites to some “newbies.”)
Here’s a pic of that bookshelf:
Sugar is sweet but not for me. Re-gifting works for more than just books too. I often receive a lot of food as gifts that I don’t eat or can’t eat (e.g., sweets). I recently received something delicious from an exotic place, which was very thoughtful and the first thing I did was send a thank-you note.
I don’t have to tell you to do that of course. That’s the other side of the “litmus test” mentioned earlier (regarding cards vs. gifts).
Unfortunately, the delicacies in question were not on my diet. But I remembered a good friend of mine had just vacationed in the same exotic place, so I sent them to him with a special note saying how much he meant to me.
Promote the heroes in your life. When I was hosting one of my first mastermind meetings, I presented two (clean and new) T-shirts I’d received for supporting a wonderful volunteer organization to two of the members who sat on a hot seat during the meeting. They were asking for feedback and advice from the group, specifically about how they could add more charitable giving into their business models. These “re-gifts” were presented in public and in person (I saved on postage!) . . . and I included personal notes so I could tell each of them how much I admired their missions and commitment to giving.
The shirt was a bonus…actually a prop…for what I really wanted to tell them.
The endorphin rush. Walking to the table in my office where I pile up my gift packages every day for different people in my life may not register as exercise on my Apple Watch but every package makes someone else bigger and stronger, with care and intention. And there is no bigger achievement for me each day than figuring out how I can touch someone with something special just for them. The reason I needed to hire an assistant who could come to my house once a week (no virtual assistant in the Philippines for me for that) was precisely to take those packages to the post office. I love this kind of “direct mail”—but I don’t love standing in line at the post office.
Nothing is a throwaway. This is not about “one person’s garbage is another person’s treasure” . . . and of course, giving your unwanted goods and clothes to charity is always a good thing to do as well. But at least once a day, if I have not created a package for someone, I walk around my office or check my bookshelves or go to my storage closet and see what reminds me of who.
As the great Jay Abraham taught me (and what Chapter 10 is all about):
“Your relationship capital is the most valuable asset in your portfolio.”
And one huge way to achieve “compound interest” on that account is to touch everyone in your life in the most meaningful ways and do it whenever the mood hits you.
Or whenever you’ve got some “junk” lying around. 🙂
P.S. We have over 60 folks in Titans Xcelerator to date…and while I said I would offer the special price until we got to 50 members OR until December 31st at midnight (whichever came first)—I made an executive decision to make that a lie. At least I will admit it.
I’ve decided to offer the lowest price until December 31st anyway…what’s another couple of days?
Click here for the lowest annual price for Xcelerator, my new monthly mastermind and coaching program.
And if you get in before the New Year, that annual price is yours for as long as you stay in the program.
All of the details of what you will receive are here: https://www.briankurtz.net/xl/
P.P.S. Tomorrow many of you will receive another email from me offering Titans Xcelerator on a monthly payment plan…and here is that offer if it works better for you:
It’s still a lower price for an amazing mastermind experience (compared with the price in the New Year).
The Facebook Group is burning up…gearing up for our first call on January 9…and I hope you will jump in before the New Year and we can get you a welcome package.
P.P.P.S. And whether you join or not, thank you for being part of my online family—I will continue to share my thoughts and insights with you throughout 2020…and I wish you all a prosperous and healthy New Year!