Email Secrets: Part one

Email Secrets – Sending Emails to Busy People

Email-secretsPeople want to help you if you approach them in the right way.  Email secrets are used by savvy business people while showing respect to others.

Most successful people have a host of people they can contact to get their questions answered.  First, it is extremely important that a beginning or mature business owner always have a group of trusted advisors or mentors that can be contacted.

Let’s say you want to ask a question from a very busy advisor.  You don’t want to waste his/her time, but you want to reach out for a prompt reply.

You do not want to take time for a phone call or a series of back and forth emails.  You respect their time and yours. The last thing you want to hear from anyone is ….”Please, I just do not have time right now.” 

Your goal is to minimize the back and forth and make it easy for the busy person to find time to talk to you or quickly answer your question.

Here are a five important things to keep in mind when you write the email:

1. Remember, you are the one who needs the advice and help.  If a quick email back to you will not be sufficient, then you should initiate the call, but provide your phone number in case they want to speak to you right now.

Put this in the right perspective. YOU want something from THEM. It’s important to recognize this and be flexible and work around the busy person’s schedule. That means:

2. Do not phrase your email so they have to think very hard.

Make it easy for them to say “yes, I want to help you.”  Give them lots of options. This illustrates that you really understand they are very busy. 

3. Send the email when they’re most likely to read it.

Never, ever send an email on a Friday afternoon.  Big mistake.  This shows you do not care about their weekend and it is almost discourteous.

To maximize your chance of getting a response, email a busy person when they’re most likely to read and process it.

In other words:

-Do NOT email a busy person on Monday morning
-Do NOT email a busy person when you know they are celebrating a special day.

Instead, think when they’re most receptive. Maybe at lunch? Maybe Sunday night when they’re prepping for their week?

4. Formatting

Bad formatting can make a great message worthless.

Use paragraph breaks and bullet points liberally to make your email easy and fast to read.

Also, send it in plain text rather than HTML so it can be easily read on a mobile device. For VIP emails, send yourself a test to make sure it’s readable and any URLs are clickable.

5. Use correct grammar and spelling

Silly typos signals laziness. Use proper punctuation and capitalization.

Don’t use lower case “i”s or texting abbreviations. An email should be more polished than a text message.  Be a professional.

Always proofread your email. Let the reader focus on your well-crafted message, not the fact that you still do not know the difference between “its” and “it’s.”  or your and you’re.  Major pet peeves.

There are a couple of things I want to call your attention to in this email.

  1. The writer quickly introduces their referral and affiliation. If you have a connection to the busy person, always put it right up front.
  2. For the purposes of this email, the pitch is irrelevant. Be specific that you have a reason for emailing, but keep it brief. The point of this email is coordinating the phone call.
  3. Always specify a short time period. A busy person is less likely to object to a minimal time commitment to a total stranger.
  4. Offer them a few choices, and try to provide one all day option, as well as two narrowly defined times. The “after 1pm” suggestions help busy people cope with the paradox of choice.
  5. Explicitly acknowledge that they are higher-status and politely offer to honor their schedule.
  6. Give the busy person the option of what to do. Sometimes, busy people will just call you right when they receive the email if they have a few minutes.

You’ve just discovered one the email secrets used by successful people. There you have it. By following these steps you can almost guarantee to get the person’s attention and get a great response.  Start collecting trusted advisors or mentors you can call upon when needed.  Every successful business person has advisors.