What Is Business Etiquette In The Digital Age?

December 11, 2014

What Is Business Etiquette In The Digital Age?

It’s a mystery to many I think. I know that things have changed over the last 50 years when it comes to what’s right and what’s wrong in the business world.

Personally, I picture a bunch of stuffy older men smoking cigars and talking shop…yes, those were the old days,

but what about nowadays? What is considered proper etiquette when it comes to business in the digital arena?

What is appropriate for a young (or old) businessperson to say or do? Do we adopt some new ideas or stick with the tried and true?

Here are a few tips on business etiquette for the digital age. A couple of these are not ‘digital’, but I like throwing touchy feel stuff in there once in while.

ANSWERING EMAILS

This is one of those things that I know people will say, “ I am so busy and I get 100 emails a day”. Give me a break! I am in business and I understand the email bombing that can go on, I do…but none of us, expect maybe Bill Gates, get 100 relevant emails from real people who are reaching out to you. If you do, it’s time to get an assistant and have THEM answer some emails for you.

To me, this is basic. I am the Director of Business Development for The Content Company, I am in sales! I speak to and send out several emails a day. I know that the emails are being opened, thank you Sidekick, so it’s not that the email isn’t making it in to the inbox. I also know that it may not be a priority to respond. Having said that, how much time could be saved if that person just sent back a quick note to say, “Got your email, thank you, and I will get to it within the next few days”, or “I got your email, but we don’t have a need for your service at the moment”. A LOT OF TIME! In all other cases, just send back a quick note to let the email sender know you got the email. It’s like when someone says ‘hello’ right to you and ignoring it…it’s just bad form.

THE CALL BACK

This one too. If you have had a call from someone a few times and they are genuine and trying to do business with you, have the courtesy to call them back. Even if you aren’t interested, it will only take a few minutes. It’s the right thing to do. It takes a lot of gumption to call in the first place so letting the person know (with respect) that you are not interested is a good way to keep that good karma flowing.

PRACTICE GRATITUDE

This one is a bit touchy feely…be grateful. Always. Conduct yourself from a place of gratitude.. You are lucky to have a position where people want to do business with you. If we start to look at things that way, all of a sudden you “feel” different about the people who are contacting you. You might be a bit more patient or calm or less agitated when that phone rings or that email pings. If you want to get really “foofy” try saying this before you start working for the day, “I am really grateful to be employed, when others may not be”, or “I am so happy and grateful that people want to do business with me”.

REFERALS 

This is an easy one. I recently had a client that I was pitching to use us for content. We are both women and hit it off pretty fast. She was incredible. Turns out she has over 15 in house content writers and didn’t need our services at the moment. So, as we kept talking, she said, “I actually have someone I can connect you with”…and do you know what happened after that? She connected me and we won that client. She didn’t have to do that, but she did and it worked out really well for us. Sometimes you don’t need what the other person is offering, but you might know someone who is…consider making that connection. ( Also, I sent her a thank you email a couple weeks later and she is now considering us for some outsourcing as well. Lesson? That little 3 sentence thank you came from a place of gratitude and it will come back to me…it’s important to be thankful). 

TEXTING

This one is just going to get a small mention. Texting is a great tool to communicate with a client when you are meeting with them and you don’t want to send emails back and forth. Where I don’t feel it’s a good use of energy is INSTEAD of emails etc. You need to also be mindful of the client who will take this as a cue that you are available 24/7. Most of the time, you won’t hear from a client through text unless it’s for the meeting scenario mentioned above, but the odd one is going to abuse it. Make sure you are giving it out to the clients you know will not take advantage! (not so small mention after all…oops)

So there you have it, some little tidbits to chew on in your daily activities.

Until next time,

Cara




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