Communicating effectively with prospects is often dependent on your ability to make an impact in a short amount of time and space–often through written communication. Whether it’s written, face-to-face or through email, many clients will respond better to personalized correspondence and the feeling of a trustworthy professional relationship.

To Bill Getch, president of Professional Services PR in Atlanta, Georgia, your correspondence IQ is essential to making a good impression: “Effective correspondence with prospects demands three things: credibility, personalization, and consistency. You are looking to develop a relationship.” Getch suggests a three-step approach to achieve this result:

1. Mail or forward relevant articles. Besides illustrating credibility, “Sending a helpful article has the feeling of personalization…Fill your heart and your head with this thought: ‘I’m here to educate and help this person.’”

2. Include a handwritten note or personalized message. “You want to personalize as much as possible. Get a yellow legal pad with the words ‘Thought you’d be interested in this article’ on the top line.” If forwarding the article through email, consider making a specific mention to the client’s interests to let them know that their concerns, concern you.

3. Pick up the phone. “You will have warmed up the prospect by thoughtfully giving him something for free (helpful, selfless information). Now he’s ready to hear your offering.” Break the ice by mentioning the article and discussing relevant points. If dealing with a technologically savvy client, consider utilizing Skype or video conferencing for a more personalized approach.

Think this approach can’t be used on a large scale? Think again. Gather relevant articles easily by updating keyword searches in news banks. Keep a list of common keywords for clients handy and spend 20-30 minutes a week collecting articles. Draft a personalized form letter with the article’s main points highlighted and tied into common issues for your clients. As Getch says, “You can do this whether you’re pursuing 10 prospects or 1,000.”