A little something you can do to seperate yourself from other contractors.

It's not too often that something outside of work reminds me of a trade-show seminar. But I recently received a card in the mail that did just that.

It was from a real estate agent, wishing me a happy Thanksgiving. The card was in a better-than-average envelope, with my name and address handwritten on it. It didn't look like a typical real estate come-on, and I'm sure that was the idea. I certainly don't do more than glance at most unsolicited correspondence.

That was the only Thanksgiving card I received from anybody, which made it memorable, even though I'm not in the market for a new house.

I'm sure that was the idea, too. Instead of being one of the many of people who send me a Christmas card annually, this agent stands out. He's hoping that when I am ready to move, I'll remember him.

Sending business associates and customers Thanksgiving cards may work for HVAC contractors and wholesalers as well.

Howard E. Hyden thinks so. Hyden is president of the Colorado Springs, Colo.-based Center for Customer Focus. At his seminar during October's Heating, Airconditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International convention in Chicago, he recommended that HVAC wholesalers send out the atypical holiday cards.

Originally, I must say I thought the idea sounded funny. But now after receiving such a card, I think it's a great idea. I can't remember all the people who sent me a Christmas card last year, but you can bet I'll remember that Realtor for some time.

And I'm sure many other recipients of Thanksgiving cards feel the same way.

Travel

This will be an uncharacteristically quiet month for me, since the AHR Expo takes place in February this year. However, I will be heading to the Jan. 13-16 International Builders Show in Orlando, Fla. This massive trade show will be a first for me. But it looks to have a packed seminar schedule, and hopefully I'll find some interesting things to report on in future issues.

BNP Media, SNIPS' parent company, will have a booth at the trade show. I won't be there all the time, but if you're going to Orlando, please stop by. If I'm not there, leave a card and I'll try to get in touch with you.

On a different subject, I recently received a question from reader Andrew Marks of Phoenix-based Ducts Inc. He asked for the best way - or any way - to sharpen bench snips. I didn't have an answer, but I know we have a lot of readers who use them. Readers, write and let me know how you handle this problem. Send your solutions to SNIPS magazine, BNP Media, 2401 W. Big Beaver Road, Suite 700, Troy, MI 48084. You can also send an e-mail to mcconnellm@bnpmedia.com. Please include your name, your company's name, address and phone number. Reponses may be published in a future issue.