Making a Great Second Impression Via Email


It’s said that “first impressions are most lasting.” But I would add that the second impression is possibly more important and shouldn’t be overlooked.

Recently I spoke with a sales representative on the phone. As a promotional product vendor, he wanted us to consider his company, a national firm with which we’ve not done business before when we were looking for vendors. He was friendly and personable, not in the least pushy or aggressive, and I requested that he send me an email that I could forward to our team. His email came promptly and while it did contain the information he’d promised, it also could have been a better second impression if he’d taken just a little more time to polish it before sending.

The second impression is almost more important than the first. The first impression may open the door but the second impression is likely to impact how long that door stays open. Here, we offer you a few small but critical things which will improve your chances of making a great second impression.

Get Help With Proofreading

To make the best second impression, the second interaction with a prospect needs to be pristine. While your cold call may be the first impression, this second contact will be a lasting one. Proofreading before sending is critical. If you don’t have the time, or you know that you’re usually in a rush, an online service like Grammarly or Ginger can help you cover the basics, even only using the free version. (A search for “automated proofreading” will net even more possibilities.)

Send Error-Free Writing

While the letter was brief and to the point, it contained two obvious errors (a “their” instead of a “there” and a sentence where a key word was left out.) I still knew what the writer meant but it didn’t leave the best impression. A single typo may be forgiven but more than one or two and it looks as though you’re not paying attention to details.

Create Standard Text

If you are using the same kinds of content regularly, like a follow-up to an introductory phone call, you may want to create it once and adapt small portions of it to give it an individualized feeling.

For example, you can start with tailored content that mentions why the reader is getting the email — a reminder of when you and the recipient talked and, briefly, what was discussed. Follow that with a couple sentences thanking the reader for their time and providing your contact information.

You can close by telling them in a couple brief sentences what the benefits are of working with your company, including an appropriate ask. Reinforce that you appreciate their consideration of your offer and finish with a formal closing and your email signature.

Craft the Tone

Your email should match, within a couple of degrees, the established brand tone of your company. While you may be fun-loving and witty, your large corporate organization’s prospects may not appreciate that approach. If you’re a small business looking to craft relationships, you may want your tone to be approachable and less formal. Regardless of the kind of business, all of your communication should match in tone and style.

A/B Test

If you have a couple of different approaches to these second impressions, you can track their success by noting the responses you get. Does one email seem to get more traction? What’s different about it?

Cut and Paste or Automate?

If you have a large number of contacts with whom you need to follow up, you may want to consider automating this process with an email service and a database. Or, if you are looking for a very personal touch, you can save the email as a template in your own email program and customize it as needed before sending.

At the end of the day, assume that the person you’re connecting with genuinely wants to give you a chance. Reinforce their decision to do so with that great second impression!