Take a look at what I got in the mail…
At first, I was speechless. Then came a flood of thoughts.
“What in the WORLD was this person thinking sending this note in this condition?”
(The envelope it came in was worse.)
“Did he really think this was going to entice me to take his call?”
“How was he NOT properly trained on his correspondence skills?”
“How old is this guy?”
(Even my eleven-year-old can write better than this.)
“Does his company know he mailed this letter?”
I don’t have all the answers to these questions, but I do know it reflected badly on him and his company’s brand. Sadly, in this day and age, I’m seeing a similar lack of professionalism with many businesses.
Not to sound like an old fogie, but by the time I got to middle school, I had already learned how to write a proper letter and how to address an envelope. In high school (and college), I learned how to put together our cover letter and resume.
Nowadays, I’m lucky if I get a cover letter with the resume. And often, they come with glaring errors and an unprofessional tone. I received one resume that looked like it had been crushed into a ball, and then scanned as an email attachment with a hand-scribbled note at the top — complete with fingerprint smudges. How can anyone take you seriously if you don’t take yourself and your actions seriously?
I’ve seen people dressed inappropriately — whether for an interview, business meeting, or a special event. I’m all for individuality, but how you dress, groom and present yourself speaks volumes about you and the company you represent.
I’ve met people who seem confident at first glance but had the handshake of a fish. It’s amazing how the smallest things can alter your perception of someone in less than a millisecond. But when you’re looking for people who are the face of your company, you have a right to be selective.
Where has the training gone? Growing up, my elders taught me to greet people with a smile, speak in clear succinct words, exhibit proper manners, maintain correct posture, and extend a firm handshake while looking the person in the eye. (Yes – gasp – in the eye!) Eye contact shows confidence and sincerity.
It’s important to review your company standards…from your stationery, your emails, your collateral, your correspondence skills, all the way to your website. Your employees should be properly trained to represent your brand.
Look at it from the buyers’ perspective. Do you see areas where you could improve professionalism in your business?
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Debbie MacKenzie is a 1991 graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) where she majored in graphic arts production management. Deb cut her professional teeth managing production and customer relations at major printing companies before coming to Schubert b2b 14 years ago. Debbie's a versatile big hitter overseeing all things financial and operational.