In my seminars we have always had a module on writing letters. We have since added a special section for effective e-mail. People make the mistake of using email as if it was the same as a letter or an conversation. It is not.

In both cases, I recommend getting closer to the way we speak and avoiding stiff and outdated phrases such as ‘attached herewith please find’. You don’t even need the word ‘attached’ when you send a letter. Check yourself next time you open a letter and there is an attachment. You will find you flip the letter over and at the very least, glance at the attachment, so you know it’s there.

But, I mentioned e-mail is different. First, the fact that there is an attachment is not always as obvious to the reader at the start. Secondly, too often, the attachment is not there. Speed is a double-edged sword with e-mail. All to often we hit that send button before the document has been attached.

If we’re quick, we send a follow up e-mail right away. That is not good, but it is better than the reader not acting on the e-mail or sending a note back telling us of the mistake.

The system I use for e-mail is Microsoft Outlook. If the word ‘attachment’ is in the text, it will remind me if nothing has been attached before it allows me to send. So, the word should be used with email, though the style should be changed to something like, ‘you should find attached’.

How about a similar reminder when making a collection call? It would be cool, would it not, to have a coach stop you before you hang up the telephone, ‘are you sure you want to terminate the call when you have not’:

  • Asked for the money. (This seems obvious, but many involved in receivables, do not make a clear and simple eloquent request for full payment)
  • Discovered the ROD (Reason of Delinquency). Maybe it is you, maybe it is them, but you not only want to resolve this delinquency, but future non, or slow payment
  • Negotiated effectively for as close to the full payment and today’s date as possible
  • Confirmed with a summary to the client

Search the Internet and find a picture to use for your coach. Maybe it is someone attractive or someone who looks mean and nasty (perhaps the same photo for some of you:), just ensure it is someone you’ll pay attention to, and put up just one or two reminders.

Pithy Quote of the Month: 

“Great ideas have no attachment to money or class.”
…Ian Schrager