My day job consists of both sales and service. As such, I receive roughly 400 emails a day, which isn’t a lot compared to some industries, but still a lot to process (especially when I shut my email down for a few hours to tend to a project).
Over the years, I’ve both received and used a lot of email verbiage garbage that just don’t solicit a positive response from the email recipient.
Below is my list of do’s and don’ts of email writing, moreso on what not to write in an email; tactics that have helped me receive more positive responses to my solicitation emails.
- “how are you” – asking about the well-being of the recipient is great for a phone call or back and forth text message exchange (well….. sometimes… more on that later…), but in an email which can remain one-sided for several days, if not infinity, asking “how are you” is not a strong call to action, nor are you really concerned about how they are.
- “do you ever” – these words typically appear in the first email of solicitation of business, where the sender is asking if you “ever purchase office supplies”, or the like. If they do not know, before sending the email, that you purchase office supplies, then they need to go back to the research phase. As a best practice if you are a consumer of goods and services, ensuring your LinkedIn profile and other bios clearly state what your responsibilities are, gives you a leg to stand on. If your bio clearly states that you are the office manager handling purchasing for a division of 100 associates, then the email “do you ever purchase office supplies” should not come your way.
- “just following up”, “just checking in” – both these terms include 2 faux pas. For starters, as a #bossbabe or #HighPoweredSalesHotShot, you shouldn’t be “just” doing anything! Everything you do is with purpose! Secondly, both of these terms focus on the email sender, and not on the recipient. There could be a million reasons why they didn’t acknowledge the first email. As someone who truly listens to what your recipient needs, put the focus on them, versus on your own need for resolution.
- “I wanted to take the time to email” – see #2; again this is focusing on you, the email sender, and not on the recipient themselves. I’m so very glad you wanted to take the time, but I have zero time in the next 14 years to get back to you on an email that has no other strong call to action.
- “I am hoping to connect with you” – see #4
- “I’d love to….” – we’d all “love to” do a bunch of things, but again this focuses on you, and not on your recipient.
- “do not hesitate” – This goes without saying, so don’t say it. No one ever “hesitates” if they need more info; make the call to action more compelling than an “open door” policy.
- “let me know if you have questions or concerns” see #7
- No call to action – although this isn’t a direct text from an email, any email sent to me without a call to action will leave me wondering “what’s next?”. Never let your recipients wonder what’s next; let them know and take control of the situation (especially if no one has control at that point!)
- Texting instead of emailing – unless the recipient has given you their approval to text them about business versus sending an email, please refrain. Most people still use text for personal use (and this may change, you’ll have to ask the forward-thinking Gary Vee on this one), and keeping record of the conversation is not as easy with texts as it is with an email string.
There is a ton to learn about email sales and soliciting, but by employing the above do’s and don’ts, you will have positioned yourself as a valued member of the team.
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