Tip Of The Day - 9/23/05 - Addressing Mail

Discussion in 'Industry Surveys & Polls' started by Sean Adams, Sep 23, 2005.

  1. Sean Adams

    Sean Adams LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,597

    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


    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
  2. Critical Care

    Critical Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,654

    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...
  3. yrdandgardenhandyman

    yrdandgardenhandyman LawnSite Senior Member
    from midwest
    Posts: 953

    What if you hate most of your customers? :gunsfirin
  4. Sean Adams

    Sean Adams LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,597

    Truthfully... She does address them as "Mr. & Mrs. Sean Adams"

    It is not just proper, it is a sign of respect
  5. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Posts: 4,900

    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.
  6. DLS1

    DLS1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,619

    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.
  7. Critical Care

    Critical Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,654

    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.

  8. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,494

    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.
  9. Critical Care

    Critical Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,654

    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?
  10. Sean Adams

    Sean Adams LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,597

    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"...

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