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Thank you for your email, I’m currently out of the office. Should you need immediate assistance please call 555-555-5555.

Is this supposed to help the recipient? Really? What is the point of this (or any) out-of-office?

For how long are you out?

Who am I calling at 555-555-5555?

Are you enjoying PTO, just home for the evening, furloughed?

And yes, of course, I want immediate assistance or I wouldn’t have emailed. 🙂

But the worst mistake isn’t any of the above! It’s acting like you’re selling brain-surgery, or that you’re a robot not yet programmed with AI. (Ouch, that was severe but I’m trying to make a point!)

A meaningful out-of-office always sets expectations:
• When you will return or when they can expect to hear from you
• Why you’re out (not ALL the details, but if you’re on vacay, most people will leave you alone and if you’re only out for the night because it’s 6:30pm and at home making dinner and will be back at 8:30am tomorrow, that helps to know [not the dinner part, just that you’ll be back])
•Who can help

Even more, set happy expectations! (I feel like Bob Ross here but different.)

If you sell fun, excitement, hospitality, success, please act that way!

Eliminate: “I’ll respond to your email as soon as I return.”
Even if you told them when you’ll return, will you respond to everyone that day? That expectation is going to disappoint a lot of people.

Eliminate: “I’ll respond as soon as I’m able.”
What does that even mean?

Eliminate: “I will be out of office with limited access to email.”
So if I don’t hear from you, I know my email wasn’t important to you.

Eliminate: “I apologize for any delay in response during this time.”
What reason is there to apologize? You’re out-of-the-office/away-from-email (which is more realistic) because you are entitled to go home for the night, take a vacation, be in a meeting, attend a meeting (even virtually), or tend to a current client.

And if you’ve been reading this blog for more than a week, you know how positivity – not apology – bumps response rate.

Whether it’s your out-of-office or your most important sales pitch, tell them what you can do, not what you can’t.

Before you go…

Looking for practical, specific ideas to position your team for success when recovery comes? Sue provides engaging, fully customized virtual training that will energize your team – and their sales results.

To learn more about virtual training possibilities custom fit to your needs, please email or call (+1-480-575-9711). Your team will thank you for giving them the tools they need now.

PS. What comments, ideas or stories do you have to add to today’s post? You can do me a huge favor by adding your insights and comments, or forwarding the post. Thanks for your help!

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