Imagine a company called Acme Optical & Eyecare (I know it’s redundant; work with me here!), founded by Jon Kelley and Michele Hofmann. And you offer services you think could benefit Acme, so you reach out to them in hopes of doing business together. You decide to write them a letter and explain the many benefits both companies can reap in such a fruitful relationship. You begin by addressing the letter:
Acme Opticians and Eye Care
John Kelly and Michelle Hoffman
Dear whoever you are:
Blah, blah, blah, just another sales pitch, blah, blah.
That’s how the letter will likely read after noticing the sender didn’t even bother referring to the company website to check the names. Jon and Michele put their blood, sweat and tears into building their business, and they deserve the respect of having their names and the company’s name spelled right.
How many items do you think Procter & Gamble receives each day addressed to Proctor & Gamble? I’ll bet those letters and direct mail pieces don’t receive the same attention as letters whose senders cared enough to get it right. Résumés with errors like that are destined for only one place: the trash.
Thanks to the Internet, the world is our oyster. Do your homework before reaching out. The company website and LinkedIn are great resources and will likely have the correct information. But beware of other sources that come up in search results; there’s always a chance they got it wrong. If you’re unsure, just pick up the phone and call. They will appreciate the extra commitment to detail.
And getting it right goes beyond just spelling names correctly. Is it Eyecare, Eye Care, or EyeCare? Is it ‘&’ or ‘and’? Check carefully, and make sure it’s consistent throughout your communications. If you’re using industry-specific terms, do some research and make sure they’re spelled correctly and used correctly.
Read up on the company, too. Perhaps in 2012 WeMakeStuff Manufacturing, Inc. changed its name to WeMakeStuff Industries. Mail items addressed to the old company name could give the impression that they’re just another company on a long, outdated mass mailer list.
Cliché or not, you only get one chance to make a good first impression. Show that you care enough to get it right. And once you’ve gotten it right, keep getting it right. Your client will likely not be impressed if you create a brochure for them that reads Acme EyeCare, when their name is actually Acme Eyecare; or acmeeyecare.com, when their Web address is acmeeyecare.org. These little errors might make an impression, but probably not the one you were going for. Attention to detail creates a good first impression, and diligence in the details will make it a positive, long-lasting one. The motto for a happy ongoing client relationship: Get it right; keep it right!