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The Magnitude of E-Mail Attitude...
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  • The Magnitude of E-Mail Attitude!
    By Charlene Rashkow, Writing Stylist Copyright2002

  • Wanting to have a successful business is something we each hope to achieve and most of us do all the things we believe will get us there. But we often forget that having a product or service to sell is not nearly as important as the way we sell it. In essence it's really all about how we sell ourselves.

    As a smart professional, you've done your homework, found the perfect product to promote, built a web site, hired a writer, paid for search engine submission, and asked for reviews of your site. And now you're ready to reap the benefits of the Internet. But wait, there's another thing to consider.

    One of the primary ways we sell ourselves is through our communication. With an online business we mostly communicate via e-mail, which means at the mere click of a button, we are able to transmit a message to someone anywhere in the world. Yet many people misuse this medium. I don't know where or how people got the idea that e-mail was meant to be cryptic, curt and blunt, but when sending an e-mail message, whether to inquire or respond, a message should be written with professionalism.

    While the World Wide Web has given us an opportunity to conduct business with people everywhere, how we relate to our customers is crucial to the success of a business. Our response time, our approach to our potential customers and our attitude, particularly via e-mail, makes a huge difference to how people respond to your service or product.

    Recently someone wrote to thank me for my quick response to his message. He was actually shocked that I had responded within a relatively brief span of time, something he said rarely happens. It was even more surprising to him because he wasn't a paying customer. He simply wanted me to review his site. Perhaps it is because I earn my living as a writer or simply because I believe that the best way to do business is to treat people with courtesy, but for me there is no other way than to respond promptly.

    Personally, I find it a complete turn off when someone takes days to respond to my inquiry or sends me a curt message without even including my name. To me that spells lack of interest. The tool we have within our grasp is phenomenal, which means it should be used with courtesy and respect.

    My rules of thumb for e-mail communication:

    Write your e-mail as if you are actually speaking to a person because that's exactly what you're doing.

    Brevity is of course important but curt and choppy lacks class.

    Use salutations; if you don't know the name of the person write "Dear Ladies and Gentlemen" or "Dear Sir and Madam."

    Despite how busy you are, take the time to present yourself professionally. Respond quickly to anyone who expresses an interest in your business at whatever level.

    If you can't get to the project immediately, at least let the person know you are in receipt of their e-mail and are interested in their project. Above all, responding several days after receiving a message does not give the impression that you are very busy; it works in reverse and makes the other party think you are not interested.

    Before anything else, you are always selling and representing yourself. People generally do business with people they feel comfortable with, therefore if a potential customer likes your approach your chances are far greater that you'll get their business. Proper etiquette is a code of behavior that never goes out of style. Remember you can have the most professional sales pitch or an incredibly breathtaking web site but if you aren't sending professional e-mail communication, you're missing a key ingredient to a successful online business. The magnitude of e-mail attitude is greater than you think!

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