As part of our recruitment process, we ask our job applicants to prepare for us a short, handwritten letter. This is fairly ironic given we’re a tech company. I often get some inquisitive responses – why do we put these applicants through these torturous hand cramps?
It sounds silly and maybe even a little condescending, but I mostly want to see that an applicant cares enough about our opportunity to spend the time to write the letter. And it turns out, this practice is indeed a great filter – I never get more than 50% response rate and it is typically those people that are obviously excited about the opportunity and Smart Dolphins that submit the letter. Perfect! I highly recommend this practice.
So, through a cruel twist of fate, our marketing department (everyone at Smart Dolphins) has now decided that a handwritten letter would be a great direct marketing technique and I am now handwriting letters to our hand-picked “suspects” (companies that we think will be an excellent fit for us).
I wrote five today and I’m going to aim initially for 15 per month.
So first, I want to apologize to all those past job applicants that I put through this torture test. Pure cruelty.
Next, I also want to apologize to those that receive my handwritten letters (actually, hand-printed letters as I’ve totally forgotten how to hand-WRITE anymore). As hard as I try, these letters look like a six year old’s letter to Santa. Which, unfortunately for me and my hand, adds to the effect we’re looking for here: we are hoping for these letters to be noticed. Can’t miss em!
In the end, however, I am excited about this. We do struggle (as everyone does, I suppose) reaching out to new prospective customers in a way that is non-invasive, non-threatening, but in a way that gets noticed and portrays us accurately – we’re a fun, approachable and professional group. I want the limited number of companies that we approach with our sales efforts to know how much we genuinely care to explore doing business with them; we aren’t just spamming every business in the world. So, I think we might be on to something here, but we’ll see. As always, the world will decide how great this idea is as the rubber hits the road… or as the pen hits the paper, in this case.
I’ll report back in a few months… using my keyboard.
Want to see Dave in action? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlplWf0eI5Q