You write a masterful email. The subject line is uber-clickable. Your greeting is friendly without being overly familiar. And then you get to your sign-off. "Thanks" is too generic, "Sincerely" is too formal, and "Cheers" seems tired.

"Best regards" and "kind regards" are two of your best options for business email signatures, but it can be difficult to know how to use each correctly.Get the 21 email templates your team needs to close more deals.To avoid bad first impressions or email faux pas, I've created a quick-and-easy guide for when and how to use each one, so your emails are always appropriate and grammatically correct.

When to Use "Best Regards"

"Best regards" is the less formal version of the two. It's a safe, friendly, and respectful sign-off to clients you're familiar with but not yet well-acquainted. It's a neutral sentiment that communicates respect and appreciation without claiming to have a relationship beyond what you've built with your prospect, client, or colleague. Here's a list of scenarios in which you'd use "Best regards":

  • When emailing existing clients
  • When speaking with vendors you've worked with for 3+ months
  • When communicating with prospects you've engaged in regular, two-sided conversation with
  • When reaching out to colleagues within your organization
  • Any time the other party sets a more casual tone over email

And here's an example of how to use "Best regards" in an email:

If you're looking for a formal or semi-formal alternative to "Best regards", use one of the sign-offs above instead.

When to Use "Kind Regards"

"Kind regards" is a more formal variation of this sign-off. You might reserve it for introductory, outreach, or exploratory emails. It still communicates respect but intuits less of an established relationship. Here are a few scenarios in which you would use "Kind regards":

  • When conducting warm outreach
  • When in the early stages of communicating with prospects (especially if they haven't responded to your emails)
  • When emailing an executive at any company, any time
  • When introducing yourself to a mutual acquaintance of a friend or colleague
  • When you're uncertain which sign-off to choose

And here is an example of how to use "Kind regards" in an email:

When you've built rapport and a closer working relationship with a business associate, it might be appropriate to drop the "Kind "and "Best "entirely and just send "Regards," though some experts feel this is colder rather than more familiar. Below is an example of "Regards" in an email:

Regardless, it is the most informal version of the sign-off and denotes the closest kind of working relationship. Reserve this for clients or colleagues with whom you work regularly and whose email tone and style you understand, and vice versa.

When in Doubt, Match the Customer's Tone

Still not sure which one to use? As a rule of thumb, match the formality in your business associate's tone. If they've signed their last email "Best wishes," reply with the same signature or substitute "Best regards." If they've used a more formal signature like, "Sincerely," err toward "Kind regards," as it matches the tone and sentiment your associate has used.

To learn more about sales communication check out these alternatives to "Looking forward to hearing from you" next.

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Originally published Oct 22, 2018 6:07:00 PM, updated November 07 2018

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Sales Communication