Be a real pro-use email

Do not do business on social media. Do not get hold of people’s phone numbers, or WhatsApp numbers and text them your business purposes. It is very rude. Use email. If at all you send a whatsapp message, let it only be to ask for their email address. Send emails introducing yourself and your purpose for contacting the person, and ask if you may give them more information. Wait for their response. If they are not interested and you do not hear from them within a week, do not contact them again. If, however, they are interested, you might hear from them the next day, or the same day. If you have stated your purpose, and they are not interested, do not push. Again, it is very rude to try to get a person to do what you want, to buy your product, to grant you a favour etc, especially if the person in question is simply not interested. Move on to your next ‘victim.’ Just move on. That is how you become a real pro. 

Are you going to interview someone? Do your homework. Find out their interests so you have something to talk about. Find out their professional work. Do not ask them what they do for a living. It is your duty to read up on the background of the person thoroughly before you come to the interview. Do not pull everything out of the internet. If you get some information, assemble it and show it to them for verification. This is essential. Never put out in public any information on your interviewee without affirming it first with them. It is all a matter of showing respect for the other person, and for yourself. Using inaccurate information that is not verified is highly unprofessional. By spending time in preparing for the interview, you show that you are a pro. 

Do not procrastinate and leave everything for the last minute. Give people time to consider your proposition, if it is a business proposition. Do not demand an answer back the next day. You should give them at least a week to reply to your offer or your question. The reason your life seems fast-paced is because you leave everything for the last minute. The only thing about being fast-paced is that it will exacerbate your chances of getting stress-related sicknesses. 

There are a group of people known as the telephone sellers. They phone people in the evening hours when they are sure people have returned from work and have finished dinner. These telephone sellers sell anything from subscriptions to new phone companies to changing your WIFI subscription to household related matters. They are not popular; I can tell you that in all confidence. Either their calls are ignored or simply screened and deflected. That is what can happen to business conducted via telephone. But if you send an email, there is every likelihood it will be read and eventually replied. If you have clearly put forward your case, the response might be positive as well. So, in most cases, emailing wins over phoning.

How to address people in a first email? How about Sir/Madam? The most irritating thing is to get emails where youngsters address you by your first name. It is not at all professional. You do not diminish yourself by showing some respect and by addressing people properly. I witnessed first-hand how an American friend treated her customers. She would address men and women who came into her store as Sir or Madam, and answer their questions politely. It did not matter that she was way better educated than them. By giving them that courtesy, she gained more customers than she would have if she had not been humble. 

If your client asks you to contact him/her via email, just do it. Some people insist on continuing the communication via WhatsApp once they have got through to their targeted audience. That is not professional at all, especially when you have been requested to contact them by email. Sending across documents on WhatsApp is a no-no. Even if it is possible to open the document, it is very inconvenient to read an official document on the phone screen. Again, use email. It is the professional way to do things.

No shortcuts. Surely you can invest a few hours into whatever you are doing. Any project will benefit by the application of thoroughness. And being thorough comes by taking time to go over all the data that is collected. It pays to take the trouble to examine other sources of information, especially oral sources. 

Professionalism takes effort. But you get to reap the benefits thereof. It is not something you leave behind at the office desk when you go home. But real professionalism is character shaping. Paying attention to detail is more important than we think. If you want good results, invest in professional behaviour, it is just as simple as that.