We received an email from Dean Cycon of Dean’s Beans recently, the company that sells organic, fair trade coffee. It was about their Smooth Transitions-Free Coffee for a Friend in Need program. The letter was brief, but profound. This is what it said:
I must tell you that we are doing well here at Dean’s Beans during this rough economic time, and we want to count our blessings. So we would like to send a free pound of coffee to someone you know, family, friend or loved one, who is going through a hard time due to the economy, to help smooth the transition. This may seem a little off the wall, and I hope that you take this in the spirit it is given (not just a chance to give your rich brother-in-law some free coffee). So here is the deal:
Send me an email. Let me know the name and full address of your friend in need, and maybe tell me what happened (downsized, fired, business went down) if you feel okay letting me in on that. Then tell me what coffee you think he or she would like and if it should be ground or whole bean. We will send the coffee, no charge for coffee or shipping, with a little note that says someone you know cares about you. I am thinking it will be anonymous, but if you want your name, we will add that, too.
No marketing material, no gimmicks, just a little give back to some friends in need.
Chicken skin, huh?! There are a few things to learn from this, besides the charitable example the company is setting in these tough economic times. Notice that the email came directly from Dean’s Bean Founder Dean Cycon himself, and notice the message’s tone. It’s friendly, straightforward, and heartfelt. So often those of us in the business community translate “professional” into being cold and staid. It’s not the case here. In fact, the opposite is what will help us communicate evermore effectively. Make it personal and keep it warm. That’s how you’ll make customers, clients and people in general love and want to do business with you.