Branding Speaker, Trainer, and Coach

Stop Ghosting me! 6 Rules to Boost Your Business Etiquette Today!

Business Etiquette

I’m frustrated with the lack of business etiquette lately. Just because we can all hide behind caller ID and emails doesn’t mean we should.

  1. Have the Courage to Say No! – I am appalled that I have created proposals for prospects and on occasion, they have been met with absolute silence: no return phone call, e-mail, or contact whatsoever. Since every single company requested the proposal, I believe every professional should have the courage to turn down the work. Don’t ghost me: tell me “no.” I’m a big girl and can handle rejection; what I can’t stand is being left hanging (Trust me, I am tempted to forward this blog to a few nameless souls!). 
  2. Reward Your Referrals and Influencers – If someone nominates you, thank them. If they send you a lead, reward them immediately. Too often I hear that “I’ll reward them after I get the business.” Wrong! Sending a note and a token gift at the mere mention of your name is keeping the relationship on the right foot.
  3. Remember that E-mail is Often the Worst Communication Medium If you are trying to convey a difficult concept, approach a confrontational topic, or begin a critical conversation, email is NOT the answer. As we know, but often forget, the nuances of language, expression, tone, inflection, eye contact and body language are all lost in a flat, one dimensional e-mail. Irony and humor are also difficult. So, if in doubt, pick up the phone or better yet, schedule a meeting.
  4. Pepper Your Language with Positives – I recently just finished a first draft of an article for a client, and not one positive word or phrase was uttered. Instead, the conversation started with “there are 5 errors in your copywriting.” Of course!  I was given nothing to work from and created this copy out of clean air! Just a little, “Liz, great first effort as I know I forgot to forward you my resume or bullet points” would have been great. Just as with raising your children, giving positive feedback is as important as giving negative feedback.
  5. Return Phone Calls or Emails – Can you believe that I really have to write that statement? I have two clients that recently auditioned for a reality TV show; did they receive any feedback? No? Were their specific questions answered? No! Did they ever get a return phone call? NO! I recently just took the time to return a phone call from a local IT provider to let him know that I am not a good target. Getting me off his list allows him to focus on more viable prospects.
  6. Try a Little Honesty – I am besieged with LinkedIn requests for recommendations, but my rule is that I will not write one until I have actually worked with the person or in the case of a fellow speaker, have heard them speak. I answer them truthfully that I would be delighted to write one after we have worked together. By the same token, if a colleague has written a draft of a document and asked for my feedback, I owe them the truth. Yes, I will pepper it with positives, but I would be doing a huge disservice if I didn’t get in a little honesty too.  As I say, “sometimes, you do have to tell the parents their baby is ugly!

I’m sure all of you have your business pet peeves. Fire away and let me know!

8 Comments
  1. Hi Liz, great email. I have been saying the exact same thing about ghosting. It’s both unprofessional and disrespectful, and it has become far too common. Just say “no”. it’s OK to say that. I wondered if I was the only one who found this practice to be so disturbing. Now at least I know there are 2 of us!

    Take care and always good to hear from you!

  2. Solid advice all around. I’ve noticed that my younger clients’ first instinct when dealing with problem customers is to write an email instead of picking up a phone. I always tell them that the “tone” their customer will read the email with will depend on their mood at the time. I encourage them to pick up the phone. This has the additional benefit of resolving any issues faster.

    • Yep! And, younger folks often initiate texting which is a worse medium than email. Further, many professionals (myself included) try to avoid biz texts.

  3. LIz,

    This is SO timely. It’s called COMMON COURTESY, a skill that’s very lacking in our fast-paced world today. I ALWAYS send a hand-written thank you note and a $10 Starbucks Gift Card – just little things like that make ALL the difference between getting more referrals and not. Referrals are a HUGE part of my business in the real estate auction business, especially from Realtors.

    Keep up the great work!

  4. I’m with you. I keep a drawer full of gift cards, often opting for the cult, local coffee place, as a token thank you BEFORE I even get the biz.

  5. Liz, thanks for the reminders. Good manners are the grease that makes the machine of business run easier and more pleasantly for all concerned. It also makes ME feel better when I’ve been kind – a win:win.

  6. Great list of reminders, Liz! My favorite one is about email. Not only is all the nuance lost but sometimes the entire meaning is also lost, causing that “quick” email to devolve into 20-odd follow on messages that lead one or a group of folks down the completely wrong path. Even if email is preferred in some company cultures, it’s really important to know when to stop the madness and pick up the phone!

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