Lawyers, Don’t Send Holiday Cards to Clients

“Why not send a traditional holiday card?”, you ask. After all, holiday cards are a staple in every lawyer’s client development toolkit.

That is precisely why lawyers should not send them:  every other lawyer is doing exactly the same thing.

When I practiced law in house for a large multinational corporation, my outside counsel from all over the world sent me standard holiday cards. So many arrived at once that they got lost in the shuffle.

To differentiate yourself during this economically challenged holiday season, look for ways that you can distinguish yourself from the crowd.  Ask yourself:

1. What can I send OTHER THAN a standard holiday card? This year, think about  sending a personal handwritten note on holiday stationary (most effective if entirely written by hand).  Small gifts can be memorable, particularly if they are non-perishable and will continue to remind the client about you. (Hint, send a plant or a unique book rather than a box of consumable chocolates.) Personalize the gift as much as possible, such as by making a donation to a charity of particular importance to the client.

2. If I send a card, how can I make it stand out? First, think about sending a New Year’s card or other unique card after the Christmas rush. (See Creatively Commemorate Holidays.) If you must send a traditional holiday card, be sure to include a personal, handwritten note tailored to the individual client, or a copy of an article that would be particularly relevant, interesting or amusing to him/her. Include an attractive bookmark or another memorable token.

3. How can I follow up after the holidays? Use the holiday gift or card as an entree to contact the client in early 2009. For example, in your accompanying handwritten note, you might invite the client to a special upcoming event–like a free educational seminar you will give in early 2009 on legal issues from the economic downturn. Promise to call them after the holidays to follow up on your invitation.

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