First-Time Callers and Striking The Right Tone

Doug Sutton asked in a recent entry: “Do you have any suggestions, other than the obvious, for presenting a positive first impression that relys on a telephone call, email or letter? This relates to cold calling for sales and also for getting in for a competitive career interview?”

It’s a good question. A solid reputation of credibility that precedes the call or email would be best….but if it’s truly a first impression, here are our thoughts:

  • We love it when someone inquires at the beginning of a phone call whether it’s a good time to talk. Something like: “I’m calling about X. Is this a good time for you?”
  • Fancy colors or fonts and too many exclamation points or smiley faces in emails are turn-offs. If I get an email in purple Harlow Solid Italic, I picture a guy who wears really white tennis shoes, Tommy Hilfiger crests, and maybe even an umbrella hat.
  • One of the biggest challenge in emails/letters is striking the right tone. You don’t want to be curt but you don’t want to be overly bubbly, either. You want to show enthusiasm in a sincere way – in your own style. Sometimes if you read the email outloud to yourself – or better yet, have someone else read it outloud to you – you may catch places that need rearranging or massaging.

A couple of other sources that may help answer the question are Email Etiquette: Why Is It Important? and What Are the Etiquette Rules?

Anybody else have thoughts for Doug?