Communicating with Your Customers

Perhaps English wasn't your favourite subject at school, but when it comes to being a professional, incorporating good grammar, proper spelling, and punctuation in your communications portrays you as a pro. Before writing this book, even we hooked up with some grammar and punctuation sites to brush up on our writing skills. (Okay, we also have brilliant editors covering up our transgressions . . .)

Throughout the rest of this section, we provide some examples of effective e-mails. Study these examples and also check out a few books on business letter writing (for example, Writing Business Letters For Dummies, by Sheryl Lindsell-Roberts and published by Wiley). Don't forget good manners either. You don't want to be too formal, but you do want to be personable and polite.

The initial inquiry

The first written communication you have with a prospective buyer is called an inquiry e-mail. A bidder can ask you a question about your item by clicking the Ask the seller a question link on the auction or sale page, which automatically generates an e-mail addressed to you. Often these questions are brief.

On average, about 20 per cent of inquiries to sellers don't get a response. We refuse to do business with someone who can't be bothered to respond to a simple question. Often responses are terse, brusquely written notes. Many people choose not to use punctuation or capitalisation in their e-mails - not very professional! Sellers who want our money must take the time to write a short, considerate reply that includes a greeting and a thank you for writing.

Respond quickly, clearly, and politely - including in the text a discreet sales pitch. Remind the soon-to-be bidder that you can combine several wins to save on shipping costs. Use this opportunity to point out other auctions you have that may also interest the writer - they'll be impressed by your customer service.

The letter can be brief and straightforward; for example, the following note was written in response to a question regarding the condition of an aluminium Christmas tree in a recent auction:

Hello,

Yes, the aluminium Christmas tree in my auction is in excellent condition. The 58 branches are full and lush and will look great for the holidays. Please write again if you have any more questions or concerns.

Don't forget to check my other auctions for a colour wheel and a revolving tree turner. They would look great with this tree, and I can combine them for shipping.

Thank you for writing, Marsha

www.coolebaytools.com

Isn't that response nice? The note addresses the question in a respectful and personable manner. Writing an answer like this doesn't take long, and it could make the difference between a sale and a no-sale.

Also, inserting your Web site or eBay store address in your e-mail signature is a great way to get new customers to view your other merchandise (see above).

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Business Correspondence

Business Correspondence

24 chapters on preparing to write the letter and finding the proper viewpoint how to open the letter, present the proposition convincingly, make an effective close how to acquire a forceful style and inject originality how to adapt selling appeal to different prospects and get orders by letter proved principles and practical schemes illustrated by extracts from 217 actual letter.

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