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The Golden Email

Today’s post on e-mail etiquette is an important one as it relates to professionalism. This is an area in which many home based consultants could use some pointers. I am pleased to welcome the author of this article, guest blogger, William Eve, who has joined us previously to discuss Network Strategies.

Email has become as ubiquitous as a phone call- no matter where you are, you almost always have access to e-mail. With that ease of access, so too has come the slack in writing etiquette. In business, any correspondence should carry with it a certain amount of propriety and style, e-mail included. Here are some tips to make sure every e-mail you send, sends with it a clear message of professionalism.

Before Writing

Before a single word is written in an e-mail, consider two things: What are you trying to say or ask, remember this will first exist as just a subject in the recipient’s inbox.

What are you trying to say? Ask yourself this question. Are you looking for an answer to a question? Is it urgent? Can it wait? Are there other people involved? Ensure that whatever you write is pertinent to what you are writing and why. Consider also that most people access their e-mails on mobile devices and have limited screen space. Having to read a multi-page e-mail can be difficult on such devices. Make it short, get to the point.

It starts as a subject. Remember- before an e-mail is opened, it exists only as a subject in the recipient’s inbox. Do not add multiple exclamation points if you feel the e-mail is important. Simple makes a better subject. If possible, sum up the entire purpose for the e-mail in the subject. Use the body of the e-mail as support information for your subject.

When Writing

When writing an e-mail, remember that this is not an instant messenger client reserved for you and your friends. This, most often, is a monitored for of communication for the business. This means that very likely, most of your e-mails are logged. Never write an e-mail you wouldn’t feel comfortable sending everybody.

Don’t send it to everybody. Too often, e-mails are blindly sent to a large group without considering who this message is really intended for. Consider who really needs this information and who doesn’t. Know the difference between CC and BCC. When it comes to e-mail, CC is usually someone that needs to be in the loop but not necessarily contribute. CC recipients are visible to everyone. BCC is reserved for people that you need to apprise of a situation- BCC recipients are invisible to everyone else.

Don’t send a wall of text. This is especially a problem when composing e-mail on a mobile device. Use line breaks, separate ideas and help the reader understand content. Don’t send 30 lines of text with no breaks in them. It’s hard to read and hard to follow.

Before Hitting Send

Too often, people finish their thought and hit send. This is not only unprofessional and irresponsible, you also then unload the burden of spelling and grammar errors onto the reader. Make sure, before you hit send, that you review these simple steps:

  • Did you ask what you needed to ask?
  • Does your subject match your body e-mail?
  • Re-read the e-mail, check for spelling errors, use spell-check if you have it.
  • If you require an answer by a certain time, did you include that?
  • Did you include important information the recipient does not already have?
  • Have you included attachments?
  • Have you included contact information?

Simply put, e-mail is best thought of as a faster business letter. Most of these rules when writing a business letter have been lost on the e-mail generation. Take your time, write something clear, concise, professional and you will be well on your way to better corporate communique.

This article was written by William from Visit HomeLoanFinder to compare home loan interest rates and find the right mortgage broker.

Hidden Start Up Costs

How much does it really cost to start a business?

“Start a business for only $99!”   Most direct sales companies require new independent consultants to purchase a starter kit when they start a business. Some business opportunity start-up kits are as cheap as $10 and they can range up to $1,000.   The average start-up kit for a direct sales business averages between $50-$300.

There are a couple of keywords to highlight. The first is “start”; as in Start a Business. It’s not realistic to expect that you can maintain and grow a thriving business for the mere cost of an initial start-up kit.   The other keyword here is “business”.   The sign up process for many direct sales companies requires the recruit to enroll online by clicking a button that reads, “Start a Business”. It doesn’t say “Join a Sorority” or “Be a Discount Member” but rather by enrolling as a representative for a particular company you are agreeing that you want to start a business as an independent consultant.

It’s important to know what other initial investments may be involved to start a business. Talk to your sponsor before you sign up.   Ask what other expenses you should anticipate. Look at the items included in the startup kit and then determine if the business supplies and products provided are truly adequate to get started. Continue reading

Are You Misleading People?

Competition is keen but intentional inaccurate headlines only hurt your credibility

If you provide information to someone that is inaccurate because you misspoke or were mistaken, I don’t think anyone would fault you for that. We’re all human and who among us hasn’t erred?

However, what if in effort to grab someone’s attention you intentionally post false information? Is that creative marketing or is that a lame excuse for keyword spamming? Make no mistake – that is an unethical business practice no matter how much you try to justify it.

For example, Scentsy recently announced that they’re making plans to open their business opportunity to residents of Germany and the UK. Launch is scheduled this Spring. U.S. residents will not be able to sell there but recruiting will be permitted. There hasn’t been much more information provided at this point because it’s still in the development stage. It is something that will most likely happen soon; but it has not happened yet.

I popped online yesterday to a public forum to read the following subject line from someone who held a senior ranking title:   “We sell Scentsy candles in the U.K & Germany.” Seems innocuous enough. Except that Scentsy doesn’t sell there. They are planning to, but they don’t presently. When the fact that her subject line was misleading was raised, the consultant responded, “Yup, I know.”

This article isn’t a passive aggressive attack on said consultant. It was just such a perfect, and timely, example of misleading marketing for personal gain. I could not have made up a better example. It’s also not directed toward this one particular offender; it doesn’t matter who did it.   I’ve seen others employ this type of keyword spamming too. Continue reading

Use Only Professional Marketing Materials

If you are a consultant with an established direct sales company, it’s highly likely that your corporate office provides professional marketing collateral, instructions, signage, forms and other tools to aid your business.   A professional image is vital to your business success.

Yet almost daily I am made of aware of consultants who want to make their own marketing collateral, instructions, signage, forms and other tools to aid their business. I don’t get it; I really don’t.   Why do so many insist on reinventing the wheel? Sure in some cases consultants need to pay for the professionally designed materials, but there are always costs associated with running a business.

Homemade materials generally look amateurish, cheesy and send a message that you’re not doing well enough to use professionally printed information.   Also, by the time you factor in your time to create it, paper and ink to print it yourself, and the costs associated with lost business due to the unprofessionalism, you’ll end up paying more than if you just used what was provided by your company. Continue reading

Taking Your Online Business Offline

Having an online business is a wonderful thing. At this point in my life I can’t imagine having it any other way. I have my internal customers – my downline team members, and also my external customers – those who order from my website. One of the key factors in maintaining an online customer base is going offline.

While email is so convenient and a great tool to manage a large organization, it’s missing a human element. The time that I save with emails allows me more time to write hand written notes. And I do write many handwritten notes almost daily. For example:

  • Thank you notes for online orders; and I mention something specific about their order so they don’t just think it is a generic note.
  • Follow up cards to customers who have not ordered in two or more months
  • Welcome to the team for new consultants
  • Continue reading