Network etiquette is understood to be one basic rule: show consideration for the other party online. Until now, the edict has been written mostly from the point of view of relationships between individuals, or between businesses and consumers. One important group has often been overlooked: business-to-business (B2B). Business-to-business etiquette is a growing, evolving behaviour model for how to present oneself and represent one's company when networking
online. It is for this group that etiquette plays the most crucial part. The slightest improper behaviour online can ruin a good business opportunity. The guidelines were established from no central source but through a collaborative process that grew along with the Internet
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Where businesses fail
Requesting reciprocal links
Asking for free advice
Requesting business services
Where businesses fail
Business operators new to the Web are eager to solicit prospects and partnerships online but are generally ignorant about how to go about it professionally. Without knowledge of B2B etiquette, your actions can be taken for rudeness or incompetence, leaving the other party with a poor impression of your company.
Whether you solicit new partnerships or seek to maintain and build relationships with current businesses, the key is to prevent misunderstanding and not give offence.
When sending email:
Fight the urge to be creative Avoid using multiple fonts, size and colours. No HTML or rich media, either. Keep it all in plain text.
Keep it punctual. Do not write a lengthy email and do not use jargon or talk with an overly hip attitude. For your signature file, do not use cute quotes (unless it happens to be the slogan of your business).
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Watch your tone. Don't speak in terms of how great you think your company is. Speak from the point of view of the other business to say, "Look what we can do for you."
Size matters. Don't tie up people's email by sending large, unsolicited attachments. If you have to send a large file, give warning, check on a time most appropriate to send it, such as before or after regular working hours, or send it in segments.
Use discretion. Something that might seem funny to you might be patently offensive to someone else. Even if the person on the other end has no problem with what you're sending, other people in their office could glance at the offending message. If you're that inclined to show or tell the person what you have, ask for a non business email address you can send it to where they can review it with more privacy.
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