Have you ever experienced a business situation or witnessed an event that left you thinking, “Really? You’ve got to be kidding me!” Has someone ever called you thirty minutes late, looped in a third-party to a private email conversation or said something terribly inappropriate in a business meeting? You’re not alone. We have all run into our fair share of bad business etiquette.
Most people operate with an unspoken code of behavior that delineates expectations for social behavior. While, this code may be a lost art form to some – it is deeply engrained in others. A sale, a partnership and even the long-term growth of your small business is often hinged on how well you understand the importance of business etiquette. If it’s so important then why do most entrepreneurs ignore it?
Some entrepreneurs are etiquette pros, while others live by the adage, “It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.” Whichever the case may be, we’ve asked entrepreneurs to share their woes and offer up their #1 tips to help you master etiquette in professional situations.
Here are 10 business etiquette tips to help you operate your small business successfully and confidently – without pissing people off.
#1 – Don’t Be a Social Spammer!
“Don’t go around posting your sales pitch on a company’s or individual’s Facebook wall. Social media is for connecting, but after discovering a prospective client via social media, it is then time to approach them privately and personally, not publicly. Not only will approaching them personally increase your chance of a sealing a deal, it will prevent you from looking spammy and unrespectable to onlookers.”
- Melissa Cenker, Owner at Melissa Cenker Consulting
#2 – Keep Email Short and to the Point
“Email etiquette has eluded many otherwise successful entrepreneurs. Emails should be kept short and to the point. Everyone is busy, and forcing them to sift through irrelevant information to find the point to your email is both disrespectful of their time and could result in lost business. Take the time to edit your writing after you finish it. Your recipients will thank you!”
- Marek Biernacinski, President / CEO at Edited by a Pro
#3 – Save the Sales Pitch for Later
“Don’t try to sell your services to someone from the first moment you meet them. Networking is about meeting potential connections, partners, and developing quality relationships- it is not about closing the deal at that moment.”
- Camila & Valeria Velandia, Co-Founders at Miel Sisters
#4 – Let Me Opt-in to Your Marketing List
“Entrepreneurs are often looking to grow their email marketing lists and their business contacts. Merging the two without extending your contacts an opportunity to opt out can damage your business relationship. When you meet someone and accept their business card, ask if it is okay to add them to your marketing list.”
- Tamara Clarke, Managing Partner at Eco-Exquisite
#5 – Show Some Gratitude
“Always respect the time and generosity of those who help you along the way; even something as small as a ‘Thank You’ note or gift can go far in showing your gratitude.”
- Danielle Nicole DiFerdinando, Founder at Danielle Nicole