This Entrepreneur article hits on topic you may have overlooked.  What sign-off do you use for your emails?  Did you know there are different levels of etiquette?  Not kidding, there are certain formalities to consider.

An example:

The salutation: “Best”
Bates: “Best” is colloquial, but fine for someone you know. “Best wishes” or “Best regards” would be better for business.
Kerr: This is another acceptable sign-off, especially if you’re using it with someone you know really well.

That is my preferred sign-off, but I am currently rethinking it.  Here is the one I really dislike:

The salutation: “Ciao”
Bates: This isn’t for business, except for fashion, art or real Italians.
Kerr: “Ciao” should only be used for close buddies or work pals. It’s not appropriate for business purposes.

“Ciao” is far too pretentious for me, but I do see it on occasion.  The article is a quick read and I recommend you check it out…your preferred sign-off is probably listed.

Learn How We Can Help With Communication

Harvard Business Review’s Management Tip of the Day covers 7 common writing mistakes.  This may be the most helpful thing you read today:

  • Affect/Effect: Affect is a verb; effect is a noun. It affected him. The effect was startling.
  • All Right/Alright: Although alright is gaining ground, the correct choice is still all right.
  • A Lot: A lot is two words, not one. Allot means “to parcel out.”
  • Between You and I: Nope. Between you and me is the correct phrase.
  • Complement/Compliment: Things that work well together complement each other. Compliments are a form of praise.
  • Farther/Further: Farther is for physical distance; further is for metaphorical distance. How much farther? Our plan can’t go any further.
  • Lay/Lie: Subjects lie down; objects are laid down. He should lie down. Lay the reports there.

How is this for a spam approach to applicants?

You have been accepted for a high paying work from home job.

Click the link below to get all the information:

Click Here

Sincerely,

Hiring Manager

p.s. Please claim your position today or it will be given to the next applicant.

The “p.s.” line is fantastic.

This is the opening sentence from an email caught by my junk filter:

Sorry for not having the pleasure of knowing your mindset before making you this offer as it is utterly hell confidential and genuine by virtue of its nature.

“…utterly hell confidential” is a new construction for me.  This example is anecdotal – the larger issue is the prevalence of email communication in selling.  The days of cold calling are receding while initial email communication is advancing.  This fact adds another factor to successful sales hiring.

The ability to be effective on the phone will always be important in successful selling, but the email approach is replacing the cold call.  In our business, we’ve worked hard to attract interest in our services.  The attraction piece, where prospects contact us, has moved to a 50/50 phone call vs. email split.  When we started this company over 5 years ago, almost all of the initial contacts were phone calls.

Unfortunately for many salespeople, writing ability seems to be a less common skill in today’s world.  Ridiculous sentences like the one listed above are becoming more common.

Using email effectively is an absolute must in today’s business world.  It is surprising to me how much email has started to dominate the selling landscape over the past 5 years.  That being said, understanding email etiquette is vital to moving a deal through the pipeline.

Eyesonsales.com has an article that gives some good guidelines to follow in using email:

  • View email as the new prospecting tool. After you leave a voicemail, follow-up with an email, giving prospects 2 easy ways to respond. Remember, your goal is to connect with the person. Even if they respond “no”, you’ve connected and can respond to try to generate an interest.
  • Keep the sales process moving forward. Use emails to ask requirement gathering questions, get referrals, make recommendations, and provide updates.
  • Respond to all emails with action items promptly. You return phone calls within 1-24 hours. The expectation now is that you’ll return emails within 30 minutes – 12 hours. If you can’t respond completely, send an email setting expectations about when you will send a full response.
  • Think – and proof – before you send. Sometimes it’s best to draft a response, then wait 30 minutes before sending. You may choose to soften, shorten, or otherwise change your response.
  • You may need a hand-held device such as a Blackberry to keep up. Consider what tools you need to stay on top of your emails.
  • Schedule daily time on your calendar to respond to emails.

One tip I would add – Don’t treat email like a text message.  Email messages should be treated as a relatively formal means of communication – far more than a text message.  There is nothing as shockingly inappropriate as an email that reads like a text message.  Avoid this approach like the plague!