“Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words”
– Mark Twain.

My recent blogs regarding e-mail and selling created quite a stir with my readers. Apparently, e-mail is a very thorny issue for many sales people. Sales people are increasingly forced to sell through e-mails since many customers seem to hide behind their PCs. Writing effective e-mails is hard work and there is also confusion about when to e-mail and when to call (or leave a voice mail).

Here are a few more recommendations and comments about e-mail from my readers:

– E-mail is best for messages that are positive or neutral. If the message is negative, it is best to call them on the phone .
– Use subject lines that are concise and to the point; avoid teasing the reader.
– Avoid the use of any spam like words such as “free”, “discount”, “Viagra”, etc in your subject line. since your e-mail won’t get through the spam filters.
– Keep your e-mails short (one screen length) since people don’t have the time to read long e-mails (they will just get deleted).
– Limit them to one subject only; this allows the reader to pass the e-mail on if necessary.
– Break up the body of your e-mail with short paragraphs or bullets; help people find your important points.
– Never send an e-mail when you are angry; put it aside and review it later.
– Read your e-mails aloud before sending to insure that they read the way that you intended.
– Limit your CCs to people who really need to read your e-mail.
– Don’t write anything in an e-mail that you wouldn’t put up a billboard; e-mails can be easily forwarded without your knowledge.
– Save all your e-mails; don’t delete them. E-mails should be saved for seven years just like tax records.
– Beware of e-mail strings that get forwarded; some people will go back and read everything (you may not want them to do that).
– Don’t be sarcastic or joke around since the humor could get lost in translation.
– Always say thank you and be friendly in your e-mails; it is easy for e-mails to seem curt or angry or rude.
– At the end of every e-mail, include your contact information.
– Don’t assume that they kept your last e-mail.

Know and comply with your company e-mail policies; more and more employers are writing e-mail policies that are increasingly restrictive. According to a survey by Proofpoint, 40% of large companies staff employees to read other people’s e-mails in a search for violations to their e-mail policies. Big brother is watching.

P.S. Always include a postscript since everyone reads it!

John Bradley Jackson
© Copyright 2006 All rights reserved.
Please visit my website at www.firstbestordifferent.com

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  1. Greg Wallace

    What’s the thinking behind saving emails for seven years?

  2. The legal community is divided on this issue, as are the courts.

    Company’s have been criticized as irresponsible for not keeping e-mail records when under investigation——-suppression of evidence in some cases.

    A general rule of thumb for tax purposes is to keep tax records for seven years, so this thinking is extended to companies and their emails.

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