Imagine hanging up on a customer without saying good-bye or thank you or without trying to inject any kind of person-to-person connection into the conversation. Unthinkable, right?
According to Justin Bariso, founder of the consulting firm Insight, business owners basically do just that with emails. In recent column for Inc., Bariso argued that too many business owners ignore the prime marketing real estate below an email message, neglecting in some cases to add even a valediction (e.g. “Sincerely,” “Thank you,” “Regards”) and instead signing off only with their name or an unoriginal signature.
For people who want to grow sales, that’s a missed opportunity to connect with customers and leave them with a positive impression of your business, Bariso writes.
“You’re trying to build or maintain a relationship with the people you email,” he explained. “Granted, the sign-off is just a small part of your message. What’s most important is having something to say that is interesting, sincere, and not focused solely on you.”
For the past several years in Princeton, New Jersey, Georgianne Vinicombe of Monday Morning Flower and Balloon Co. has personalized her emails with the sign-off phrase “florally yours.”
“I usually get very good feedback from folks the first time they see it,” she said, adding that she came up with the sign-off on a whim.
Below Vinicombe’s signature, she also includes an additional sentence stressing the shop’s deep community roots, and the fact that there are real people behind the business (Vinicombe and her husband, Kevin): “Thank you for supporting a Small Independently Owned Business. Georgianne & Kevin Vinicombe.”
That line is a relatively new addition; it takes up space on the email formerly devoted to wedding-related awards from sites such as The Knot—info that she still promotes but that, unlike the current sentence, isn’t necessarily relevant to every email.
Looking to shake up your own sign-off? Here are some of Bariso’s favorite words and phrases:
Regards/Best regards/Kind regards/Best: Bariso uses “regards” when he’s communicating information quickly. He adds “best” and “kind” when the relationship is new and he’s trying for an added layer of politeness. The shorter “best” he uses less frequently — it’s a “ubiquitous” sign-off among many young professionals and can come across as insincere.
Best wishes/Take care: Bariso uses these variations when he does not expect to hear back from the recipient for a while (i.e. once a job is complete).
Peace out/Your brotha/Your boy/Your compadre: Bariso uses these variations selectively to show more of his personality. But, he warns, you need to be careful with such informal addresses. “I would never recommend you use these unless you use them in everyday speech, like me, but using closing lines that are unique to you can help ‘keep it real,’” he writes. But remember, less traditional sign-offs can be polarizing. “According to this article in Forbes, one publicist who handles tech clients uses ‘High five from down low,’” Bariso explains. “The author of the article hated it, but I love it.”