The fact is you have one chance to make a great first impression when you initiate first contact via e-mail. The same applies off-line. When you meet someone they have a limited amount of time and opportunity to make an impression. (Or to override your preconceived perception.)
This happens based on what the person looks like, smells like, eye contact and body language. These things all contribute to determining your perception which as we know can be wrong. We’ve all experienced incorrect first impressions. After meeting and talking to the person you realize they aren’t at all what you assumed!
Think about your business e-mail for a moment. There is no eye contact or body language. You don’t get to “see” the person on the other side of the screen to make any further determinations. The only “sense” you have to form an impression are the words in the e-mail, how those words are used and structured.
Omissions can lend to misunderstandings. Overcompensating can lead to incorrect assumptions about who you are and will be like to do business with. It behooves you to do your best to control your message to get the results and make the impression you desire. How can you do that?
3 Common Sense First Contact Tips for Business E-mail
While these 3 steps are common sense, I am surprised how many who contact me for the first time do not include these basic-basics.
- Search a site first for the info you seek and make the effort to see if there is a contact name to address personally. Don’t just jump for the contact link! E-mailing for information that is already on a site or covered in detail makes you appear lazy. This approach also creates the impression that your time is more valuable than the person you are contacting. Using a generic greeting certainly is not personal or impressive when contact names are in fact noted.
- Spell check your e-mail thoroughly to ensure there are no typos. Twice. Don’t just rely on your spell check — read your e-mail out loud to make sure the proper intent and tone are what you want to relay.
- Include all the necessary details and information needed by the other side to respond to your inquiry. Then close with a courteous and professional sign off.
The above tips are at the very least what you should consider in your first contact business e-mails. That is if you want to be taken seriously. Doing so will exponentially increase your chances of receiving the response you would like.
By getting in the habit of implementing these 3 little steps you can count on building strong relationships, allies, partnerships — and opportunity!