Email still rules Are yours connecting or being deleted

August 29, 2011
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If your e-mails are being deleted or not getting returned, or if you're playing a numbers game (sending 1,000 and hoping for a few random responses), you're probably blaming the recipient or the Internet for the lack of response.

Wake up and smell the dictionary, Sparky! It ain't them.

E-mails are to introduce, engage, ask a question, give an idea or an answer, create opportunity, make an appointment, confirm a meeting. E-mails are for sending a message, a thank you, a reminder, or a brief offer. E-mails are not a sales pitch.

But you're the smartest guy or gal in the world, and you want to hurry up and make more sales this week and you have a list of prospects so why not blah, blah, blah … and get deleted.

NOTE WELL: Deleted e-mails create negative thoughts and images in the mind of the recipient. They brand you and create a reputation. If you're getting a 9 percent response, it means 91 percent of the people you sent the e-mail to are somewhere between annoyed and pissed off.

I'm about to share the essence of what will get your e-mail opened and responded to: writing —engaging, creative writing that leads the recipient to read and respond.

But, before I begin, here's why most e-mails fail: You know little or nothing about the recipient. And worse, you struggle to create some snappy "subject line" so your e-mail will be opened.

Here are a few ideas on how to write an initial e-mail, a follow-up e-mail, a follow-through e-mail, and all sorts of relationship-building e-mails.

Start prepared. Before you write a word, Google the recipient and then do a complete social media search (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube). Now you're ready with information the potential client may pay attention to — information about them. Engaging them by talking about them is more likely to gain a response than talking about you.

Note from 1937: See Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People" and keep this still applicable quote in mind: "You can make more friends in two months by becoming more interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you."

Make it short. I'm way too busy to read your life story or why you're great or why your product is great. I've got mother Google for that! Here's the secret: word count. Copy your message into a word processing program to check the word count. Two hundred words is a long e-mail. Remember: the shorter the better.

Make the message germane to your expected outcome. I usually ask a question or two, make a statement or two, and then end with: Best Regards, Jeffrey. I'll use formal capital letters and good grammar until I have established a relationship. I'm more friendly than formal in my content, and I'm always myself. Same with humor: I don't inject it until I'm certain the recipient of my e-mail has some (humor). And when I do use it, it's humor — not jokes and not cartoons.

And, did I mention?: It's an e-mail, not a sales pitch.

If you're writing an initial e-mail, make your name clickable to something that will build credibility like your blog, your business Facebook page, or your LinkedIn profile.

If you're using e-mail as a follow-up to a promise you made (like a quote, proposal, or answering a question), attach a PDF and keep the body of the message short, sweet and friendly.

If you're connecting with an after-the-sale follow-through e-mail, ask for a coffee meeting or a brief phone call. Mention anything on which you share common ground (sports, kids, interests). I often attach a relatable photo.

There are lots of other e-mail uses: a business message, an announcement, a service message, a casual message to stay in touch and build a relationship. Whatever the message, make certain the content has value for the recipient.

I would be remiss if I didn't include the mysterious "how to write a subject line." My subject line on an initial e-mail is: "From Jeffrey Gitomer."

Subject lines should be simple, but intriguing. For example: "Productivity leads to profit" or "Maximum production leads to maximum profit." Or you can use one word that might impact the recipient, such as profit, idea, or message. It helps if you understand who you are trying to connect with. (See above under "Start prepared.")

If you're serious about wanting to send impressive e-mails, www.aceofsales.com offers the only customized e-mail alternative. Take a look. It will immediately brand you, differentiate you from all other look-alike e-mails and wow the recipient.

If you're tired of your e-mails being deleted or you're frustrated because your e-mails aren't receiving a response, do something about it.

If you want to see a few samples of customized e-mails, go to www.gitomer.com and enter ACE EMAILS in the GitBit box. Jeffrey Gitomer's website, www.gitomer.com, has information about training and seminars, or e-mail him personally at salesman@gitomer.com

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