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View Full Version : Tip Of The Day - 9/23/05 - Addressing Mail


Sean Adams
09-23-2005, 04:42 PM
Just a little something...

Make sure when you are addressing mail - letters, invoices, etc... - you address them properly

should not be John Smith.... should be Mr. John Smith

or

should not be John & Mary Smith... should be Mr. & Mrs. John Smith

if it is a woman only, it should be addresses "Ms." if you are unsure of her marital status

and of course, if someone is a doctor or has a doctorate, it should be...

Dr. John Smith or Dr. & Mrs. John Smith

little things like this show your professionalism and show you care

Critical Care
09-26-2005, 06:44 PM
I was thinking about this tip for a while but began to feel that in some cases this professional style of addressing someone may not be appropriate.

By addressing an individual as Mr., Ms., or whatever, you have implied that your relationship with the person is professional. Yes, this may be good, but if you've maintained a close friendship with a client, the person may feel as if their friendship has been belittled. I dare to say that people are different, and we build different types of relationships with people. I'm sure that when Sean's mother writes him she doesn't address the envelope as Mr. Sean Adams...

Sean's tip is protocol, but most of my clients call me by my first name, and I by theirs. I even know their dogs names...

yrdandgardenhandyman
09-26-2005, 08:33 PM
I was thinking about this tip for a while but began to feel that in some cases this professional style of addressing someone may not be appropriate.

By addressing an individual as Mr., Ms., or whatever, you have implied that your relationship with the person is professional. Yes, this may be good, but if you've maintained a close friendship with a client, the person may feel as if their friendship has been belittled. I dare to say that people are different, and we build different types of relationships with people. I'm sure that when Sean's mother writes him she doesn't address the envelope as Mr. Sean Adams...

Sean's tip is protocol, but most of my clients call me by my first name, and I by theirs. I even know their dogs names...



What if you hate most of your customers? :gunsfirin

Sean Adams
09-26-2005, 08:43 PM
Truthfully... She does address them as "Mr. & Mrs. Sean Adams"

It is not just proper, it is a sign of respect

olderthandirt
09-26-2005, 08:52 PM
Customers as friends makes for loss of both in due time. Business is business and should be kept in a professional atmosphere. Otherwise the "friend" start expecting small favors from there friends for free. Nothing wrong with talking one on one and using first names but thats as far as I will take it. I don't want customers getting the wrong impression.

DLS1
09-26-2005, 08:58 PM
Customers as friends makes for loss of both in due time. Business is business and should be kept in a professional atmosphere. Otherwise the "friend" start expecting small favors from there friends for free. Nothing wrong with talking one on one and using first names but thats as far as I will take it. I don't want customers getting the wrong impression.

Not sure what everyone's definition of a friend is for a customer but you can always tell them that would be an extra charge. On the flip side the more you are friend/friendly the more they will probably stick with you when their is a price increase or someone offers to cut the yard cheaper than you.

Critical Care
09-27-2005, 03:06 AM
First of all I don’t hate most of my customers, and secondly I don’t hate any of them.

I’ve found that if I do favors for friends, then they reciprocate and help me out. A number of personal friends have become clients, and yet business is still performed professionally. A number of clients have become friends, and yet business is still performed professionally. It works fine for me, and yes, I bet that we all can agree that friends are less likely to drop you for a scrub than some other client who is “less than a friend”.

We can give all clients respect, but perhaps with some we can treat as friends, and address as friends.

By the way, here’s a note I got in the mail yesterday from a client. Note that she signs it with her first name only, but at any rate the note made my day.

Runner
10-02-2005, 01:35 AM
call it non-professional if you wish, but I'm on first name basis with alot of my customers. They love when they come out in the yard and you can say "Hi, Bob!" or "Hey, Charles!" the women like it too (not being called Bob or Charles)lol, but the more personable approach.

Critical Care
10-02-2005, 11:22 AM
I'm up in years and probably the elder to many people here on Lawnsite, but as a kid growing up through high school I usually addressed my elders by Mister or Misses. Maybe that was a "respect for your elders" type of thing, and the axiom that "children should be seen and not heard" made it much like how we would address God today as grownups.

Nevertheless, umm Mr. Sean Adams the third or forth, If Donald Trump was my client your tip for the day would hold true and I would refer to him as Mr. Trump, however I'd surely rather be on a first name basis with him. My question to you, would you rather have Mr. Trump address you as Sean or Mr. Adams? Interesting thought, eh?

Sean Adams
10-02-2005, 11:52 AM
I think there is a slight misunderstanding here....addressing people personally is different than addressing their mail...my best friend of 20+ years - well I call him a lot of things (ha,ha) but when he receives something in the mail from me it is

"Mr. & Mrs. Michael J. Donovan, Sr."

And Donald Trump, well, he would have to refer to me as "The Sean" since I would call him "The Donald"...

PurpHaze
10-02-2005, 12:08 PM
I'm up in years and probably the elder to many people here on Lawnsite, but as a kid growing up through high school I usually addressed my elders by Mister or Misses. Maybe that was a "respect for your elders" type of thing, and the axiom that "children should be seen and not heard" made it much like how we would address God today as grownups.


I'm probably of the same environment where we addressed adults this way out of training from our parents and as a sign of respect.

"Gee Mrs. Cleaver... you're looking mighty swell today." :p

Mickhippy
10-02-2005, 12:09 PM
While on holidays in Hawaii last year, I was at a bar and got to talking to some guy. His kids came over and said basically, "yes Sir, No Sir"! I found this a little off putting! He said it was a respect thing and thats how he likes it!
I shrugged it off because of the different cultures but I would much rather be called Dad than Sir!

The only time I ever called anyone Sir or Miss was as a kid at school with the teachers or Mr and Mrs neighbour or friends parents!

Now that Im an adult, I will never call anyone Sir/Madam/Mr or Mrs again because it makes me out to be the lesser, not their equal! I dont care how much money they have!

Respect goes both ways!

Mickhippy
10-02-2005, 12:21 PM
Missed out on the edit but...
If I got a call from Donald Trump, I would call him Donald but more than likely Don, on the second call! Frankley, I dont care if someones rich or poor, they have a name and I'll talk to them using that. I look up to knowone!

yrdandgardenhandyman
10-02-2005, 01:04 PM
Missed out on the edit but...
If I got a call from Donald Trump, I would call him Donald but more than likely Don, on the second call! Frankley, I dont care if someones rich or poor, they have a name and I'll talk to them using that. I look up to knowone!



I guess we should handle it on a case by case basis. Some customers are very outgoing and friendly and like to feel like they have a personal relationship with their service people. Others have the attitude that their service people are there to do just that. Service them. They want to feel like they can lord over you and want only a business relationship. That's ok too, as far as I am concerned. As long as they pay me I don't care if they are my pals or not. We're not in this biz to make friends.
Actually, I prefer to have as little contact as possible with the client. Cuts down on the time wasting chit chat.
Correspondence is a different story. Always be as proper and polite as possible. After all, money really is the point isn't it? You can get an idea of what the client wants from you, in the form of respect, pretty quickly.

PurpHaze
10-02-2005, 01:10 PM
YGHM Services

Schwinn tricycle
11" Tonka push mower
Wal Mart Scissors


ROFLMAO!!!!!! :D

Critical Care
10-02-2005, 02:17 PM
Shouldn't the way that you address your mail to a client be the same as how you address them verbally in person?

I see Hayes that you know about Eddie Haskell, or should it be Mr. Haskell? And... if I remember correctly on the Apprentice television show Donald Trump calls the apprentices by their first name, but they call him "Mr. Trump".

yrdandgardenhandyman
10-02-2005, 07:40 PM
Shouldn't the way that you address your mail to a client be the same as how you address them verbally in person?



No. I always am very formal in any written correspondence with a client. Anything in writing to them is always business. It's not the same as sitting around the kitchen table sucking down brewskis.

Soupy
10-04-2005, 12:49 AM
This is a good topic. I am ashamed to admit I never could figure out how to address the many widowed old ladies that I have for customers. I'm not sure if I should Use Mrs. or Ms. or Miss. On envelopes I don't mind, but when writing them a letter I would like to use "Dear Mrs.......... whoever, instead of Dear whoever". Then you have the ones you don't really know their marital status. I just know who signed the dotted line and who gets the responsibility of paying me. All personal bills that I receive are addressed to me with no Mr. and Mrs.

Also I cut for a Judge which is a close customers because he has been with me from the old days, and even volunteered to come to my house and marry me and my wife when he heard I didn't want a big wedding. He found this out when my wife and I ran into him and his wife at a restaurant and he insisted we joined them. We enjoy cocktails and conversation and after awhile his wife looked at me and said, Ken when are you going to marry this women. Anyway, that's how it happened and he did come to my house for a private ceremony then we had a small reception with friends and family. Now that you know my background with this customer, should I be calling him Judge, Lloyd? Or your Honor? He invites us to a yearly barbecue they have too, but we never attend, I just think it would seem odd the lawn care guy mixing with Judges and lawyers (all his family are in law). I'm probably passing up on a huge opportunity by not attending.

Critical Care
10-04-2005, 11:51 PM
Soupy, you should go to one of those barbecues that your judge friend has, and then listen how other people address him. I bet if they're his good friends, then they would say something like, "Hey Lloyd!" But, if they're at the barbecue just to brown nose, then they might say "Judge".

And you know, Soup, you said something that epitomizes the reason why in the eyes of so many people our service will never be anything of great value. Why shouldn’t the lawn care guy be mixing with judges and lawyers, umm, unless if – har har - its for your own protection? Are you a professional businessman, or just a lawn care guy? If you’re a professional at the little ol’ ladies house, you’ll still be a professional at the judge’s house. Right?

Soupy
10-05-2005, 01:54 AM
Soupy, you should go to one of those barbecues that your judge friend has, and then listen how other people address him. I bet if they're his good friends, then they would say something like, "Hey Lloyd!" But, if they're at the barbecue just to brown nose, then they might say "Judge".

And you know, Soup, you said something that epitomizes the reason why in the eyes of so many people our service will never be anything of great value. Why shouldn’t the lawn care guy be mixing with judges and lawyers, umm, unless if – har har - its for your own protection? Are you a professional businessman, or just a lawn care guy? If you’re a professional at the little ol’ ladies house, you’ll still be a professional at the judge’s house. Right?

I didn't mean it the way it sounded. I meant it would seem odd as the lawn guy (not a good friend, co-worker, or family). Yea, I totally worded that wrong. Yes I am a professional business man and I suspect that is why I get treated like one. Now if a customer was having a party for his vendors then I wouldn't have a problem attending. By the way I mingle out in public with all walks of life and have no problem. I didn't have a problem sitting with him and his wife tossing drinks down like water and talking about life. It's just different to me to be invited to someones home for a party with his family, co-workers and friends.

Like Mac always says, friendships and business don't mix.

Anyway, Back on topic.

PurpHaze
10-05-2005, 11:56 PM
This is a good topic. I am ashamed to admit I never could figure out how to address the many widowed old ladies that I have for customers. I'm not sure if I should Use Mrs. or Ms. or Miss. On envelopes I don't mind, but when writing them a letter I would like to use "Dear Mrs.......... whoever, instead of Dear whoever". Then you have the ones you don't really know their marital status. I just know who signed the dotted line and who gets the responsibility of paying me. All personal bills that I receive are addressed to me with no Mr. and Mrs.

Also I cut for a Judge which is a close customers because he has been with me from the old days, and even volunteered to come to my house and marry me and my wife when he heard I didn't want a big wedding. He found this out when my wife and I ran into him and his wife at a restaurant and he insisted we joined them. We enjoy cocktails and conversation and after awhile his wife looked at me and said, Ken when are you going to marry this women. Anyway, that's how it happened and he did come to my house for a private ceremony then we had a small reception with friends and family. Now that you know my background with this customer, should I be calling him Judge, Lloyd? Or your Honor? He invites us to a yearly barbecue they have too, but we never attend, I just think it would seem odd the lawn care guy mixing with Judges and lawyers (all his family are in law). I'm probably passing up on a huge opportunity by not attending.

WIDOWS: This is a sometimes tricky situation as some react to their status in different ways. Some like to be addressed in person by the first name while others prefer the "Mrs." form. I'd address someone new as "Mrs. Smith" and if she corrects you by saying, "Oh please, call me Donna (and won't you have some of my homemade cookies)" then you have your clue. On business correspondence I'd address the mail as "Mrs." unless asked to address it otherwise.

JUDGES: If you're on a first-name basis when among friends then it is proper to just use the first name. However, if I was with this judge in public I'd first introduce him as "Judge Smith" and let him take it from there. If he says, "Please... call me Jim" then take your lead from that. However, on business mail I'd address it "Honorable Jim Smith" or "Judge Jim Smith" depending on professional protocol in your area.

OTHER LANDSCAPE PROFESSIONALS: Always address them as "Lawn Doctor", "Garden God" or "Irrigation Meistro." :)

bobbygedd
10-10-2005, 07:49 PM
i thought about this thread today actually, as i was sending bills. i never noticed before, but i adress my bills to (for example, if the client is sean addams) i just adress it to: addams, 123 jon do lane..........is this bad? i never thought of it before