BethanyW 1/11/2007 7:13:00 PM

What email address are you using?

Are you using an AOL email address? For Business?

Is your email address something like ''? Or worse, ''? If you can spare me a minute, I've got something that I'd like to share.

First though, let me say that I don't mean to single out AOL. (AOL lawyers please take note...) It's just that AOL is the biggest email provider out there and more people will relate to them. Please feel free to substitute any email provider - Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail... I spent 10 years as a retail salesman and retail sales manager before becoming a software developer, and in that time I think that I read every word that Zig Ziglar ever wrote. (Mr. Ziglar is a world renowned sales trainer)

One thing that I took away from that was that successful sales professionals don't ever miss a trick. And there are thousands of tricks. Another way of saying this would be to relay a story that Mr. Bernard Castro (of the New York furniture dynasty) told me. He was retired and I was visiting him at his house, and he told me that he had arrived in the U.S. from Italy as a boy of 16 during the depression. Every day the New York paper would print an editorial that was motivational, trying to show the light at the end of the tunnel.

He told me that one day he opened the paper to see a picture of a man's hand, held up with the thumb and index finger separated by just a little bit. The story related that 'a race was run today at Belmont, and the winning horse won by this much' . The editor went on to wonder that if the horse and jockey of the second place finisher knew in advance that they would lose by 'this much', don't you think that they could have tried 'this much' harder?

"Well", opined the editor, "I'm telling you now. You are getting beat by the next guy by 'this much', and you need to try harder".

I'll never forget that. My point here is that you should be using I can think of tons of reasons why.

It Sounds More Permanent . Using an AOL address sounds like you might be out of business anytime (or that you have only been in business a short time.

It Adds an Air of Technical Savvy . People that use AOL addresses are the same people that say things like 'Oh, I'm not very good at computers'. Corporate big wigs would say 'I'll have my tech people look into that'.

It Makes People Type Your Name. Every time someone sends me an email, they have to type ''. Over and over and over. And it is likely that each one of those people have been to my web site, to look at the products and services offered by my company. Make them type your name.

When Using a Free Email Provider, You Can't Fire Them. Half the time when I suggest to a business owner that he get a domain name and start using his own email address, they'll tell me that 'my friends all send email to my old address...' So what? Get your own domain, and use both for a while. Every email that you get on the old address, tell them to start using the new one. You'll need to get a company like 4Penny to 'host' the email, but you can fire that company at any time and move your domain to anyplace else. That business owner is in a position where he can't fire AOL. His business depends on them.

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