Since the advent of the Internet, email, and texting, communication has become more and more informal. Many people no longer address each other by Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms, or even Doctor.
That’s probably fine – but it depends upon the person you’re addressing.
I think of my Mom – and how steaming mad she used to get if a doctor or nurse presumed to call her by her first name. They weren’t friends of hers, she hadn’t given them permission, and in her view, it was an insult – a put-down.
That’s pretty much the way I feel if some stranger calls me honey, dear, or sweetie.
If you’re dealing primarily with young people, they’ll probably expect you to use their first names, but if you’re hoping to score points with older retirees, you might want to think twice. If you say “Mrs. Jones” and she says “call me Susan,” then you’re fine to do so. If she doesn’t give you that permission, then you should continue to say Mrs. Jones.
Meanwhile, if you say “Susan” and she gives you a glare, you probably aren’t going to get that listing or sale.
If you’re using my Senior Relocation letters, I definitely think you should stick with using titles unless you become acquainted and they tell you to use their first name. Why take a chance on that letter going straight to the trash?
Earlier today I learned that one of my customers who is using my Probate Prospecting letters has been referring to the deceased by their first names. I suggested that she change that, as it might seem insulting to the executor and heirs, given that she had never met the person.
Another thought - if your specialty is military relocation, would those officers appreciate it if you addressed them by their first names? It might be something to consider.
It may be a casual world, but respect never really will go out of style.
Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net