Lets get something straight here first and foremost – I am female: I look like a woman and I sound like a woman but yet I have been called Mr. on two separate occasions recently.
The first was an e-mail following up on a booth I visited at CES – the e-mail actually mentioned how much they had enjoyed meeting me!.
The second was in a voice mail left from someone referred to me by a service provider. The person listened (but did not hear) my message and yet still called me Mr. To spare these people the embarrasment I won’t actually mention their names or company (although they probably deserve it for their blatant ignorance) but these occurrences served to remind me how important it is in business to know your customer.
What do you think the chances of me doing business with either of these companies are? I’d say somewhere less than zero. Not only did they offend me from the start but the first had the gall to blatantly lie in their communication (enjoyed meeting me indeed) – it did nothing for their credibility.
It takes nothing to pay a little attention to your customer, prospect or potential client and offending someone will be counteractive to your cause.
So next time you are planning an email or phone campaign or any marketing or sales activity for that matter, give a little thought to your audience:
1. Don’t dare to assume that the recipient is male when they could be female and vice versa. If you’re not sure if someone is male or female then its often best to avoid such a salutation.
2. If you’re not sure of the spelling of a contact’s name then omit it (you should see the collection of incorrect spellings I’ve collected over the years with a name like Mhairi).
3. If in doubt either don’t take the risk or take a little time to do some detective work to find out.
A little attention to detail can go a long way in helping you open the door to business so take heed and take time to know your audience. It will be worth your while.